Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Attitude Adjustment

I don't want to jinx myself, but I've gotten back on track recently results-wise. I haven't had any big days, but I've been making incremental progress, which is how poker usually goes anyway.

The only crappy thing is that I've fallen far short of all my goals so far for this year. I wanted to get my bankroll over $100,000 and I wanted to be a regular at the $10/$20 games. Instead, my bankroll is still sufficient for $5/$10 but far from where I wanted it to be.

For now, I've had to forget about my goals, at least for the short term. I may take shots at some of the looser $10/$20 games again after I win another 10 buy-ins or so. And you know, there's still a lot of time left this year. So who knows.

There are many possible reasons for my downswing, which lasted about six weeks in May and June: tilt, taxes, poor play, wrongheaded reasoning, bad luck, burnout.

One reason that I hadn't considered until recently was that I couldn't handle winning very well. I had a hard time accepting that I was that much better than my opponents, and I started telling myself that I was getting lucky. To some extent, that was true.

I also got caught up in the big dollar figures. There would be times when I had close to $10,000 in play across four tables, which is a bit surreal. That's big cash to be tooling around with, and I didn't have the confidence or experience to consistently manage it.

So at the same time as I was starstruck with all this money flowing my way, I was sure it would start disappearing because I convinced myself I was out of my league. It's totally stupid reasoning, because I know now I can hang with most of the players at that level, but it was a psychological barrier that turned into a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I had an attitude problem, and it was only a matter of time before it affected my play. In the future, I'll try to be better about accepting responsibility for my wins and losses rather than dismissing them because I was either running good or suffering beats. When I win, I'm going to try to embrace it without getting cocky or letting myself get overwhelmed.

In the meantime, I'm happy to be back concentrating on $5/$10, a game I know I can consistently beat for decent money. Poker is such a long-term game, and there's no point in getting ahead of myself. Hell, it's as likely as anything that my bad run was just another 10,000 or 20,000-hand swing that's bound to happen to all of us. The long run is very long, so I'm just going to keep playing my best on every street.

I'm pretty comfortable here ... for now.

1 comment:

SubZero said...

An interesting post. Agree with the relationship between results and mindset, though personally I'd put poor results down to thinking about anything other than how to play your best game, not so much to the content of such thoughts. Recognition is the most crucial step to problem resolution however, and it sounds as though you're well on the way to recovery. Hope you continue to perform well!