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10/19/2005: "song remains the same"

Oddjack referred me to a Scurvy post from a few days back that i missed...it is both timely and on point. to wit: in the last 7-10 days i have killed about $1800 in profit from my bankroll and i am actually negative $300 since funding my bankroll in Sept. not impressive.

as Scurvy writes:

Compiling threads from assorted forums and posts, the general consensus is that you need anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 hands at any given level to get a statistically accurate read on your actual performance.

i knew this going in. i am fortunate to have a BBA from a program that requires an emphasis on stats, both for POM and for the capstone classes. while i am not a stat wizard by any means, i know that my meager 10K+ hand history by no means is a substantial data set from which to draw conclusions. i battle this small sample size in a few ways.

(1) i try to ignore my bankroll. in more detail, should i go broke, i take time to analyze my play and i deposit and try again. i am not playing limits that are crushing to me and i do not derive a living from poker, so i can actually "learn" while losing. my bankroll is merely a tool that allows me to practice the game, no different than that box of golf balls i deposited into all the water traps last time i played a round. pun intended, call it a "sunk cost" of business.

(2) i use Poker Tracker and the Poker Tracker Guide, but instead of focusing on bb/hands or bb/hour as metrics i religiously monitor how i have played hands, regardless of the numerical outcome. how? i check how i am playing in relation to cold calling raises, in relation to going to the showdown and losing, and in relation to specific hands. i often sort hands by big wins and losses then taking several of these hands, replaying them, and analyzing for mistakes or proper play. lastly, i annotate these hands in the notes field with key insights. why both big losses and wins? b/c i need to recognize how many times i got lucky and won a huge hand, which i often overlook in analyzing a session; more often than not, it is easy to remember that suckout that put a bad beat on you, but more difficult to remember when you have done the sucking! i like to spend time also monitoring how i am playing the big pairs (AA-TT), big slick (suited and unsuited), A-x suited and unsuited up to A-9, and small pocket pairs (33-88). just spending 30 minutes a session looking at this stuff is enough to find a wealth of learning points.

(3) lastly, while it is disheartening to lose money, the easiest way to get past this is to stop when it hurts, let the pain pass, and then go again. nothing better than perseverance, right? running bad in ring games? try some tournaments. tournaments got you down too? read a book? etc etc etc.

so, back to me: i started thinking about all this b/c i have watched the WSOP Main Event episode featuring Daniel Negreanu about 5 times. i have never seen someone get so unlucky as Daniel (or so lucky as Farha (c'mon, A-10 flopping top full house versus 10-10 flopping lower full house - nice manners, babe!)) Daniel's reads are dead on, he just seems to not be able to win a hand. his demeanor, which obviously is not pleased, is certainly about 30 degrees below where my boiling point would be. he is almost gracious and it is impressive.

so am i going through the same thing? i wish! no, my swings are caused by about 90% poor play and 10% bad luck...at least that is what i see in analyzing the hands. nobody to blame for most of this but me. hopefully i can learn from it. and of course, i need to get somewhere north of 100K hands before i begin thinking about any of this being statistically significant!


so tonight is another chance for the Astros to put away the Cards. i am mildly hopeful, but to be honest, i have seen so many close chances blown by the Astros that i am a bit like a beaten dog: loud noises and quick movement scares me. only time will tell....

[UPDATE: 5:45PM]
i am pacing the shop like an expectant father; there's no beer here and the game is over an hour away. Astros, if you fsck this up and lose the final 2 games and miss the World Series, i will smite thee with a terrible vengence for making care again.

maybe i'll bust out the old lucky "80s orange" Astros cap tonight....

Replies: 1 Comment


They pulled it off. How's the selltheastros.com now? Heh...


DAC said @ 10/20/2005 08:15 AM CST

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