Psychology of Bankrolls: How my bankroll beat me

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Anexa

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I wasn't sure if I wanted to post this at first but the more I think about it, the more important I think it is. I decided to try playing poker seriously about a week and a half ago and deposited $65 at FT and quickly earned the bonus (100% match up $600). When I first started playing I would wander over to the cashier window and see where I was anytime something big happened like winning or losing an all in situation. I glowed when I was up, and freaked out when I was low. The worse part, however, was that I played accordingly. If I was up I got looser and faster, and if I was down, I tightened up to the point of only playing in situations where I was sure to win.

I know that poker success is determined over the long run but I just couldn't resist seeing how I was doing. I kept dreaming about how I might be like one of the many poker pros I've read about and grind my way from $65 all the way to thousands. However, reality eventually set in. I watched my bank roll hit highs of $154 a couple of days ago (for me that's high :) and now I am just over $30. I think some of this loss is due to me making poor plays, as well as losing some crucial all-in moments (some where I was ahead), but I think what beat me most was my B/R.

Because I was taking poker so seriously, I took every blow to my bankroll as a sign that I just couldn't beat the game and when you're glancing at it every few minutes, like I was, that can be quite the emotional rollercoaster. I have therefore banned myself from looking at my B/R and the point at which I do look at it is the point at which I need to stop for the day. The only time I will see where I am is at the end of a session to record it in order to stop myself from playing only as a reaction to what's in my account. I know that I need to make the right plays and I just can't do that when the only thing on my mind every couple of seconds is whether or not I'm up and how much.

I've only been playing for real money for about 15 days and I have learned a lot about myself in that short time. In retrospect, I think that my B/R being where it is right now is the best thing that could have happened. It has given me a chance to examine parts of poker outside of the math and hand analysis. It's made me look at myself and how I react to failure, success, and probability. I will continue my regular hand and session analysis to make sure I've got my fundamentals straight but I now understand that being successful at poker is more than that.

For those of you that have read this far, if your letting your B/R beat you, STOP IMMEDIATELY! Take the Anexa oath, and vow not to look at it until your session is done, and not to play anymore after you've looked at it. It should be the last thing you do. This won't be useful to the pros out there, but for newbies like me, it might just save your bankroll and your sanity.
 
zachvac

zachvac

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The big thing, which it seems you are neglecting, is bankroll management. You should not be having swings as you are at the stakes you should be playing with that bankroll. The general rule is for ring games you should have 20 max buy-ins for the stakes you're playing. This way one hand won't make a big difference in your bankroll whether you stack someone else or you get stacked. If one loss in an all-in can significantly impact your bankroll, that's a problem and you need to move down in stakes until you have a larger bankroll.
 
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Anexa

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I agree. I'm at .05/.1 NLHE and it was a series of all-in losses. Like I said though, I think the loss was due more to me getting emotional about losing. Whenever there was a negative change in my bankroll I would freak out. I've never really played for real money before so it bothered me, but I think I've learned some lessons from it all.
 
Munchrs

Munchrs

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May 25, 2007
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your playing 50c/$1 on a $65 roll? Bad BR mangement.

In regards to your post, I watched a video on stox poker where nick, the coach, talks about how he had a pro friend who used to stress alot when he went on a bad run. eg he would be down a couple of buy-ins and freak out and change his play. So he did an expierement where he didnt look at his results for 15 days(PT or cashier). After the 15 days he looked at his results and saw that he had won over $80k and had two $15k downswings along the way. By not checking his results whilst playing he had managed to not let himself tilt in a form and keep on playing his A game and at he was a much happier person during the time as he was much lessed stress when he was loosing as he didnt even know it. It also meant that he didnt have mood swings based on how poker was going and basically had a better quality of life.

So my advice is to try not to be results orientated and dont check your results as you play. Check them say at the end of everyday after you have decided not to play anymore and start each day at $0 up or down and you should be able to handle Downswings and varience better without getting as emtional.
 
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Anexa

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no.. you misread.... .05/.1 NLHE.. five cent/10 cent... and I believe that's what I'm going to do now. I think that's a really good way to think about it and I'm going to try to incoroporate that.
 
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DuaneK

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Mar 2, 2008
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I quit playing ring games and now just play SnG,s. Maybe not as much money but I make more. Find a level you can win at and stay there until you feel you are ready to move up.
Duane
 
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Aleeki

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Feb 27, 2007
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I must admit I can relate very much to the opening post.

This is something I think I need to try.

I feel that I do change up my play when I have had a couple of losses and start questioning my play and whether I am pushing when I shouldn't or calling all in's when I shouldn't or raising too much/calling to much etc.

Similarily when I am on a hot streak I seem to subconsciously play looser even though I tell myself not too. I find that I call that extra raise or tell myself I will 'just see a flop' etc.

This post has definitely given me a reality check and I will be trying very hard to put this into practice, if only for a week to see what difference it makes etc.
 
Bankroll Building - Bankroll Management
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