Today marks a full three months since joining PSO and starting to actively study, use accessible tools, videos, forums etc to improve my poker game. There has been definite improvement in my understanding of the basics (hand selection, positional play, maximising value, bankroll management, etc) so I'm pretty happy at the current investment of time and effort.

Basic summary of monetary gain is as follows (starting bankroll on January 1 of $59.92) given that all cash games over this period have been 2NL only:

* January
          - Monthly profit - $13.73 (23% bankroll increase)
          - BB/100 rate (all games) - 3.70

* February
          - Monthly profit - $52.44 (71% bankroll increase)
          - BB/100 rate (all games) - 4.98

* March
          - Monthly profit - $76.54 (61% bankroll increase)
          - BB/100 rate (all games) - 4.03

I'm chuffed with March for two main reasons. Firstly, about half of that end result came from tournament winnings (not my strongest suit). Secondly was that this month was supposed to be 6-max focused and to present a positive return on a new format for me is really exciting. Given that my cash game bankroll yoyo'ed around for the best part of the first three weeks of the month, the last ten days have been a saviour and I have one thing to thank for that ... Zoom poker!

Nothing makes your profit margin look good more than solid volume at a rapid rate. While the speed of it did my head in for the first day or so, I found that (for me at least) there are several solid positives that I can point to for Zoom over the regular cash tables.

1. "Show me the money" - More profit in a shorter time, provided you are a winning player.

2. Stronger positional play decisions - this is just my opinion, but it seems to me that the better players take strong use of the lack of prolonged information and patterning to capitalise on position and really push from the button or cut-off. This increased aggression has really put strong focus on that part of the game and ability to read the hand and hand only without hours of playing at a single table getting to know each villain. Three and four bets seem more frequent at micro levels, though this could be just the cutting out of the waiting time?

3. Greater awareness of variance - Thought you got upset having your Aces cracked last sesssion. Well with Zoom you could see this happening a heck of a lot more frequently (as well as having them hold up or just nick the blinds). Stacking all your (potentially) good hands into a shorter space of time allows a player to see the fluctuations more readily.

4. Less Tilt - again maybe this is just me, but in an increased awareness of the above point, I have found myself a lot less emotionally connected to my big hands that don't hold up, nor to my won big pots either. For example, my last session was a losing one, based primarily on three hands. Twice a villain cracked my AA's and a third time I got in good with AK and a rivered straight knocked my big slick out. In all big hands that session I got in good and the 'bad beats' simply affected my bankroll but not my attitude on how I played.  In short ... bad beats are now viewed as good because to lose a big pot I can now blame the purety of luck as opposed to ordinary decision making that end up with me putting chips in as a big underdog!

The negatives of Zoom are obviously lack of player information, but over a long-ish session you will soon recognise the regulars, the good players and the fish. I have found that an easy 'rule-of thumb' indicator is simply the size of their stack past the maximum starting amount (e.g. in 2NL if a guy is sitting on $10 plus, or if he has multiple entries with all positive results, then you can be pretty sure that he is more likely to be a shark in with the fishes).

April will see me at the Zoom tables more and more I think, as I now have a bankroll that comfortably supports a rise in stakes to 5NL (conservative approach to BR management). Simply put, with good consistent results the profit margin has nowhere to go but up. More $$ means more options in future.

I might see you all there (for a fraction of a second at a time).

FH