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Starting from Scratch

After a flying start in January, February turned into one long lesson in dealing with adversity.

First some family problems meant the best part of a week away from the tables, leaving me way behind on my volume targets. Some people thrive on tough targets. Falling behind would make them all the more determined. I am more the sort who gains encouragement and confidence from knowing I am in line with or ahead of my targets. Falling behind can make me start to doubt myself. Whether this was a factor or not, it was now that the downswing started. Just when I wanted to up the volume and get back on track, the cards started their campaign of noncooperation.

In one week I lost 8 buyins. After hitting 7bb/100 for January that's pretty depressing.

By the end of this sequence, I was becoming very prone to tilting at the first sign of bad luck. When I tilt I get into a resentful state of mind, and react emotionally to each turn of a card. I don't start making wild bluffs and overplays, but it is fair to say that calm calculations of hand ranges are not really on the agenda while fuming with resentment at how yet another weak speculative hand has probably just drawn out against my decent top pair hand.

Reviewing sessions and realising what was going on, I worked hard at getting into a better state of mind before each session. I developed a little presession mantra: Am I relaxed? Confident? Free from distractions? Intent on making the best decisions I can? Determined not to be blown off course by outcomes?

I'd like to say that this made all the difference and results suddenly became good again. It wasn't quite as simple as that. I managed to limit the losses and win some sessions, but most importantly I was not tilting nearly as easily. Bad things still happened, but I found I was getting deeper into sessions before they bothered me. Gradually I started to recover my confidence that I was playing well and that results would eventually follow.

It was only right at the end of the month that I managed to ensure at least that I would record a small profit for February. A win rate of just over 1bb/100 is nothing great, but at least it was positive. I managed just under 40k hands, well below my 45k target, but I guess satisfactory given the unavoidably slow start.

For March, family affairs will mean I won't be making a start till the 6th, so I will be reducing my target volume accordingly. Having fallen a little behind schedule in both volume and results I will be sticking at 5nl till I reach 100k hands total. Hopefully results will be better and my confidence restored by then, so I can then move up to 10nl.

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