Well, September has passed, and I didn't make it into the Premier League, although I was in the top 200 for part of the month. I ended up finishing the month in 366th place out of 7814 players, so I was still in the top 5%, which is pretty good, considering I only started playing on PokerStars on September 6, and had never played a game for real money before then.

In addition, I ran a number of stats last night, and despite only cashing a small percentage of the time in the Premier Qualifier games I played, I still made a small net profit. So, knowing that I am probably not going to lose much money, I have decided to focus on the Premier Qualifier route rather than the PSO Open League in my attempts to qualify for the Premier League in November.

In some ways, I'm glad I didn't make the cut. I think I'm not ready. There are still some major holes in my game of a basic nature that I want to try to plug this month.

Other things I found out after running stats (for over 100 real money tournaments played last month):

I have made a small profit playing $1.50 9-person SNG's.

I have suffered significant losses playing $3.50 9-person SNG's.

I have suffered significant losses playing full ring cash games (I already knew this, and banned myself from cash games a couple of weeks ago, realizing I didn't have good enough control over my emotions yet to avoid tilt-related losses in that arena).

So, it looks like I will be focusing this month on $1.50 9-person SNG's, Premier Qualifier tournaments, and some FPP freerolls (in which I managed to make a small amount of money last month).

I may also try some satellites, not to actually compete in the events qualified for, but to use the Tbucks to play tournaments more suitable for my skill level.

My major goal for October is to plug some holes in my game, the biggest being failure to think through what hands an opponent might have before building a big pot with them when I have a strong hand.

Looking over my notes, I can see a recurring theme of losing tournaments due to stacking off with very strong hands or monsters, not seeing that there is a stronger hand or a bigger monster lurking behind my opponent's hole cards.

At the micro-stakes levels, it's always hard to know. I had a guy stack off with me when he held nothing but an underpair! :O

But I'm discovering that more often than not, it's best to give the opponent credit for knowing what they're doing, and for having a hand, when they play back at me. And it's very much in my best interest to try to figure out what that hand might be before committing too many chips to the pot.

One of the mistakes I made first coming into real money games was to underestimate the skill level of my opponents in general. I have now learned that there are a number of fairly skilled players competing at microstakes levels, and although you run into a lot of donks, it is extremely dangerous to assume any given player is a donk, or a calling station, or whatever, without watching them play for a while.

I am clearly outplayed by players at the $3.50 SNG level -- the stats just don't lie. And felt quite embarrassed about that when I first saw the stats, but then my husband pointed out that I have only been taking poker seriously for a couple of months, and it would be silly to assume I can just waltz in and be a winning player at whatever level just because I've read a few books and taken some classes.

All in all, I think I should be encouraged about my potential. Some things are very wrong with my play, but at least I realize this and have some idea of what those things are and how to change them.

More often than not, when I lose, I can identify one or more bad decisions that I made. That means that I can eliminate a lot of losses just by learning to make better decisions.

So. October = time to start serious work on hand reading and ranging opponents, as well as just in general thinking through plays more thoroughly before I make them.

And maybe if I do qualify for the November Premier Skill League, I'll be better prepared to play in it by that time.