After an enforced 6 week break from poker (I moved house, and it took me this long for somebody to provide me with broadband, 3rd company lucky), I came back from my honeymoon (where me, my new wife and our son went on our first holiday away as a family to Salou in Spain) super-motivated and ready to get back to grinding on PokerStars.
I planned to start with good habits not check my results until two days after they had happened, wake up nice and early and put in a solid two sessions a day. I tend to find it much harder to not check results when I can tell it's going particularly badly, and somewhere in the middle of day three I gave in and had a look. I wished I hadn't, it was going terribly!
The most surprising thing to me was how badly 18-man SNGs were going. Prior to this month I had played 22,000 of them and always sustained a solid graph, and had been fortunate to suffer no worse than an 80 buy-in downswing in that time.
By the end of my 7th day of play since I got back, I was an unbelievable 130 buy-ins down. I had bubbled more times than I thought possible, and finished 1st less times than I'd finished in any other final table position, which seemed unfathomable!
Of course to be doing this badly (I had a -16.4% ROI over 600 games) I had to be running like death, and I was. But the problem with poker is that running like death can make you think that luck is solely to blame for your downswing, when in reality you might be playing poorly as well. A fish who repeatedly limps QJ offsuit UTG, gets repeatedly jammed on for 15 big blinds, and calls only to always be up against pocket tens and repeatedly lose will likely blame rotten luck for him losing all the time, when in reality his bad play is largely to blame.
I did a couple of review sessions within my downswing, and checked some trouble hands each day. There were definitely a couple of things I was doing wrong, which I blame on being 'rusty', and I think I am gradually playing better each day. Jared Tendler wrote an interesting article which explains that:
"One of the unknown problems you face after a break is remembering all the new things you had learned prior to the break, those aspects of your game which you hadn't mastered yet"In retrospect I think I dived headfirst into playing too many tables, and playing too big a variety of format (6-max, 18-mans, 45-mans, 180-mans etc) than I was able to cope with.
The last two weeks has been the toughest spell I have had since I started playing MTT-SNGs in mid-2009. I worked really hard every day, putting in 9-10 hours at the tables, only to be continuously anally raped. Putting in that amount of time is hard enough when you're making good money, but when you're losing it, it's quite soul destroying!
As you may have guessed from the fact I am writing a blog post on it (something which is so much easier to do when things are going well as opposed to badly!), things have started to go better, and after 2 weeks and 90 hours at the tables, I am just about break-even before rakeback in my SNGs, and have reduced my 18-man buy-in downswing to 40 buy-ins.
So I'm feeling a bit better about things, and lets hope I can push on and actually earn some money for the month! Below are some graphs from September:
|epitomised, 18-man SNGs 6th-14th September (by buy-in)|
|epitomised, 18-man SNGs September (by buy-in)|
|epitomised, all SNGs September (by $ amount)|