I had a plan for the turn but I really didn’t think about the river, I thought he’d fold the flop around 70% of the time. If he continued I was going to barrel any diamond, which I thought would garner a fold plenty enough to make it profitable. However, he didn’t, he called the flop, as well as the turn. Now I had stuck nearly a third of my stack in and I have 66. Seems like a check fold, or could I get him to fold a stubborn overpair...?

It was late, around 1am and my mind was troubled with thoughts of the next day’s exam. In truth I wasn’t prepared and I knew that, but in an attempt to ease my mind I decided that I’d play a few hundred hands before bed. Considering the circumstances this decision probably wasn’t +EV but what did I care, “I could make good decisions in any situation”.

I guess you know where this is going, I ended up pulling the trigger on a blank river after check raising a paired board containing two diamonds, I fired the turn when the third diamond hit. Even if the player had an overpair I doubt he would fold, it’s 5nl after all, but no surprises when he showed up with a turned flush. As the realisation of my bad play washed over me I hit the ‘sit out next BB’ button and readied myself for bed; my last thought before shutting my eyes being “Wow! My play has been bad recently”.

This last week has been pretty tough for me, I really wanted to keep to my goals but the New Year exam period doesn’t allow for much leisure time. In attempt to achieve silverstar I broke one of my biggest promises I made when setting my 2013 goals by slipping back into old habits of going for volume. United with the stress of the exams and the inordinate amount of engineering information currently monopolising my brain, not partaking in daily poker activity really has been detrimental to my game. I can see now that I should have settled for not making silverstar in January, I had perfect reason not to, instead I pushed on letting my old habits of over aggression creep back into my game.

This hand, as well as my overall winrate during the exam period really does demonstrate that you shouldn’t play when you have a bad mindset; you should go to tables looking to play your A game; and enjoy doing so. By cutting down on my poker hours due to exams I neglected my poker education and my game has suffered , at least I have identified the problem and can adjust accordingly. In all likelyhood I will still make silverstar, but I'm not going to go for it if I can't do it profitably. I have thus vowed to review all my hands from last week not playing a hand of poker until I do so, also I will not be pushing for volume but focusing on learning and improving like I did in the first few weeks of January.  I can return to my usual schedule Thursday when my exams finish, hopefully my positive winrate will return.

If I can’t keep to my goals then I know I won’t achieve what I want to this year, playing the micro stakes is a tough learning curve for me and when it feels like you’ve been there forever it can be frustrating. Nevertheless I realise that it is all part of the learning process and without these small stepping stones I can’t progress up the ladder, I don’t know what the ultimate goal is but it would be nice to achieve my 2013 goals. Come Thursday I can prioritise once more; 2013 is the year for me, even if I have had a somewhat shaky start.