Whenever you play poker, there comes a time when you need to seriously re-evaluate your skills. I have come to this point. I am a losing player over the lifetime of my poker playing days. Does this mean I am a bad player? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that I have to take a look at my poker-playing and decision-making skills while playing in order to find my leaks.

It has taken me longer than I care to remember to come to this point, because while I would love to be a pro, I have allowed outside influences to affect my poker decisions, and this is something that many starting and long-time poker players succumb to.

At this point, I will go through a self evaluation. If you decide to do one, you might ask yourself similar questions.

1> Do I call too much and not raise enough? For a long time, yes this was the case, and breaking oneself of the habit is difficult. I will catch myself as I am about to make a call, especially pre-flop, with a hand I have no business calling with out of position. This is a work in progress, but i am weaning myself off of weak calls.

On the other side of this equation, I find myself pushing all in too often with strong hands early in tournaments. Often, these pushes are justified in later stages of tournaments but not when there are 1500 people left in a 1600 person tournament.  All in pre-flop is a good tool in large tournaments where the buy ins will mean something to the player (tourneys like the Sunday Million, WSOP, etc.), but in general are a bad idea in low-level buy-in tourneys and free rolls. You might dsy, 'People push all the time with bad hands and get away with it!' They do, but, in general, these people are losing players.  (Sometimes you will see someone with a huge stack calling with any two cards because they can, truth is, they lose more often than not in those situations, they just got lucky against you.

2> Am I good at reading other people? I am decent at reading other people, so long as I pay attention. I can multitable effectively up to three tables at a time. any more than that i wind up missing too many things. When it comes right down to it, however, I am most effective multitabling at 2 tables or 1 table at a time. I take notes as often as i can, but i need to get better at that as well.

3>Is my variance high? Yes. I take too many shots with large amounts of my bankroll  I need to work on this aspect of my game the most. This happens more when I am playing badly than when I am playing well and losing. If I wind up on tilt, which happens on occasion, I go nuts, and this is never a good thing. This is the most essential thing I need to work on. Period, end of story. 

4> Do I play when I am too tired or distracted. Often, probably too often which makes a serious dent in my bankroll.  This is something that I have been working on, and it improved markedly in the last few weeks.

I should probably do a more thorough self-evaluation, bu8t I feel I have touched on the major points. Until my next entry, good luck at the tables.
Brian M. (brianmcf1313)