Friday, July 17, 2009

Back To The Grind

It's been a while since I've had anything to say, hence the dry spell with posts. As mentioned previously, I have been waiting on a check to arrive and that day has finally come. After taking care of some financial obligations that had been weighing me down mentally (along with clogging up my voice mail with collector's calls - at least I was keeping people in the collection's department employed,) I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders. I had been suffering from restless nights due to my financial position so I hope to be sleeping easier in the days to come. For the first time in my whole life I will be able to approach the felt battlefields with a clear conscience in regards to being properly funded. I have set aside a sufficient bankroll to get me going and I have money set aside to cover living expenses. In my time off I have been studying material on limit hold'em in anticipation of my return to playing.

I am psyched to get back to the grind. If you read blogs of some pros they talk about how they cannot stand the grind of playing table poker and how they believe online play is superior. There are pros and cons to each but I much prefer table poker to the virtual brand. There is just something romantic to me about the sound of riffling chips filling the air, the feel of real cards be squeezed out between my fingers, and the counting and recounting of checks before I move them into the center of the felt. Only a degenerate would find such things romantic. From the outside looking in, the life of a poker player looks sexy. A poker player gets to make his own hours, gets to play a game for a living, and carries large amounts of cash on him at all times. In reality, sitting at a table for 8 - 14 hours or more in clothes soaked with sweat, choaking on the scent of your own body odor along with smells of all the other mopes at the table, listening to the same bad beat stories over and over again, and carrying large amounts of cash that you cannot spend because the reality is this is your working capital for the business you are in is not particularly sexy in the least bit. However, all this still appeals to me on some level that I really cannot accurately formulate. I have so much admiration for the classic players such as Doyle Brunson, Brian "Sailor" Roberts, Amarillo "Slim" Preston, Jack Strauss, Puggy Pearson, Johnny Moss, and a host of other old timers that played brutally long sessions day in and day out to make their bones. There were no books to learn from at that time so they relied on playing long hours and seeing tons of hands to develop and revise their playing strategies. In addition, they did not have the luxury of virtual play on the internet. For instance, I played over 500 hands (roughly 8 hours) of limit hold'em yesterday at mico stakes just to get my card senses flowing again. It would have taken me a 16 1/2 hour session live to see as many hands as I did online. Online you get to see nearly double the amount of hands as you do live and in this regard I give the nod to online play as being superior. In limit hold'em, my edge comes from making less mistakes than my opponents. Therefore, the more decisions they get to make, the better my expectation of making a profit. It's just like playing a table game in the pits. I may get ahead for awhile playing craps or roulette, but giving enough trials I am guaranteed to walk away with my wallet lighter. It's the same for limit hold'em provided I am playing at stakes that I can afford and against competition that I can beat. At the stakes I am currently playing I am not worried about the competition. Make no mistake about it, online poker will be part of my game plan for making this career choice work for me. However, I do not play as well online as I do in a brick and mortar card rooms. I am not about to tell you that I am a master at picking up physical tells and that's what makes me so much better than when I play online. However, I do get a better sense of where a player is at in a hand when I can look across the felt at him. For instance, online I have no idea whether the villain I am heads up with is taking a lot of time making his decision because he has a borderline decision to make, or if his connection went down, or he got a phone call, or he is surfing porn and has not realized it is his turn to act. With that said, I feel my big bets per 100 hands will be lower online compared to live play but I am still a +EV player online so it will be worth my while to play when it is not feasible to make it to one of the card rooms here in town or I just want to get in some additional hands later in the day after playing a live session. Also, I must give a nod to those who point out that I will be able to multi-table my play online. Therein, even if I expect to make less BBs per 100 hands online, playing two or more tables I will be able to multiply my win rate accordingly. You just have to have the resolve to play ABC poker since your attention will be split amongst several tables. No matter, ABC poker gets the money at low limit play online. Hell, it gets the money at table play as well until you start to get to the middle limits and above where you really need to consider your opponents' tendencies much more closely along with switching up your own play to throw off observant and astute players. Even though there are many pros to being an online pro, I cannot stomach the thought of sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. If I wanted to do that, I'd find myself a real job. Besides, like the "Mad Genius" Mike Caro said people don't take the time and effort to make their way down to the cardroom to fold...I do.

With it being Rebecca's weekend, I plan on starting my final run at this brand of employment Sunday. Not sure where I plan on playing yet. I live right across from the South Point and I may give that a shot to start off with. I plan on playing $4/$8 limit hold'em to begin with. I don't think there is a single professional playing this low but my reasoning is I want to start back slowly and really get my card sense on point before venturing higher. I would like to pad the bankroll I have set aside some so that I minimize my risk of going broke. I figure logging sufficient hours at 4$/$8 I should be able to realize a profit of $2,000 a month. I am figuring I can average roughly 2 big bets an hour since the players are so bad at these stakes. That will not make me rich anytime soon but it will pay my portion of our living expenses and allow me to add to my bankroll. And if I can't achieve 2 big bets per hour, then I will just have to log enough hours of play to ensure I make my monthly nut. I will then start taking single session shots at the bigger games to see how I fair. Hell, if I can't make $2 G's a month then I really need to put this pipe dream to bed and go find some real employment. I also think it's time to find some breakfast. Take care and check back soon for a review of my upcoming session.

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