After my "Poker Vacation" post, I took a good 48 hours away from my laptop. I just needed sometime to really clear my head, and wash out the negative thoughts. I mean, I was catching what I called some REALLY terrible beats, and to some degree, they were. But a recent post that I read on cardplayer (http://www.cardplayer.com/magazine/article/15786) kind of renewed me as a poker player.
I started to go back to those losses, and asked myself "If I was in the other player's shoes, would I have made the same call." In the heat of the moment, I can emphatically berate my opponent for what would otherwise be a crumby read, and a bad move. But not everyone plays poker the same way. That's what makes this game fun and challenging. If all of us played the same way, it would be a boring game.
I have to start giving credit to the guys that are calling an all in with A-5os when I have KK. That just takes plain guts. I should commend guys for chasing that dream when I've got a set of 10's on a 10 high board, and he goes runner-runner flush. I should praise players for their grit and their tenacity for breaking AA and KK on the same hand with 7-6 suited. Those plays, while statistically improbable, are far from impossible because I've seen them. They happen, and they happen a lot. All that I can do is say "nice hand sir," and move onto the next one. Because it's a game. This isn't personal, or some vendetta that someone has. It's a couple of people playing a game of cards.
I still want to win at it though, and I've sort of switched gears to some degree. Patrick Sebastian (or @Sebastianrocks on Twitter) had started a new contest idea that proposed a race to $250. The idea was, start with a bankroll of $10, play in games for no greater than 10% of your bankroll, and the first one to $250 wins. It was exactly what I needed, when I needed it.
One of the videos that I'd watched on the Full Tilt Poker academy was by Chris Ferguson where he detailed his bankroll building strategy on his quest to turn $0 into $10,000. It took him quite a while to get things really going, but once he did, he simply adhered to strict bankroll management strategies in order to steadily move in the upward direction. I liked what he had to say, and I wanted to follow it to some degree, but I lacked 3 things that good poker players need to be successful: 1) Patience 2) Discipline and then eventually 3) Confidence
Playing at the micro levels can be intensely frustrating. A $45 player S&G win at the $1.25 buy in level produced a whopping $17 prize, or a $16 ROI. That still doesn't really give you enough cash to move up to the larger levels. And each loss puts you further and further into a hole.
I've made the decision not to upload several hundred dollars into my online accounts simply because I want to prove to myself that I have the capability of playing well enough at the lower levels before testing myself completely at the higher stakes. I think that from time to time, I can play with those players. And I'm starting to build my confidence enough to the point where I feel that I have enough experience to belong.
I needed that run of just really bad cards. I needed that run of unfortunate beats, and disappointing results. I needed it in order to grow as a player, and learn how to roll with the punches in this game. It can be cruel. But it is a game. And it should be fun.
I'll be attacking this $10 to $250 challenge with a renewed vigor and doing everything that I can to get there at my own pace. If I win the challenge, all the better. But I really simply want to begin to build my online bankroll, one session at a time.