Friday, December 24, 2010

Ship the Christmas turkey

Not really sure what this blog entry's going to be about as I've feck all to say. But when did that ever stop me?

The last few weeks have been basically been all about the grind (online). After a few days of running bad after Galway (maybe a bit of playing bad too: it's hard to refocus after a live crossbar/disappointment) I went on a miniheater where winning a few of the tourneys I grind every evening/night became the norm. Turns out though that upswings are as boring to talk about as downswings so I'll spare you the detailed brags (that's what Twitter and Facebook are for imo). Highlights: won the 30r on Ipoker a few times, shipped an EMOPS Gran Canaries package, and followed up a second in a 22r on Stars with a win the next night.

I don't play all that much on Stars for a number of reasons. Part of it is just following sensible game selection: most of the top MTTers in the world play on Stars and the general consensus is other networks are softer. However, OPR has my ROI on Stars at 112% over a decent sample (>1k) so maybe I should play there more. Only reason I started playing a few a night is the tourneys on Cake are dying so I had a few free slots on the night shift. Stars tourneys play very differently late on: the regs are much more aggro preflop and if you can't mix it in the 4/5/6 betting wars you're basically dead. On some of the other networks there's almost nobody else 4 plus betting light. The bet sizing is much better too: guys getting more bets out of their stacks even with 30 bbs. Like the standard on other networks is I open for 2x and the 30 bbs just ship in. If I have it, ship the 60 bbs pot, thank you very much. If not, I've lost a paltry 2 bbs. On Stars, it's more likely to go 2x, 3.6x, then I either fold or 7.5x.

Also well done to Aussie James McBeth who succeeded where others I won't mention(cough, blaaaaaaah, cough) came up short: beating me headsup on Bruce in the Doke challenge. Well done James and I hope you run as good as I normally do on Bruce.

As the year winds down, it's time to reflect on the year that's been to see what mistakes can be learned from, and plan for the year ahead. I'll do a proper full review in the next entry but in broad strokes here's what I think I did well this year:

(1) Work ethic. I basically grinded my ass off this year online, played about 7000 online mtts, and rebuilt a healthy bankroll more or less from scratch
(2) Game selection. I'm not someone who feels the need to play all the "big games" for pure ego reasons, I see poker as a means to an end, primarily to provide for me and my family. Even if I think I can beat a $100 rb by, say, $10 on average, I'd prefer to play a $40 game I can beat by $20. There's a very good piece at the Hendon mob that pretty much nails my attitude here
(3) Focus. My biggest mistake this year was getting sucked into destructive stuff away from the tables that distracted (more on this later). However, for the most part I managed to put it all out of my mind when I was playing and just get on with the job
(4) Game. I think I've improved quite a bit as a player. Mainly in terms of versatility. Before this year, my only real strength was slow structured deep stack games and sit n gos online. 2010 was the year I adjusted to playing well in fast structures, turbos, big ante games, short stacked games etc.

Here's what I got wrong:
(1) Non core activities. This basically means getting sucked into stuff that is poker related but ultimately not helpful. At times I lost sight of the fact that I'm a poker player first and foremost and that's where my income comes from.
(2) For a lot of the year, I didn't play my A game live. I was doing so well online I start believing I just had to play the same game live, but live is different
(3) I listened too much to some people, and not enough to others. Someone said to me early in the year I need to choose my friends better, and I learned the harsh truth of this statement during the year. I think maybe the biggest mistake in poker is to believe everyone thinks and plays the same way you do. The second biggest is to try to play like someone else. Even if that person is a winning player, you'll never play their game as well as they do. You have to forge your own. As far as friends go, it's important to have people you can trust not go to pieces and blow up in public at the first sign of stress, that will offer and accept constructive criticism rather than destructive sniping, that won't smile to your face and go around spreading lies about you behind your back, and who have proper respect for themselves and other people. We're all poker players second, human beings first

Anyway, bottom line is 2010 was a very good year and I'm optimistic that 2011 will be even better. I've improved a lot as a player and continue to learn new stuff with the help of the good people around me.

I'll sign off with a shout out to one of my favourite poker players and human beings, Sligo's finest Feargal "MidniteKowby" Nealon. I don't usually plug other people's blogs here but his latest epic is an absolute must read and see. Feargal's asked for my advice as he developed his blog and it's turning into something truly awesome in my opinion that reflects not just the fact that he plays poker well but also he's got more to him as a person than that. Also, fair play for naming and shaming a certain alround gobshite. I know a few alround gobshites in poker myself: maybe I'll take a leaf out of Feargal's book and start naming names in 2011 :)


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thanks for the plug Dara, ya slow starting but really getting into the blogging now, cheers for all your support in 2010, heres to at crackin '11


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