I hadn’t played limit in a few months and then I played four long days of 15-30 over the course of the last couple weeks. I had a pretty rough swing on the first two days – lost $800 the first day and $1250 the next day. This was a pretty decent setback for my bankroll, considering I’ve only been able to play about a day a week on average this year. But it got me thinking about a few leaks in my game, so it was a good experience.
The first couple days’ losses were mostly due to an unavoidable bad run of cards, with probably around $300 of it due to my own play. Some of this was due to playing slightly too loose pre-flop due to frustration from the bad streak. Some of it was due to acting too quickly and not really thinking about the best possible action. One of the resolutions I made was to give myself a couple seconds of decision-making time on every post-flop decision, whether I thought I needed it or not. I have a tendency to rush myself in making poker decisions even in spots where I could use a few seconds. While this definitely helps my meta-game by making it seem as if I don’t care about the money, it has become increasingly obvious to me that my rushing on key decisions has lowered my win rate.
On the third day, after thinking a little bit about my leaks, I came back and had a $1500 win. Then I followed it up with a $600 loss on the fourth day when I basically sat there for 12 hours not able to play a hand. Altogether a pretty bad little run for the four days, but I’m still averaging 1 big bet/hr for the year, so it’s all good in the big scheme of things.
It can definitely be tough to take a long-term mindset to the game, especially when you’re in the midst of a rough swing. It can seem as if the universe is conspiring against you when you sit there for hours unable to play a hand, and the good hands you do play get viciously cracked. This can be tough to take and can easily throw you off your A-game in little ways not easy to notice.
With experience, though, you start to see things from the long term perspective and your psychology adapts to the long-amplitude waves of live limit play. It does require a shift in your psychology that only experience can really give you. It’s an easy thing to know that the long-term is what matters in poker; it’s quite another thing to internalize this and really feel it.
I’ve got a great little iPhone poker app called PokerJournal that really helped me feel better after having those tough few days. It’s great for tracking live play hours and your win rate. There are basically two programs that I’ve been using in order to compare them – there’s PokerJournal and PokerIncome. They are both really similar, but PokerJournal has a bit more functionality so I’ve started solely using that one.
It helps to look at your total live play for the last year and see that your win rate has remained consistent. While I feel that I’m making more than 1 big bet per hour in the games I play in, I’m happy to have that amount considering how bad I feel I’ve been running lately.