Grinding the micros, Bankroll Management and my weaknesses
this is my first post here, so upfront I want to say that cardschat is one of the nicest and friendliest communities ever. Cheers!
I thought it is a good time to introduce myself and contribute something to this forum, so I will tell my story in poker. It might be interesting because i see many threats about building a bankroll from little or nothing. It is a long posting
Basically it all started around christmas 2006. I never really cared for poker before and didnt know much about it. But since it was (and still is) a hype, I got introduced to it through some friends of mine. So on x-mas night we played some hands without real money
to understand the basics of the game. Later that night we went on to another friend for a nice dinner. Of course someone came up with the idea for a tourney and after some hours I found myself playing heads up for the win. I ended losing against the hosts wife.
I had exams around that time, so it took a little while until I started to play online for play money. Getting more and more used to the game, I finally deposited my first 20 Euro (27$ at that time) and started to play the 1/2ct cash games. Until today this was my only deposit.
My strategy was (and is) to sit down with a buck, play tight and leave the table when i doubled. I am always looking for tables with a high percentage of players seeing the flop and a low average pot. We can discuss this later, but my goal was and still is to see cheap flops and have less gambling and all in fests. Since I am buying in for the minimum, additionally I choose tables where most players have my stack size to avoid getting pushed around.
I did this for about a year and got my initial investment up to 280 $. Now for most of you this may sound like not enough or too slow in progress. But I have an disciplined approach to the game (sometimes overdisciplined, more on that later) and see it as the marathon it is told to be. Further, I see my play as a process, studying the game and getting better. For example, at about 180$ i moved up 2/5ct blind levels. I made money there, but somehow I felt I am not ready for that level and my win rate is even higher at the lower blinds, so I returned. I think I was playing too scared and could not adjust to the bet sizes of that level.
Another thing where the drawdowns at higher levels, they just hurt too much. Nevertheless I am getting used to them at my lower blinds. Of course I sometimes get angry when nothing works, you hit no pair, aces get cracked in a row etc. It might sound silly, but when that happens I try to think of some of the pros like Patrik Antonius, who always has an expression like a rock, no matter if he gets beat bad and looses a proper amount of money, or wins it (do not use Phil Hellmuth for this). Thats the way to deal with it - avoid to care about it and move on or stop.
But a far more important aspect is money management (or BRM). I would go as far as to say, that for a long term winning player, it is the most important thing. It keeps you in the game, and no matter how many buyins (or in my case $s) I went down, I still bought in for a buck and after some sessions my bankroll was on a new high. BRM also helps in a psychological way, as my goal is to reduce the volatility of swings as far as possible. This, of course, is individual as some like to see a huge swing and take more risk to achieve it.
Anyway, as I got up to 280$ and had an annoying losing streak, I cashed out 250$, just to get that feeling of having cashed out I started all over. Occasionally, e.g. when meeting with some friends to set up three computers and gamble all night, I was playing some MTTs with small buyins (max. a buck) for fun. So the next big boost came, when I made a 6th place out of 3300 for 99 bucks That got my roll up to about 150$ again.
That win fired my interest in tourneys. When I started playing poker online, I tried some SNGs, but got burned and lost interest. On a cash table I saw faster success. Most of my friends where only playing tourneys and no ring games at all, they made some decent cashes, playing MTTs with a 4$-10$ buyin. They cashed out a fair amount and lost the rest along with their steady interest for poker (although they are coming back with a different approach). To me, playing only MTTs was far too nerve wrecking, too less success on the way to a big hit and too time consuming (although I play a lot, more on that later).
But after that tourney win, I was looking what I can do. Somehow my skills must have improved. So I got back to the SNGs again to play the 3 table ones (27 entrants). At first I mixed my sessions up with playing some cash game and then moving to the SNGs. I got up to about to about 180$ in my account when some drawdown sessions hit me. I didnt lose that much, but it just annoyed me for the amount of time I played.
So I cashed out another 135$, leaving 35$ to play. That was last december, and since then im up to about 90$ again, mainly playing the SNGs. These are a step for me, as I still only risk 1.20$ (almost my buyin at the cash game), but can win a greater amount than in a regular ring session. I usually make the money more than 25% of the time and have a steady, not too swingy, progress in my bankroll. Also I strictly stick to the same games.
As I said, many of you will see my figures as pocket money. Considering the amount of time I put in, you probably are right. This is one of the weaknesses of my game. I play almost every day, coming home from work, lay down on the couch, put on the TV (yes i do) and play the whole evening. But dont worry yet, I do have a social life and get other things done as well. But I have to admit, that poker has become a major part of my life. And I absolutely believe that my approach is taylored to myself. But it takes time. My goal is to build a roll that allows me to play the 3$ SNGs with a proper BRM (not only mathematical, but a "feeling good"). This will be at around 500$, which ironically is about the amount of my lifetime winnings, but I want to work my way up again instead of cashing in.
There are many things in my play I have to work on. I will make a seperate post on this.