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Poker reflections 2011

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  • Poker reflections 2011

    I like the idea of of setting poker goals for the new year, but before I do that I have decided to reflect on my past year of poker. As Bob Marley says, “If you know your history, then you know where you're coming from”, and if you know where your coming from, navigation to where you are going to becomes a lot easier.

    So with no further ado I shall begin to reflect upon my poker experience during 2011. My poker goals for 2012 shall follow shortly.

    General reflections

    2011 has been my first full year as a poker player, unfortunately however it has not been full year of poking playing for me. Due to many unavoidable circumstances I have not been able to play consistently throughout the year, but I have played enough to make some progress and have some fun.

    My primary observation about my poker experience during 2011 is that during this year I have actually become a poker player. I have picked up a hobby that I think will be with me, in some form or an other, for a long time to come. Upon getting to know new people I now tell them that I like to play a bit of poker. This is a huge change from a year ago, and I like it.

    I am also well aware of my limitations. I am not an expert poker player, I am a beginner who is improving, and I am comfortable with this. I am have a competent understanding of the fundamentals of poker, and I am beginning to explore some more advanced concepts. I still often find myself in spots where I don't know what I ought to do, but in most of the basic situations I know what the right play is most of the time, even if I do not always act accordingly.

    During 2011 I have realised that I am a recreational poker player. I have no immediate desire to derive my primary income from poker, or a substantial secondary income for that matter. Poker is a hobby of mine, not something that I am financially dependant upon. I would like to make a substantial amount of money from playing poker in the future, but this is not something that I expect to happen any time soon.

    This does not negate the fact that when I sit down to play poker I play to win money. The small amount I may win or lose online has no financial implications on my daily life, but I still want and expect to win money playing poker every time I play. I also fully accept that I will not win money every time I play.

    Online Reflections

    During 2011 I have succeed in my goal of not depositing money in order to play online poker. My bankroll is still very modest, but sufficient to keep playing the micros. I am very happy that I am still able to play poker online for real money without having to make a deposit. Having said that I can still envision a couple of scenarios where I would be happy to make deposit online.

    The first scenario is that I go completely bust with the almost certain knowledge that my bust was to to a horrible run of variance, and not due to my incompetent play. I hope this scenario never occurs. The second scenario is that I become comfortable and competent enough to be able to clear the full first deposit bonus on Stars, in which case I will happily make a deposit.

    During 2011 I have moved away from the PSO Skill league games as my go to games, and onto the micro stakes real money tournaments on Stars. This has actually been quite a jump for me, even if it was an enforced one. The skill league used to be a safe haven for me. It was free and just towards the end of the old format I had become comfortable in the knowledge that I could play just over one a day and still be in with a shout of a relatively substantial cash at the end of the month.

    The new format changed that, and I realised that the financial gain to time ratio no longer suited me, so I was forced to look for other games to play. I am glad this happened as it has broadened my poker horizons somewhat. I am not ruling out a return to the skill leagues, but I have also learnt that the style of poker required to be successful in the skill leagues is quite different to the style of poker required to be successful in most other games.

    Live Reflections

    2011 saw my first forays into the realm of live poker. The experience has been fantastic for me. I started in a small pub league in a small English town, and now I have played in most of the poker casinos in the 3rd largest city in the country. All of my live entries have been for small amounts, but I have gained a degree of confidence in the live arena. I have grasped a basic knowledge of live play, and had some great times in the process. I have won a few tourneys, and cashed in a few more, and I am very happy with this.

    My live ring game experience has been very mixed, that is to say very heavily influenced by variance. I have won a lot in a session, and lost a lot in a session. I have tended to target the drunk/money-to-burn/don't give a feck games. I am sure that these games are actually gold dust so long as one is ready to ride the variance storm and play at the correct unsociable hours. I am not sure that I am prepared to do either.

    Reflections on my playing style

    My personality style strongly favours overarching concepts over specific details, grey areas over black and white,and spontaneity and freedom over structure and order. These preferences have inherent strengths and weaknesses when it comes to playing poker.

    When playing poker I tend to rely heavily upon my intuition. By intuition I mean arriving at decisions without necessarily processing all the specific details required to arrive at the decision consciously, and not some mystical ability to know what cards are coming next. My intuitive playing style is based upon a logical theoretical understanding of poker, but since my understanding is limited this style can lead to some tricky spots.

    At its best this playing style leads me to almost float along during tournaments, effortlessly making correct decisions and allowing for flexibility and adaptability to my opponents and the the different situations that I find myself in.

    At its worst this playing style leads to indecision and whimsical play, and I can find myself in spots where I have no idea of what I should do. Due to its flexible nature this style is also heavily susceptible to damage by even the slightest tilt. This playing style can also make it difficult for me to analyse my play after the event.

    Since this playing style is a natural extension of my personality style I will not seek to fundamental alter it or overhaul it, because I don't think that will work. Rather I will try and augment its strengths and mitigate its weaknesses. This will be the subject of my next thread in which I will outline my goals for 2012.

    Merry Christmas everybody.

  • #2
    Great post Swaxwell! One of the joys of being a part of this community is seeing players come into their game as you are doing. It's a process that while satisfying also brings periods of frustration. Don't let those get you down. You'll find yourself on plateaus where progress seems stagnant then you'll break through and experience a growth spurt. Such is the nature of human learning, especially in adults.

    One bit of poker advice I'd like to offer is to have a plan whenever you enter a hand. It will reduce the times you find yourself in a spot wondering what to do next. Intuition and planning do not necessarily conflict. Poker intuition is developed by conscious thoughts which become reflexive through repetition. Planning out hands in advance will hone your intuition.

    Hoping you continue to have good results in the new year.


    • #3
      Ty Joe. And as for your advice I will take it on board. My next thread will outline my goals for 2012, and the ideas behind your advice should be accounted for as I move forward.



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