Monday, April 19, 2010

Still on the wrong side of variance

So these past 8 days or so have been terrible for me poker wise. After starting the month up $14k, I'm now down $23k in cash games. I did final table 2 mtts the past 2 sundays for about $8k total though I spent about $3500 in buyins. So I'm down about $17k total for the month now (closer to $14k if I include rakeback). This has to be one of the 2 worst stretches of poker I've been on playing online for the past 8 yrs or so. I am just getting constantly coolered, having 2nd best hands and running about $14k below ev. Again I went through nearly all my hhs to check for mistakes and for the most part I played ok. It just shows you how much variance is in this game. I've been playing mostly $5/10 w/ a little $3/6. I'm actually up about $5k at $3/6 for the month but just getting crushed at $5/10. I do not think it's because the games are tougher, although they are to some degree. I've just been running terribly at $5/10. FML!!!! (jk)

I've had success over so many years playing poker yet I'm still not immune to the feelings and emotions that come w/ such bad downswings. I am, like everybody else, human. I've questioned whether I might be doing some things wrong and even had thoughts of whether I can succeed but quickly threw those thoughts out the window when looking back at my 12 years of success in poker. I guess it's all part of human nature though. Question things and lose confidence when things are going badly. I will continue to play my normal game and hope to finish w/ over 120hrs for the month (at about 65hrs so far). All I can do is just try to play to the best of my abilities and try not to worry or care about the results because they'll take care of themselves at the end.

I am proud of the fact that none of my poker losses have affected how I act in the real world. I do not get more angry, ignore family, or just be in a bad mood because of my downswing. I do know of people that do when losing, including some of my friends (you guys know who you are and please try to be more professional in the future). Heck, if you were family or close friends you would not even know that I was on a really bad downswing unless I mentioned it. Also, being the spiritual and positive person I am, (and this will sound Hellmuthish), I'm lucky to be in the position I am today...w/ a great family, nice big house, nice cars, good health (although I need to work on that constantly now), and a job I'm happy to have. I have no doubt that things will turn around from a results standpoint.

With that said, this past week has been a very busy week for me. I had my birthday then got to do my taxes and ship Uncle Sam some more money. I am still trying to get my new desktop all set up. For some reason I can only seem to get 2 monitors working simultaneously and not all 3. I'll still need to figure that out although it doesn't really interfere w/ my online play. I gave my kid my old desktop and ordered her a cool 24" monitor and spent some time setting that up. She could be one of the most spoiled kids on earth but what can I do...she is the only child and I didn't have much growing up so I didn't want the same for her. Plus she excels in school (so far straight A's through 3rd grade) and her extracurricular activities. She also knows how lucky she is and is just a great kid overall so I don't mind spoiling her as long as it doesn't get to her head.

This also happens to be the beginning of an extra dimension in my poker career. I'm set to be on a buddy's online poker show from time to time (I'll provide more details when it happens), contemplating joining an instructional poker site to produce videos and possibly get into coaching more (again will provide details if I decide to go through w/ this), and a couple of more things on the horizon which may or may not trump these latest ventures. I also have the WSOP coming up in a few weeks and am planning on playing a big slate of events (and hopefully doing very well...again my goal is to win a bracelet..or 2). I'll have my fingers crossed, but then again, if I work hard and play well, I should be ok :)


  1. Hey John, Keep the level head and keep grinding. GL w/ the volume and turning it around this month!


  2. umm... just look at your results over last 6 months sir, obviously this was bound to happen. I know its hard not to question yourself and lose confidence, but keep it in perspective and look at your run good and play good over last 6 months. You aren't doing anything different and if you keep it together and play a lot you will be out of downswing in no time.

  3. Right, I agree w/ all of that and did say that it should turn around because of my success in the past and my overall approach to poker and life. I was just saying it's human nature to question things and lose confidence when things are going badly. I don't think there is anyone that is totally immune to those thoughts when things are going badly. Just look at professional sports eg a batter in a hitting slump, a basketball player struggling with his shot, just to name a couple. Those thoughts just briefly crossed my mind and I'm aware enough of my abilities to succeed over the long run.

    The reason why I brought it up is that even someone like me is not oblivious to the negative thoughts and emotions that come w/ downswings (or other instances of tough times) so others may realize that it's normal to harbor these thoughts and emotions. As long as you are aware of all this, you can take the next step to be productive going forward, which includes not letting these thoughts and emotions affect how you play poker in the future.

  4. Very well said!