Progress report from an aspiring pro player
I promised to post a follow-up to this thread:
I've done 5 sessions since then, and here is my report.
Session 8 & 9:
I finally experienced my first down-swing. While it was a sucky experience, I am glad to have received the lessons that came with it. I was able to identify a few problems with my game, the most important of which was dealing with a slight tilting problem. Most of the losses came from losing 3 big hands, each for $500-$700. Two of them were due to the tilting issue, each time I knew
my AA was cracked, but I couldn't force myself to put them down. The other was a very hard to avoid situation where I turned a boat, and the other player rivered a higher boat (that one really sucked).
I came down with a nasty flu after that weekend and had a lot of 'down time', during which I picked up and read a few poker books
. I absorbed some good knowledge as well as the mindset and techniques to help me avoid going on tilt.
I came back to play the next weekend (last weekend), and I could see an instant improvement in my game from what I had learned in the books as well as during the previous two losing sessions.
Sessions 10 & 11
Session 10: Friday's session was pretty good - in fact, I achieved a new earnings/hour record for a single session. I think that Friday is generally a good day to play, as there is a good number of people playing, and many of them worked that day, and are therefore tired and not playing their A game.
Session 11: Started out a bit rocky - I played well but hit some bad situations (will go over some specific key hands in a bit), and was stuck for $600 after about 4 hours of play. Eventually I turned it around and was up $950 8 hours later. This was also probably the most card-dead session I've ever played, and I'm quite proud of myself for doing as well as I did.
Biggest losing hand from session 11
My biggest losing hand was when I lost an all-in for my stack of $240.
I was playing
. The flop came
. About $45 in the pot on the flop. A player in earlier position bet $15, I was the only caller.
The turn card was
. I now had 2 middle pair and a flush draw. The player in earlier position bet $50 into the $65 pot. I pushed all in. He called me down with AQ. The river card wasn't a diamond and I lost the hand.
Even though I lost, I didn't think I played the hand very badly. I didn't put him on AQ when he only bet 1/3 the pot on the flop. I think a better player would have bet it more aggressively with the flush draw out there. I had him on something like A9/AT/AJ. When I turned 2 pair I was at least 65% sure I had the best hand at the time, and in the case my opponent had a set or top 2, I still had the flush draw as an additional safety net.
My best winning hand of session 11
This wasn't my most profitable hand of the night, but the one which I made a fantastic read on a moderately skilled player and won a $300 pot. It was also the hand which was the turn-around point of the night for me (having been down $600 up to that point).
I had been playing for about 4 hours now. Seeing a cheap flop was getting somewhat difficult as there were a few maniacs at the table, which including the chip leader. He would constantly overbet the pot pre-flop by opening with a $25 bet, and he played every small pocket pair that way - of course, he'd play the big pocket pairs that way, too. As far as maniacs went, he was generally more skilled than the garden variety maniac - he had some reading skill and had the sense to lay some hands down.
On to the hand:
I was in 3rd position (first to act after the big blind). I was dealt
and I wanted to see a cheap flop. Since I was dealing with a bunch of maniacs, I decided to throw out a small blocking bet out for $6. The action folded to the chip leader maniac. He raised to $25. Maniac #2 immediatly behind him calls, as did 2 other players. The rest of the action folds to me. At this point I'm getting almost 6:1 on my money, so I call to see the flop.
The flop comes
. I am first to act and I check. The chip leader maniac bets $35, and the rest of the action folds to me.
Here's where it gets interesting.
I KNOW he overplays small pocket pairs all the time, but, sometimes he has a real hand. I start to stare at him like a hawk trying to pick up a read.
He wears sunglasses when he plays, so I know that being read is one of his concerns. Now, here's where he messed up. Whenever in a hand and trying to hide his tells
, he would take this passive position of ducking his head down and looking at his cards. What didn't occur to him is that when he does that, he gives other players a perfect line of sight to his eyes, making his sunglasses defense completely useless. I stared at him for about a minute, and I saw his eyes move a number of times - and I identified that eye movement as him being legitemately nervous. I put him on a weak hand and pushed all in for my remaining $90. He called me down after about 5 seconds - he was holding 77. My 8's held up on the turn and river and I won the hand for about $299.
A few players at the table applauded me and one said that it was truly a "brilliant play" - which was a pretty good ego/self-esteem booster.
During the last weekend two players including a local pro player who, had been playing professinally for about 5 years, suggested that I should try moving up to 2/5. I am going to take their advice soon. My goal is to try 2/5 once my bankroll reaches $5000.
However, the last weekend was probably my last time playing at my local casino. I am moving to SF soon, and I hope that their card rooms will be as lucrative for me as the ones here in the North East.
On the way to SF I am also going to stop by Vegas for 3 days. That will be a good test for me. I know that if I can come out ahead after grinding it out in Vegas, then I can grind it out anywhere.
Here is my current running bankroll chart as well as updated session results data: