Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Wouldn't ya know... yesterday was my humble poker blog's birthday. Yup. I started this blog a year ago yesterday, on January 2, 2005. I went back and read my first post a few minutes ago, and realized something else: I've now been playing poker for two years - not one. All this year I've had in my head that I've been playing for a year - without actually accumulating any new time in 2005. Funny how the mind works. I think maybe I was subconsciously clinging to the idea that if I've only been playing for a year, any stupid mistakes I make are excusable.
But it's been two years now, and stupid mistakes are now just poor plays on my part. Time to 'fess up!
My first real-money poker play was at Poker Stars. I deposited $50 for the first time back in December 2003. (It could have been November, but for sake of settling this debate, I declare here and now that I officially began playing poker for money in December 2003). Wow. Two years ago.
I couldn't find any poker "resolutions" from last year. The closest I came to finding something similar was a post on the state of poker in my life from June 2005. In it, I described my goals:
I don't have aspirations to become a professional poker player. I love the other "jobs" in my life too much at this point to even think of giving them up. (I teach, and do web programming). But, I also can't envision my life at this point without poker. I think I will continue to want to move up the ladder in limits, and with that, I may want "more" poker in my life. That I have no way to know. Time will tell.Somewhere between June and now, something changed. Poker is no longer, to me, a hobby with the "potential" to be profitable. I now consider myself a poker player (albeit one with a lot still to learn), and I expect my play to be profitable (not just "potentially" profitable). Early on, I took the game of poker seriously. Now, I take my game seriously. I still have no aspirations of leaving my day job to play poker, but I do have aspirations of putting in 20 hours a week and making it a side job. Paying a bit of the mortgage each month with poker winnings is something I now see as a realistic and eventually attainable goal.
For now, poker is a hobby for which I have great passion and hunger for knowledge and experience. It's something that I love to do that has the fortunate side effect of being potentially profitable.
Late 2005 saw me hit a crossroads in my young poker career. First, I made the switch from online poker to brick and mortar poker. Through the late summer of 05 and into the winter, I spent more time at Trump Indiana Casino than I did in any online cardroom. I played their lowest spread limit hold'em game: $3/6. I played about 20 hours a week (give or take a few hours on various weeks) for a few months, and over that time, ground out an average of 2 BB/hour profit. But the grind was wearing on me, and it was draining my love for the game.
In November 05, I made my second significant switch, and chose a new path at the crossroads: I switched from limit hold'em to no-limit hold'em at Trump. I could have opted to move up in limits to the $6/12 game, but chose no-limit instead. I've had good amounts of success in no-limit tournaments (mostly home games), and knew NL cash games to be more complicated and more risky than their limit counterparts. That's plenty of inspiration for me. I was hooked from day 1.
As I write this, I've been on the NL path for no more than 6 weeks, but I am certain that it is where I belong in this game. The experience over this 6 weeks has been neither profitable nor unprofitable; my bankroll is down about $100 from where it was when I made the switch to NL, and that includes a little trip to Vegas in there as well. When I made the switch to NL, I fully expected (and still do) to go through an unprofitable time, as I pay my "poker tuition," so to speak, in learning some of the more intricate parts of no-limit hold'em cash games.
So, on this one year birthday of my blog, with 2006 spread before me as a landscape of possibilities, I put forth my poker goals and resolutions for the coming year.
- Become consistantly profitable in the $200-max NL cash game at the casino
- Learn to play "my game" online. I am religiously unprofitable in online poker play, and I attribute it completely to the fact that I act too quickly and push too hard with mediocre hands because I assume the fish are bluffing me. I make plays online that I would never make in a live game, and that's why I bleed money online. Instead of taking the easy way out and quitting online poker, I resolve to overcome my bad online habits and become profitable online.
- On that same note: in the form of a solid goal, I will become profitable at the $50-max buy-in level of online NL cash games in 2006.
- Focus more on each hand's story and my opponents and less on my own cards.
- Dive deeper into the concepts of implied odds, and applying those concepts to situations.
- Continue to work on my no-limit cash game.
- My final (and a bit lofty) goal for 2006: build up to $5,000 in my poker bankroll.
I believe that I have the aptitude, the desire, the tools, and the support that I need to accomplish these goals. Thanks to all of you, and Randy, and even my family for your advice and support and well-wishings. Poker has brought so many amazing people and unforgettable experiences into my life, and for that I am forever blessed.
Here's to another fantastic year in 2006!