Saturday, May 15, 2004

I Am What I Am

Last night I didn’t fare so well at the 1/2 tables. I managed to not lose as much as I won on Thursday night so I’m still up but things were pretty hairy there for a while. I was getting beat up on the first table I sat down at and fortunately I decided to get up and move on to another before my loss limit was reached. I did exceptionally better at the next table but then gave it back till I hit my loss limit. As I type this I have not looked at the sessions in Poker Tracker yet so I can’t explain it fully. As a little experiment though I’m going to write out here what I think happened. Then I’m going to review the data in Poker Tracker and see if I was even close.

Before I get into that though I want to converse a little on what type of poker player I believe I am. A few days ago Poker Nerd wrote about the types of players you see at the table. He listed the “Maniac”, “Know it all”, “Calling station”, “Average guy”, and “Potential Real Poker Player – PRPP”. After some soul searching I believe that I am between the “average guy” and the “PRPP”. I will never fit into his exact definition of a PRPP though. He listed a player of this level having 15%-20% VP$IP, 6%-10% PFR, and an aggression factor of at least 1. Using my stats since May 1 (I won’t use before that because the data includes my multi table fiasco when I wasn’t playing like myself). Including both .5/1 and 1/2 levels: 28.87% VP$IP, 6.15% PFR, and aggression factor of .88. I enjoy seeing the flops too much to have a VP$IP below 20%. I believe that I am too restricted when cutting my starting hands down that much. I’ve never played serious poker in a B&M but I am of the belief that the type of personality you have will eventually determine the type of poker player that you will be. Since I have no in person interaction with other players my thoughts are purely speculatory and I primarily draw upon my own personal experience.

When I started playing it was purely for the fun aspect. Since discovering that I can play with a positive EV it has moved from being a “fun” game to “all about the Benjamin’s”. With that said I still think of poker as fun. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t play because I certainly do not play at a level where any kind of serious income could be derived. What I mean by all this is that I keep an eye on the bankroll and my goal is to have a profit building instead of “playing” at the tables. I take my play seriously, and I hope to learn to play well enough so that one day I can earn a serious part time income.

Now going back to the definition listed as a PRPP, If I just wanted to build money then I should become a 19% VP$IP players. This is what the “ABC’s” would dictate as the prudent course of action. I have spent some time with these players at my tables and the stats I show is that some make allot of money this way and some don’t. Again I have to draw upon my own limited experience here but this is very boring poker. I still need the “fun” aspect to keep me interested. This is where personality comes in. Having the “fun” aspect and striving to build a profit appear to be conflicted. If you go completely after one you have to forego the other. My personality is also conflicted in that I am very very conservative in some of my views yet very very liberal in others. I won’t go into details or politics but this part of my makeup is what I believe keeps me seeing flops and perhaps playing a few more drawing hands than the textbook player. I know I can play tight which will also lower my variance (and that would have been nice last night) but I still need the action while building to the next level. I believe that the experience I gain by seeing 10% more flops will help me read hands better and get a sense for what I can and can’t draw to. I generally follow the pot odds and try to determine implied odds after the flop. I’ve been able to sneak in some big pots I normally would not have received this way and do so without giving too much away. My seeing a higher percentage of flops also attributes to my aggression factor being slightly below the prescribed “1”. This is due to limping in sometimes if I feel no one is going to raise the pot and I have a possible drawing hand.

I won’t bore you anymore with my psychological inward perspective. Take it all with a grain of salt because who knows, maybe one day I will become a tighter player. All of this may be because of the levels I’m playing at. Only the future will tell and right now it’s not talking.

Back to what I usually write about, last night’s play. Now without looking at the Tracker data yet I believe this is what happened. At table one things were in complete disarray. I normally play in the room all by myself without the TV on and just play poker. Last night my wife wanted to catch up on Alias and since we haven’t unpacked or setup the media room yet the only TV setup is in the den. So I had my wife talking to me and the TV was going and I just wasn’t paying attention to the cards. This was a recipe for disaster at a level I’m not comfortable with yet and I quickly found myself 13BB down. Now I did something smart and left the table. I waited till Alias was over and my wife retired to the living room. I fired back up and found a table I could flourish at. I had a nice mixture of loose and tight players and cards were hitting me constantly. Within probably 30-45 minutes I was up 22BB. I was feeling supremely confident and blew off the early downturn. Suddenly the table makeup changed. I still had loose and tight players but now the tight were on my right and the loose on my left. One particular loose player began becoming more aggressive. This is still a weak part of my game but I believe I played correctly against him. He had a very nice runner runner flush (said with sarcasm) take me for a chunk of change as well as some other river dancing that left me reeling. In a very short period of time I had played back 20BB and reached my loss limit. A very small profit for the table was secured but combined with my early loss I ended up down 10BB.

Now with the Poker Tracker data. Things were horrible at the first table but as it turns out the TV and wife were not the distraction I thought they were. I did get involved in one pot I should have laid down but other than that I was card dead. I only played three hands past the flop and two of them were cracked on the river. One by an inside straight draw and the other by catching an overpair. For the second table it seems that I was a bit off on my analysis as well. I had a real good run going but then I started overvaluing my hands. I was doing some losing w/ second best. After getting over that I folded for a while and then did in fact loose two big pots to players fishing on the river. It’s amazing how I translated those two losses to account for my entire loss before actually looking at the data.

Table One – 24 minutes, -13BB, -32.5BB/Hr, 30 hands
Table Two – 56 minutes, 2.5BB, 2.68BB/Hr, 72 hands
Total – 80 minutes, -10.5BB, -7.88BB/Hr, 102 hands