PokerNews Strategy contributor Matthew Pitt continues his series chronicling his 300-day journey toward building a bankroll to play at the 2016 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Counting today, this is the 30th day of my 300-day challenge in which I’m trying to build a bankroll of at least $10,000 while playing low-stakes poker tournaments and cash games. While I am in profit thus far, the first month has been plagued by my inability to log anything near the volume required to move up stakes and push this challenge to the next level.
A large portion of the blame rests at my feet because, for the most part, I’m the one responsible for sitting down, logging onto the various poker sites, and playing this crazy game that we all love. There are some other factors that we’ll get to later, but I have to hold my hand up and admit to not playing as much as I could have.
One of the reasons for the lack of volume is the fact I ran horrifically at the start of the challenge, which put me off playing when really I should have been playing more to help push through the rocky spell.
After 100 tournaments, I found myself in a $600 hole, which equates to around 59 of my average buy-ins at the time. I found it so difficult to motivate myself to play while I had such a negative mindset that I neglected to play. To date, from 30 available days I’ve played on only 12 of those.
I decided to reread The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter, because I knew my mental game was letting me down. I wasn’t tilting in the traditional sense of the word — I wasn’t spewing chips off left, right, and center — but I realized that I was essentially on perma-tilt by playing poker expecting to lose and being so negative.
Perhaps it was coincidence that the day after I read the first few chapters of the book I went on to win a $5.50 buy-in tournament at partypoker. It was a win that netted me $1,204.50 (which included a $500 cash bonus thanks to a special promotion that was running), and got me out of the hole.
After the win I went through a lot of my hand histories and saw that I was playing good poker and that the poor results were largely out of my control. In a parallel universe, my alter-ego was probably preparing an article bragging about being halfway to his monetary goal — at least that’s what I like to think.
This leads me to my first tip: review your play on a regular basis. I’ve started jotting down hands that have given me trouble and then reviewing them as soon as I’ve finished playing that day. I then return to them a day or two later and have another look to see if I would have approached the hands differently.
Reviewing your play may be time consuming, but it is crucial to success. Doing so helped me to snap out of the negativity that was ruining my enjoyment of the game and causing procrastination. Neither of those things are what you need as a poker player.
My second tip stems from my rereading of The Mental Game of Poker: rate your play. At the end of each session, I give myself a mark out of 10 for how I played with 10 representing playing to the best of my ability (not Dan Colman-good). Each session I also give myself a mark out of 10 rating my mental game. Doing so has really helped me stop doing fishy things mentally and is allowing me to find patterns in when I play average or worse.
A third tip (I’m full of them today!) is to have a back-up internet connection. This is another major reason for my lack of volume to date. My usually super reliable internet connection has been flaky recently and I was even without it for a couple of days at the start of the challenge.
While I could tether my phone to my PC and use its connection, this is far from ideal when you have 10-15 buy-ins in play and are playing for a decent chunk of change. I’m not saying have a second line installed with a different provider (although I would do this if I were playing high stakes games regularly). Rather, I’m just recommending to ensure you always have a mobile internet option available to you regardless of the stakes you’re playing.
Let’s wrap this up with the playing statistics up to and including today:
- Tournaments played: 145
- Total buy-ins (including rebuys & add-ons): $1,704.20
- Average buy-in: $11.75
- Cashes: 27
- ITM: 18.62%
- ROI: 33.39%
- Net winnings: $539.95
I’m down $129.90 in cash games ($0.15/$0.25 six-max) from 2,285 hands, so the total figure won so far is $410.05 or less than half of what I need per month to reach the $10,000 target.
September needs to be better. September will be better, you mark my words!