Level 3 Disaster and 5K Hands/Day
carpet
obliviousbanks
 Level 3 is not going so well.  Unfortunately I had to brake the rules and make a cash out, and I dont quite have enough to play 2/4 comfortably.  The good news is I have more time to play and plug leaks.  This week I'll be playing 5K hands per day and posting the results nightly.  See you at 10pm.

Level 3

hands: 38763 / 50,000
winnings: -$914.32 (-0.54BB/100 hands)
rakeback: $876.13 ($2.25/100 hands)
total: -$38.19 / $1395.00




October of Fail
carpet
obliviousbanks

Wow. I basically got no hands in October. I was dealing with a lot of things, worst of which was a lack of confidence in my game. I’m not really sure why I’ve felt this way. Despite all this, I still have time to catch up and get to 3/6 and possibly 5/10 by Jan 1st 2011. I have a pretty good idea on how to work my confidence back up. I will play a bunch of 1/2 for a week or two as needed and catch up on Cardrunners vids. I'll also make an effort not to slack on session review in the evening after I play. I'll need to be diligent in marking hands for review and posting in SSSH. I'll remain on Level 3 into November and really try to get back into the game this week.


Level 3

hands: 6,879 / 50,000
winnings: -$115.52 (-0.61BB/100 hands)
rakeback: $191.57 ($2.68/100 hands)
total: $76.05 / $1395.00




Slight Recovery & One Table FTW
carpet
obliviousbanks
I recovered about 82BB last night in about 500 hands.  The interesting thing was, I did it with one table!  Its been suggested to me that if I really want to work on my 6max game that I play fewer tables, but I never thought the increase in winrate would be worth the lost rakeback per table.  That issue is still up for debate, and I think Im right, but one tabling last night gave me an interesting perspective on a couple things.

1) Stats
Granted, 500 hands is a very small sample size, but my stats for the session were much different than the stats I tend to see across all tables when multitabling.  I'm normally around 27 VPIP / 21 PFR, and its been suggested that Im too tight.  Players with better results say they would tend to play more like 34/27 against such weak competition.  Well last night, I felt like I was playing my normal preflop ranges, but my stats were 34/27.  Some of this might have to do with the fact that there were several pretty tight players to my left so I was presented with a lot of steal opportunities.  In fact, my steal attempt percentage soared to 65%, which is way higher than it typically is (and my success rate also seemed pretty high with these particular players).  Some of the increase might be due to running hot.  While the tight blinds certainly explain some of my increased VPIP and PFR, I think another contributing factor was that I was one tabling and I actually noticed the steal opportunities.  Its plausible that I dismiss these oportunities as more marginal than they actually are when Im busy with a lot of other decisions.

2) Tougher Decisions
While one tabling I noticed more marginal spots where I had to hit the time bank and think!  These spots actually occured kind of frequently.  It seemed like it happened once every 10 or 15 mins.  Often, after taking my time to think, I saved or won an extra bet.  In the grand scheme of things, this could mean an extra bet or two per 100 hands.  I think when Im multitabling, I quickly take my best guess, or execute some turn/river line that I locked into place on the flop and move on to the next hand.  When playing one table, I felt that initial inclination, paused, and realized that the decision was actually a bit more complex than it appears at first glance.  Heres an example of where I might auto bet a river multitabling, but when single tabling, I actually hit the time bank and thought for a pretty long time.  On the turn I semibluff raise a double gutshot.  Whats your play on the river?  http://www.pokertableratings.com/hand-history/fulltilt/24520522432/10114134087
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Downswinging
carpet
obliviousbanks
Level 2 has started off with a somewhat crushing downswing.  In two days of play Ive lost slightly less than $600 for about a 150BB slide.  This is within reason, but it hurts to start out losing as soon as I double the stakes.  While I have (read had) a decent winrate at 2/4, I dont have complete faith that I can beat 2/4 since I havnt logged a lot of hands at this level playing short handed.  My resume includes crushing Party 2/4 full ring back in 2004/2005, and beating Stars 2/4 full ring at a decent rate in 2008, but those are much different than beating 6max today.  With all that said, the games are full of droolers who get way out of line on all streets.  While I have leaks, I dont feel the games are much tougher than 1/2, and it would be a huge detriment to have to move down.  Unfortunately, Im not comfortable with a slide down below $1,500, which is 375BB for 2/4.  Wiping out all my progress at 1/2 would be too detrimental to my mental state, so if I slide another 100 bets, Im going to have to move back to 1/2 and rebuild a bit.  While this kind of delays Level 2, it will keep me motivated to stay on the grind, and even if I move down, making 200 bets or so at 1/2 can put me back in position to take another shot at 2/4.



I plan on getting some 2/4 hands in tonight.  Eventhough the results will determine if i move down or not, Im going to try not to worry about results so much and just try to stay focused and make the best decisions possible accross the table.  I'm confident I can be successful even if I have to move down for a while and being fearful over results can only hurt me.

Level 2 Complete, erm kind of
carpet
obliviousbanks
Im crying uncle after Lockdown.  I got just over 10K hands done, and I'm going to consider Level 2 complete at 39,766 hands.  As soon as I sat down Friday evening I started on a massive rush that basically lasted all weekend.  It felt great.  It felt like 1/2 used to feel, and like my opponents were finally putting money in the pot and missing their 5 outers and 3 outers. It felt so good to see my win rate climb to a respectable level after so many thousands of breakeven hands.  My PTR looks pretty sweet too with a new career peak.  As my cashier soared over $2K, I willed my self into the 2/4 games.  I was a bit uncomfortable at first but that eventually subsided.  The games seemed to move a bit slower there, which made it tough to get all the hands I wanted this weekend, but I was consoled with some nice upswong.  Here's a look at this weekend's sessions.


You cant see it here, but I managed to string together a 340BB upswing in about 4,000 hands at 1/2 alone, within 24 hours.  I think that's the biggest bet-wise rush I've ever had.

Once, while living in Vegas, I was playing 4/8 LHE.  I think I bought into the game for a total of $400, and ran it up to well over $1200.  There were 1200 single $1 chips stacked into a huge pyramid in front of me.  I wanted to see how big I could get it before it got too big and I had to start coloring it up.  That was about a 125BB upswing in a single session of 4/8 and there was a ridiculous amount of chips in front of me.  Im imagining what a 340BB rush would look like in a live 20/40 game.  It would be over 27 racks of chips.  Such a rush would probably make someone a temporary legend, but online it happens all the time anonymously.

So stick a fork in Level 2.  Im playing 2/4 anyway, so might as well consider it finished and move on to Level 3.  If I go on a losing streak at 2/4, I'd likely move down before the bankroll hit $1,000.  That much of a backward slide would drive me more insane that sliping to $1,800 and just going back to 1/2 to rebuild.  Hopefully I can keep on cruising at 2/4 though.

Level 2

hands: 39,766 / 40,000
winnings: $688.90 (0.82BB/100 hands)
rakeback: $812.04 ($2.04/100 hands)
total: $1500.94 / $680.00





Overall
hands: 70,188 / 160,000
winnings: $851.19 (0.79BB/100 hands)
rakeback: $1132.58 ($1.61/100 hands)
total: $1983.77 / $3500.00



As an Epilogue, Truly Free Poker Training started on Cardrunners for me.  After this weekend on lockdown, Ive already accrued enough points for a membership in November.  I watched a video by Schneids and one by Bryce, and really liked them both.  I still have tons of room for improvement and Im psyched to keep learning new ways of thinking about the game.

LOCKDOWN!
carpet
obliviousbanks
Alright, I want to get 15,000 hands in this weekend.  I'll finish Level 2, and get 5,000 hands of Level 3 done.  Im not doing anything this weekend other than poker.  No moving.  No friends parties.  The girlfriend is working and I told her I have to play a ton this weekend, so I dont want to be bothered (she understnds :).  We'll see how it goes.  LOCKDOWN!

Frustration/Motivation
carpet
obliviousbanks

After an 80BB losing session last night I’m feeling really frustrated. At the same time all I can think about is getting hands in. It’s good that I’m motivated to grind, but I run the risk of neglecting working on my game. It’s tough to stay patient enough to sit and watch videos or to do reviews in HoldemManager when I am amped to play. On the other hand, my lack of success at 1/2 reminds me that I probably have leaks to hunt down and I need to do my homework. I see so much bad play, but just can’t seem to avoid those ridiculous downswings where I seem to get reverse dominated by 3 outers, or cold called preflop by some junk that spikes trips with no waiting. Sometimes I wish I could just get paid my turn equity, since it feels like I get raised by draws on the turn that seem to get there on the river. I appreciate the added Sklansky bucks on hands that I’m never folding, but I feel short changed. This is all very subjective, and while I do feel I've run somewhat bad, 143K breakeven hands against such atrocious opposition is not acceptable.

I'll complete a hand swap/review with a fellow SSSH member this week. She happens to be one of the biggest winners at PokerStars shorthanded 1/2, so I’m glad to be paired up with her this month.

I've been slacking on posting/grunching hands in SSSH. Grunching a few more hands will hopefully get my mind thinking about different lines and places where I might improve.

Truly Free Poker Training starts for me in early October. I'll have some vids to watch on Cardrunners.

I'd like to finish dcook77 and giantbuddha's vids at dragthebar.com. If I’m considering coaching from LaPeste, I should definitely pay for a membership and know the vids he's recorded well.

Leak find in HEM. I have some stats I want to filter for and consider. While I've posted in the SSSH stats thread, there wasn’t anything immediately obvious that I could work on. My stats were said to be "basically sound" beyond being a little too tight and slightly under defending my big blind.  I'd like to dicern some info when I 3bet in position on the flop after my opponent checkraises my cbet.  I'd also like to examine my out of position turn 3betting.  I might be missing some 3bets out of position on the turn, but I should look at how much Im winning when I get 3 bets in on the turn, and how much Im losing when I get capped.  I also want a way to identify which opponents are better to turn cbet against and which are better to check back the turn in order to induce river bluffs. Its going to take some digging as soon as I find time away from getting hands in.

Here’s the current Level 2 standing.




I am behind on the 40K hands, but will continue at 1/2 into October until they are complete or I've made the required Level 2 money. Even after making the required Level 2 money, I might stay at 1/2 until I feel a bit more confident and I’ve identified some leaks that have influenced my poor performance at that level.  Eventhough it's been my main game for most of my career, going into 2/4 with guns blazing, on what I consider a slightly insufficient bankroll, is not a good idea when I have so much to work on.


The Project
carpet
obliviousbanks
Seven weeks in, I'm finally getting around to posting this.  I saw a TED talk about telling people your goals.  It turns out that the conventional wisdom of telling people your goals is actually incorrect.  Once goals are told to others, rather than making the goal seeker feel accountable, he tends to feel accomplished and doesn't have as much urgency to stay on task.  I'm going to ignore the science though, because I think I'd like to have a journal of this, and I think I can benefit from pausing to reflect on my progress.  Plus it'll be challenging to try and write an interesting blog.  I've already delayed making my goals completely public, and I've already fallen behind, so why not let the cat out of the bag now?

I plan to go from $0.50/$1 LHE6max to $3/$6 LHE6m in four months and 160K hands.  I want to make at least $3500, which is the rakeback that I expect to earn.  While I'd like to show about a 1BB/100hands winrate at all levels, its not necessary to complete the goal.  I want to focus on hours, hands, and improving, and not winrate results.  The overall project can be broken into four distinct, monthly levels.

Level 1: August, $0.50/1, 30K hands, >$309 earnings
Level 2: September, $1/2, 40K hands, >$680 earnings
Level 3: October, $2/4, 50K hands, >$1395 earnings
Level 4: November, $2/4, 40K hands, >$1116 earnings

Bonus Level: December, $3/6, 40K hands, positive winrate and 34,800 VPP

Rules:
1) No withdrawals allowed.  I have a day job that should be paying my expenses.  Deposits are okay, but wont count towards earnings.
2) Rakeback will be counted towards earnings.
3) Move up aggressively.  As soon as bankroll is 500BB for the next level, I must move up.  I must move down at 250BB.
4) I must meet the scheduled hand requirement with LHE hands at the schedule or above.
5) Playing hours must be sober, well rested, quality hours.
6) I will work on my game with posts in the 2+2 LHE forum, reflecting on hands here, watching videos on Drag the Bar and Cardrunners, and re-reading Winning in Tough Holdem Games

Since this was posted a bit late, Level 1 is already complete.  Here are the results.

LEVEL 1
hands: 30,422 / 30,000
winnings: $162.29 (0.76BB/100 hands)
rakeback: $320.54 ($1.05/100 hands)
total: $482.83 / $309.00


Were a little behind on Level 2.  There is some 2/4, 3/6, and 5/10 contributing to the winnings/losses here, along with the rakeback rate, which is higher than the $1.70/100 hands you'd typically see at 1/2.  I've made some time in the evenings during the week to put hands in, so hopefully I can complete the 40,000 by the end of September.

LEVEL 2
hands: 18,447 / 40,000 (11,553 behind pace)
winnings: $-90.85 (-0.30BB/100 hands)
rakeback: $365.44 ($1.98/100 hands)
total: $274.59 / $680.00




OVERALL
hands: 48,869 / 160,000
winnings: $71.44 (0.36BB/100 hands)
rakeback: $685.98 ($1.40/100 hands)
total: $757.42 / $3500.00


Seeing that makes me feel like I have a lot of work to do.  Ive sorted out a schedule that will keep me fed, rested, playing, and studying.  If I have the will to stick with it, $3/6 by December should be within reach.


Slacking!
carpet
obliviousbanks
After two weekends in September, I only have about 11K hands.  This is about half of pace (10K hands per weekend).  Its tough because Im pretty tired in the evenings on weekdays since I have an 8 to 5 job in an attorney's office.  When I get wraped up having fun on the weekend with the girlfriend, its tough to catch up on weekday evenings, which I'll admit, is kind of cheating.  Im supposed to be testing my ability to get 5K hands in a day, day in, day out.  This is the kind of volume that would be necessary at 3/6 and 5/10 to make Supernova Elite in 2011.  It should be easy to get 1000 hands in tonight provided Im not too tired.  If I can play 1000 hands per night this week, I can set myself up to come close to pace this weekend.

Burn out is a serious issue that I want to expose myself to before attempting to play full time.  The stress of losses and the stress relief of wins both contribute to not being motivated to play.  Even if you fight through it and get your butt in front of the computer, you still have to make sure youre not playing with your brain turned off.

Dispite the problems with volume, my results have been good since the downswing I last posted.  My winrate at 1/2 is positive, but still less than 0.5BB/100.  Without being too focused on short-term results, I'd like to see a higher rate at the end of the month, simply because it's fun to feel like you crushed it. :)

Anyway, tonight its dinner/poker/laundry and Im going to come close to qualifying for Truly Free Poker Training on Cardrunners.

Exciting first week
carpet
obliviousbanks
This first week saw $100+ pots and a 200BB downswing.  With the Labor Day weekend and some social responsibilities, I only got in 8,733 hands, but with nothing to do but grind and work on my game this weekend I should be able to get to 20K hands.  I really am putting the tools I mentioned earlier in the journal to use.  I was given two weeks free as a trial at Drag the Bar.  LaPeste/dcook77 is currently crushing the 3/6 games on stars that I'd like to eventually be playing.  Im really going to enjoy watching his videos.  I will also easily qualify for Truly Free Poker Training at Cardrunners this weekend.  Im looking forward to watching videos by doughnutz and BallzDeepx.  Going over marked hands with pokerstove has really illuminated some stuff i can work on.

Saturday night had me playing a bit higher than 1/2.  The 1/2 games were sparse and 2/4 and 3/6 were playing loose and I found a green note marked player at 5/10.  It turns out this player isnt as fishy as I thought once I looked up his winnings on pokertableratings, but he spewed against me a little at 5/10.  Its was pretty exciting playing 5/10 and Im really looking forward to making it my regular game soon.  Unfortunately I ended up down in 5/10 this weekend, but was happy with the experience and felt like I played okay, with an acceptable number of mistakes to work on.  After my 5/10 experience, I went back to 1/2 just to go on a huge downswing.  Here are the results for the week:


And here's the view of the 200BB downswing, mostly at 1/2.


The good news is, while the downswing was frustrating, it didnt feel like it bothered me as much as it would have in the past.  Maybe its because Im using tools to improve and it's boosted my confidence a bit.  I know the downswings will come and and the money will come in chunks also.  I just need to stay the course and keep playing tough and Ill get through it.

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