The Grind

Stephen's Poker Blog

  1. 2008-02-22 09:58:36

    Following the Downswing...

    Well, December and January just sucked. I haven't had much good to say in my last few entries. That's why I wrote that silly story. If I hadn't, it would have been nothing but whining. I wanted to at least attempt to make the whining entertaining. ;)

    I had battled to win back some of my deficit over the last two weeks of January, only to lose all that progress in one very short, very retarded session (no offense to the retarded). One outers included. Honestly, you have probably never seen anything so sick. It is very rare. It was time to change up my scene. I was going out of my mind and needed to mix things up in life so poker didn't suck all the joy out of it. So I decided some impetuous travel would be good therapy, and I bought a ticket to Eugene, OR to visit my friend Tyler for an extended 4 and a half day weekend. Yes, they actually have a small airport there, and the last minute ticket options were actually cheaper than going to Portland and getting a car ride down.

    I played some more poker before I left for Eugene...lost more...then didn't play again until the day before I left. What a breath of fresh air that session was. I ran hot for the first time in what seemed like forever, and left for my short vacation in good spirits.

    I was on a messed up schedule of going to bed at 9am and waking up at 5pm (don't do this, it sucks) and was having some insomnia problems while getting back on a normal schedule for the first two days. But once my bio-rhythms had righted themselves I was able to have a nice relaxing time with friends and clear my mind of the horror. I ate burritos and more burritos, played Rock Band, saw a couple movies, was introduced to the show Arrested Development, and played some buzzed dealers call poker for $5. Came out a $3 winner. BOOM. I did play some online poker while I was there and ended up losing another thousand, but I felt like I played well. And having booked the very large winning session before the trip, it didn't send me on life tilt or anything.

    Well, it would seem the poker gods decided I had finally had enough...because that was the last losing session I have had up to the point of writing this, making it one of only two losing sessions for the whole month so far. I have since been running hotter than the sun. I am currently up 16k for the month of February. What a nice change of pace. It has helped reignite a desire to play and play well. I promised Jeff I would not forget. It's easy to forget the times you ran hot when things are going badly. I have seen it all and can rest easy in the facts that I didn't tilt off tons of money, and my bankroll was more than enough to cushion the swing.

    Running bad can sometimes suck the smarts out of your game. I will sometimes catch myself having stopped thinking as in depth about situations because my brain's not receiving results that equal the effort I'm putting in. In fact it's receiving the opposite. It makes poker feel like a scratch off ticket, contrary to what they say in the Full Tilt commercial. This sort of results oriented reaction is a natural and normally good teaching tool of the human brain. But if you are going to be truly good at something like poker you have to press on and keep the faith. It's much easier to make the best decisions when you are passionate and enjoying what you are doing. It's hard to be passionate when the deck is hitting you in the face.

    So, If you are losing, or just feel like you are treading water because of bad luck, keep the faith. Balance will come eventually. I was lucky to receive it in a rush of running hot right after running bad. It doesn't always happen like that. I could have had to wait a whole year to see the downswings mirror opposite. But it would have come eventually. Keep working on your game. Don't be short term results oriented. And try to enjoy yourself. After all, it is a game. And games are supposed to be fun, LDO. ;)

    Posted by uzjedi at 2008-02-22 09:58:36

Comments on “Following the Downswing...”

    • avatar for uzjedi
    • Happy to motivate. Hang in there. We should talk strategy when you get here next month. And a dealers call night would be awesome. :)

    • avatar for Jason M
    • FYI, I liked your story. You can write stuff like that when you're winning, too :)

      and ended up losing another thousand

      Can't wait until I can shrug that off :p

      Random thoughts: Rock Band rules, Arrested Development sucks hard, the game, I bought all 3 B&B Mike Judge volumes, and dealer's call and dollar-poker are teh nuts.

      Thanks for the motivation. I need it. I still haven't really come out of my losing swing. I'm not in danger of losing the bankroll or anything, but it's still pretty frustrating.

    • avatar for Jason M
    • So I'm too tired to read this in full, but I love the link to the TMBG song. Classic, dawg.

    • avatar for Ethan
    • It's funny how bad people are at seeing random variation for what it is. Our brains are basically very very good pattern matchers, so we try to find patterns in everything, to the point of foisting them upon otherwise random events.

      We're also very bad at being random - if you ask 20 people to randomize a list of numbers (say, 1,2,2,3,4,4,4,5,6,6,9), they will usually not put two of the same numbers together. A computer, however, will. Same thing happens when you ask people to pick a number between 1 and 100. You'll find that the distribution isn't flat, and peaks around the mid-30s and mid-60s. Almost no one will pick 1 or 2.

      Anyway, glad to see you're back in the groove.