Ive made some posts here before, and ive met several of the members over aim conversations and the like. However, i am starting to feel like I am stuck in a hopeless situation. Every time i begin to do well, i have a huge roller coaster ride and end up broke again, ending up having to reload. Again I am down to my last 30$, and I just dont even know what to say. Its not like im out of money, but if i cant get my bankroll going, and i continue to be a marginal losing player, whats the point? (Here is something we can all agree on.)
I have Pokertracker and Gametime set up, however it really didnt end up helping me nearly as much as I anticipated. Also, and i know this is going to sound really, really, noob, (But frankly, at this point, I dont really care anymore) I cant even fathom how certain games can be "beaten". I know, im going to get laughed at, but it seems like all of the options i get every hand always result in me doing poorly. Ive played roughly 15K hands and i just dont know what to do.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is, the people on this site make everything seem so incredibly easy. I dont know what to say. I struggle at micro limits and small time Sit and Go's and MTT's, and when i win its for too small an amount to offset my losses. Then i go onto this site to read and try to learn, and I just feel like im not going anywhere , like im stuck and my game isnt improving.
However, i really love the game of poker; a lot. If i didnt, I wouldnt be here today, and i wouldnt of tried to play, and lost money along the way. Maybe thats the biggest key, admitting that I am a losing player and need some help. I dont think i am a very bad player, just very marginally losing. Ive had a few just wicked beats along the way (As everyone else has as well), and compounded with what i believe is poor play, the results are amplified.
Perhaps what im asking for here, is if there is anyone here, who out of the kindness of their heart would make an attempt to help me understand bankroll issues, the way to move up, and ultimately, a fresh perception on the game. I really am willing to learn, and im certainly not a begginner in the world of poker. I just need to get my game sorted out, or Im afraid that i just need to quit this, because i cant keep losing money at this game.
Thank you guys for your time. If you want to talk to him, hit me up on Aim @MrPresidentPolk or @ Email @ Guitar4life100@gmail.com . Really, any advice would be appreciated.
WCGRider - I don't have a lot of advice, except I have been downthe road you are on. My problem is how sincerely do I want to stake poker. It has taken me a couple of years but I realize what my weaknesses are as far as game selection and whether to paly online or not, etc. I have worked on these holes, but in all sicerity some oif my mixes can't be fixed. Wehere I can go play in a live tourney in a B&M for 110.00 and place in the cash, usually top 5, I cannot for the life of me duplicate these results online. Same thing for cash game. The problem is, poker live for me is at least 110 miles away, that makes most of the games ubbeatable (factor in the bad beat, the rake, the commute and the LOW limit 2/5 NL). I guess what I am saying is that Itruly feel your pain, but I have been on these boards for a bit and yes, there are a lot of flamers, but there are also a lot of good people to give advice. I wish you well, let me know what you hear.
Quote: i continue to be a marginal losing player...Maybe thats the biggest key, admitting that I am a losing player and need some help.
Yes, that's a good step. While luck is a factor, you haven't acquired the skills you need to win yet.
However, i really love the game of poker; a lot.
Good. If you don't enjoy it, and you aren't winning a lot, you should quit. By the way, many people enjoy playing poker, and never learn to win. For most poker players, poker is an entertainment expense.
attempt to help me understand bankroll issues, the way to move up, and ultimately, a fresh perception on the game.
Bankrolls are for winning players. A bankroll will not give you the skills to win. Don't worry about a bankroll until you have established yourself as a solid winner. A losing player will burn through any amount.
Rather than moving up, move down until you hit a level you can beat. Understand why you are winning, what mistakes your opponents are making that you don't make. Then move up slowly, maintaining the feeling of winning as you learn to beat tougher opponents.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is, the people on this site make everything seem so incredibly easy.
Some do. Some overstate poker's difficulty. The reality is between the extremes. Poker is a game against other people. It's not rocket science. You need to beat other people to win. Most of your opponents are not studying the game, so that can be your advantage.
I completely understand your frustrations. I bought in on Stars back in February to clear a bonus. I started at .25c/.50c and won $4 the first night and assumed I would average $4 a night. Pretty cool, huh?
Less than 24 hours later I lost $7 in the same game but cleared a few more points for my bonus. So I moved up to the bigger game to chase my losses and clear more of my bonus. I got eaten ALIVE at 1/2 and 2/4. Lost $100 in a night and had to rebuy. What a donkish EV- play, huh?
After that I wised up. No more crying about bad beats (bad play?), no more chasing losses and MOST importantly I found a game I can beat. May not be much but I am beating the 5c/10c for over 2BB/100. I have $330 in my Stars account and plan on playing 100k hands in the micros. What's the rush to move up, anyway? You're not playing for a living so take it slow and LEARN the game.
Let your EGO go! I was not half as good as I thought and neither are you! I don't mean to sound mean but the harsh reality of it is that there are so many skills to master to become a winning poker player. It just does not happen so easy, as you refer to it, nor after reading a few books.
I have played almost 14k hands and am still negative in terms of dollars but up in terms of BB/100 albeit marginally.
Here's my solution to you: with a $30 BR start at the 5c/10c, play 100 hands and STOP. I don't care if you're up, down or even. Analyze every pot you entered and ask yourself "why did I enter the pot". What were my odds on that street? Who was I up against? (Poker Ace HUD is useful in this situation as well as any reads you had on them). Use Poker Stove to find out your equity when you enter a hand and for instance flop TPTK (Top Pair Top Kicker aka AK then find out what your best play is. Read Small Stakes Hold Em again and again. I cannot express how much of a disservice your are doing to yourself by not reading this book AGAIN and AGAIN. I have read it 3 times and need to read it 3 more times.
And lastly, if you go on "TILT" every times you get a bad beat and start overcalling raises with Ace little or KJ or chasing in tiny pots you will never beat this game consistantly. This was a problem of mine a couple years ago when I would take $50 down to the local B&M lose it in a 3/6 cash game and rebuy only to lose that too. You MUST have DISCIPLINE and PATIENCE to beat this game at the micros. If you don't you'll find yourself on the rail.
One thing I think should be stressed is to pick one game.
If you like SnGs, play SnGs. If you like NL 6-max, play NL6-max. If you like limit, play limit. MTTs, fine, play those. But just pick one, and then don't play anything else until you are regularly crushing that game at a stake you are comfortably rolled for.
Different games have different "styles" of play. I find NL more fun that limit because in limit one mistake costs me one bet. In NL, one mistake and my whole stack is gone. I like that because it puts my destiny more firmly in my own hands, and each decision on every street in every hand becomes that much more important. (And if you haven't learned how your decisions before the flop HUGELY impact your decisions on the river, then you need to stop playing NL.)
I don't play MTTs because I like to sit down when I want, play for as long as I want, then get up and cash out whenever I want. I don't like SnGs because the quickly rising blinds turn the game into a pre-flop shove fest, and in my head that just isn't poker. Poker is about playing deep stacks after the flop. And I feel that in 6-Max the table dictates to my how I should play, where as in full ring games feel I can dictate my terms to the table.
Now, I didn't say all that to tell you to not play any of those other games. MTTs will always be where the GIANT paydays are at. Highly skilled players like aba & green plastic LOVE 6-max because it provides the greatest opportunity for them to put their superior skills to use. And if you are reasonably skilled at adapting to the constantly changing environment, then SnGs provide a great place to grind a nice, consistent income.
The point I was trying to make was I found a game that fits my personality and "style" of play. Decide what game fits you best, and then study just that poker variant.
Study it, play it, stay within your roll, and before long you'll be crushing the tables.
Thank you guys so much, ive decided to play one table at a time, with what im comfortable with, and really focus on the opposition and the situation. As things go along ill make another post. Thank you again for everything.
Late response. You didn't refer to any particular knowledge base except your own playing experience so I will tell you how I have improved and continue to inprove my game. You can decide if it's worth a try.
Buy and read "Small Stakes Hold'em" by Sklansky and Miller. Most of the winning posters on this site are using knowledge and thought processes from that book. Itis not an easy read nor is it a magic bullet. You will need to read and reread sections of it while you continue to play and think. You will improve incrementally as the lights go on one at a time.
Also important: Respond to posted hands ( grunch style) and post hands you personally have a question about. Disregard the flames and denigration you may get from a few posters (rare though) in favor of getting a lot of helpful information. I mostly post hands in the Micro Limit forum since that is the stakes I play. Other forums do it similarly. Lurking and reading posts is fine but the needed info seems to "stick" better if you are invested/involved in the process.
Join in session reviews. A must. You can get a lot from reviewing someone elses sessions and from having yours reviewed in detail. (I'll do one with you if you wish and if you PM me about it) Again not a magic bullet but very likely helpful.
Somewhere along the line also read "Understanding the Poker Mind" and "The Psychology of Poker" I have several other books I recommend highly as well. Including "Hold'em For Advanced Players"
Yes. You probably can eventually figure it all out on your own (after all some one did originally!!!) But it is much easier to stand on the shoulders of those who have both learned it and organized their thoughts in writing.
Finally, as you journey along the above described route you will encounter other sources of very good knowledge and or tools. If you do these things I predict you will be a solid winning player in a very few short months. Maybe weeks if you run good! Just as importantly: You will know and have confidence that you are a winning player (even during the inevitable downswings ) and you will know why you are a winner.
You've got to go right back to the basics. You've got to focus you're mind on how profit is generated in poker. Read some of the key books which explain "Expected Value" (Small Stakes Holdem / Weighing the Odds)
Discpline is paramount. It's the cornerstone of everything in poker.
Play at the very lowest limits until you can beat them over (say) 50K hands.
Emotions & Ego are your enemy in poker. Work on those aspects away from the game. Practise being more "objective" in everday situations. Monitor how your body reacts to situations, to comments made by others, the actions of others, etc.
Some excellent advice so far, and my situaion was very similiar to yours WCGrider until only a few weeks ago.
I was a losing player, i blamed it on bad beats and luck, but it was down to the fact i was a terrible poker player. I read forums etc but i never actually put work into learning the game.
Things like pot odds, calculating outs were like Japanesse to me. I knew they existed but i just didnt think they were that important.
I put $10 in various poker sites and re-loaded when i lost it. About 2 weeks ago i was down too $0.22 cents and i didnt want to reload again and it was all starting too add up.
Thats when i decided to put some effort into learning the basics of poker. I spend times calculating pot odds, going reading hands post on this forum and working it out like that. I did the same with outs, i still havent learned it wll enough that it comes instanlty but i am getting there. I downloaded a holdem calculator and learnd what my % is of beating some with AK vs AQ and all other hands which i learned from this forum.
But probaly the most important thing was buying Small stakes Holdem, Bona is spot on. It is essential. I plan on getting alot more books and reading, but for the moment i plan on sticking with SSH as it takes awhile for it all to sink in and understand.
Pokertrackr is also a must. however alot of people just download it, stick in hand histories and think job done, now i will become a winning player. Study every hand that you lost alot of money with, study what position you are losing at most on the table and see what hands you are losing with.
The worst mistake i made was the number of times i saw the flop, i was constantly seeing flops with anything and everything, its the worst mistake you can make in poker. Even now i do it, but not as often.
I play 10 seater games and up until a few weeks ago i saw the flop 437 times out of 660. Thats criminal really. Now its 326 out of 771, still quite big but a huge improvement.
Another mistake people make is playing to their bankroll and not there abilitly. Every player should start at the bottom and work up. Alot of players deposit$100 or so and think they should play .25/.50 or whatever becuase they have $100 bankroll.
I play 0.01/0.2 and i plan on sticking at this level until i reach $100(currently $13.58), then i will move up.
I burned through about 3-4 $50 buy-ins over the course of a year playing MTT's and micro limit hold em (no idea what i was doing). I took about 6 months off from online poker and played only with friends in home games with maybe 2 casino trips (break-even). I repeat i had no clue what the hell i was doing.
This was way before I knew what 2+2 is or who Harrington Malmuth or Sklansky were. One of my friends was better than me by miles and he had Doyle Brunson's Super System on his bookshelf. He lent it to me. I read that. I found it way over my head, but it did turn on that little lightbulb that flashes "you suck" in neon inside your mind.
So after blowing off about another 4-5 buyins trying to play LAG like Doyle in his prime without any understanding of what the hell I was doing ( Hey agression wins, why are they still calling, you lied doyle!) I realized I needed further help.
I typed in "poker forum" in google and arrived here.
I don't post here much at all as you may see but i read tons and the first thing i noticed is everyone being pointed to the sklanksy malmuth harrington books so I went and got those.
Holy turnaround batman. Now I was winning more than I was losing (barely but it was big to me).
Over my first 1.5 years (counting online poker only) i had blown about 8-10 deposits of 50 bucks so ~$500 . Suddenly after reading 2+2 and going through the books I had my 10th $50 turn into $1200 playing only Sit n Go's and MTT's playing fairly ABC
I decided that learning more is a must not an option so I decided to take another break while I strictly learned. I cashed out my 1200 and paid off a large part of my ever growing credit card debt (music industry money and sucking at poker are a terrible combo unless you're platinum with every record).
Fast forward 2 weeks after my cashout and Visa kills my account.
I have $0 and no credit card. I thought....what a perfect time to just grind my ass off in free rolls and see what comes out. Free rolls might be absolute Donkfests but I learned how to fold more. I got up to 14 bucks playing free rolls. 20-40 cents at a time. My goal was never to go for the win 5 minutes in but to always try to cash then play a freeroll within the freeroll. My point being free roll is the ultimate microlimit yet i still learned from this experience.
2 weeks ago I decided my next conquest has to be cash games. Tourneys have higher variance and no matter how great you are you are liable to get busted by a donkey sometimes and that's just the way it is.
I cashed in for another 50 2 weeks ago and took on .02/.04 within 5 days I had doubled my money to 100 bucks. At around 110 bucks I thought i'd try NL25. That first day i was at 150 by bedtime. The next 3 days I flew back down to 44 bucks mostly playing overconfident and failing to recognize that people with 4 buyin stacks that seem to fold every hand are not to be f'd with with marginal hands.
That was around monday. I took 2 days off to go over my hand histories. I noticed one nasty leak was that I simply let emotion get me on hands like AQ that missed the flop. I also C-bet flops that were called by 3 or more people where on the flop I had to lead cuz I was oop. I didn't call enough rivers. I played fearless with AQ and scared with JJ etc... Too much tournament mindset in a cash game was making me go busto. I also chased my losses not leaving NL25 when I went below 100.
Since wednesday I have played every day. I have not had a losing day since and I'm back to $92. These are all very small pathetic samples with very small pathetic amounts of money .However; my point being that every re-evaluation you make should either make you better or confirm that you're still playing well. If it doesn't you need to dig further and find those leaks.
I hope you don't quit playing poker. I also hope you don't think you can learn to be Auto-bot poker pro that knows what to do all the time and always wins cuz that doesn't exist.
I am a noob still, I make money but it's pathetic. In fact to confirm my noob status I paid for Poker Ace before I bought PokerTracker not knowing one needs the other. However one thing I can say for sure is every time I sat down and I asked "Why do I suck" I got better. Consequently every time I've grown a poker ego i got slammed back down to earth.
You say you experience your downswings when you begin to do well. that might be because your confidence grows beyond your means and you are ignoring that poker conscience inside you that says - don't play that hand that way-. I had this same problem.
My advice to you is the following
1. Don't give up , don't feel like you're going to get all this by next week either.
2. Don't move up in limits until you have way beyond a reasonable BR for the next limit . I'm talking 500 BB or more. I'm not moving up to NL10 until I have 350 bucks or more that's my new restriction.
3. Never let a bad beat tilt you. If you lose with AA and you were raising the [censored] out of the guy and he wins with 3-7 offsuit when he hits 2 pair on the river so be it. Next time you will have his whole entire stack. This can only make you happy when you see 7-3 shown down. You should be HAPPY to take awful beats. Taking awful beats means you were usually 1 card away from absolute perfection. Don't let missed flops that you raised c-bet and got re-raised on affect you , fold and move on. The monkeys at lower limits might make a play at you here and there but Ace high is not a winner usually.
4. don't place an emphasis on winning money from poker to have more money. Whenever i find myself in a game and thoughts of money start to creep in I feel like a bad decision is right around the corner. When you put X amount into your poker account you were essentially kissing that X amount goodbye. This does not mean go all in with 7-2 but you knew that. It just means don't concern yourself with how much you might lose, but how can you make the best read , the best bed or a good fold.
5. Understand the myriad of emotions you feel during the course of a poker game. They range from elated to depressed with everything in between including pure psychotic anger sometimes. Learn when each emotion will creep in, learn how to counter every single last one. You don't want to be angry and tilting just as much as you don't want to be Elated and so sure of yourself that you're rushing that you'd call anything. Even keel is the way to be.
6. Keep reading, keep posting, keep asking for support advice or hi-fives when you hit it big. Don't let your poker ego get bruised, don't let it come alive either.
7. If all else fails get into the lowest limit and play ABC This is by far the ugliest poker possible and doing it this way makes Donkeys sucking you out hurt even more but it IS profitable I promise you. Profits may be 8 cents an hour but they are profits none the less. You'll win 50 cents 11 times before you get stacked by a donkey for your 5 bucks and that is a 50 cent profit in the long run.
8. Don't play past your bedtime. Down 3 bucks on a 5 dollar table because some donk screwed you on the river? Starting to feel tired? Don't say i'll quit when i get back to 5.. you'll end up quitting at 1.25 at best that way. Just leave right then. Poker is about the long run not about the session.
9. Do not go into BBV and read brag posts and feel inadequate. I will bet my whole bankroll (my whopping 92 bucks that is making half this forum tremble at the thought of matching that bet) that every last winning player on 2+2 was a losing player at some point. You are going through the crappy reality of poker childhood. They say "it takes money to make money" well in poker it takes losing money to make money.
10. take it from Me. I have barely enough experience to even open my mouth about poker to anyone except my donkey friends. However I feel confident that you, like any other human, can learn this game and win money and have fun. If I think so and I'm barely profiting then why can't you? I'm not better than you in anything. We are the same.
Chuck - That is great advice, exactly how I have been feeling for the last few months, is EXACTLY what I am reading in your post. I know this was for the original poster, WCG< but thanks. I needed that.
Yours is not an unfamiliar story. Getting an adequate bankroll for your limits is key. It will help you ride out the variance that most definately occur esp in the micros. The bad beats will happen, one thing that I've found helps me withstand a series of losing sessions is to go back and review your hands. This IMHO is the biggest advantage to having PT. I go to my session stats and usually review my biggest losses AND my biggest wins. Make this a habit. What you should be looking for is if you are getting the money in with the best hand and charging the donks for drawing. In the micros, the key concepts I've found that helped me was charge the draws (they won't fold) and value bet, value bet, value bet. SSHE drives this concept home. Read it over and over. Play. Read it again. Play some more (I wore out my copy and had to get another!). Remeber, you won't and will never get rich at the levels but as you improve the long term will bgin to take over and, hopefully, your bankroll will grow slowly, almost too painfully slow at times. Don't be impatient. Enjoy the learning process and your growth as a poker player. Also, don't allow yourself to get discouraged by seeing others who claim to be winning players bragging about how easy it is, it's not. Holdem' is a difficult game and no one ever truly masters it. Being even a marginally winning player over a decent sample of hands is an accomplishment in and of itself. Keep at it. Keep posting and lurking. Responding to posts is also great but I've also printed off entire threads that I've found helpful and read them during my breaks at work. Hope this helps.
I just started and went through the frustration stage. I read SSHE, then went to the free limit games and proceeded to loose my $1000 starting play money twice. (maybe played a couple 100 hands or so). Then I went back and reread SSHE. I started trying less to play by the "rules" and think about EV and now I am doing a lot better. My (play money) bankroll is steadily increasing. Limit hold'em seems easier to start with.
Hey, sorry I'm late here. I hope that you're still checking in and reading the responses in your thread.
I skimmed through the earlier responses and you got a lot of great advice, as well as the chance to see that your story is hardly a unique one. Rather than go over the same things again, I wanted to bring up a few new points.
First of all, according the best estimates of pretty much everyone in the (online) poker world, and backed up at least partially by some information from poker sites, at least 90% of online players are overall losers. Now that includes everyone from the guy who lost $5 once & never came back to the problem gamblers who go through tens or even hundreds of thousands per year, but it's a very telling statistic that I think a lot of people don't realize when they come to 2+2. These forums are populated in very large part by the tiny minority of the online poker world--the consistent winning players. The regular posters are even more overwhelmingly members of that 10%, and this can make it seem to a new member like everyone else is winning at the game. That's simply not true. Don't get discouraged if you aren't living up to what seems to be the norm around here, and keep in mind that even if you are truly a marginal loser, that's still better than the majority of overall poker players. Especially among ones who have 15k hands under their belts.
Another thing I wanted to bring up is that you should get actively involved in the forums. Not just by posting the odd thread asking a question, or by posting this one, and certainly not just by reading other threads. Get involved in the discussions. I've read dozens of poker books, watched countless poker strategy programs on tv, and played somewhere around 500k online hands in the past 3 years, but by far I have learned more about poker by being wrong on here than I have from any other source, experience at the tables included. If you ask honest questions and listen with an open mind when others try to answer them, nobody is ever going to flame or laugh at you for asking them (okay, maybe that's not entirely true, but they shouldn't be & you'll quickly see veteran posters trying to be more helpful). Explore around the site & take a look at all the forums, and especially the ones pertaining to the games you play.
I saw one other poster recommend focusing entirely on one discipline of poker. I understand why he says that, and it's not bad advice, but I also don't necessarily think it's the best advice. Yes, you will probably work yourself up to being a consistent winner more quickly in that game by sticking to one game (assuming that you have a winning strategy to being with, but the advice you've gotten so far in this thread should help you in that regard), but in the long term I think that approach will stunt your growth as a poker player. I'm not saying to play a different game every single night, but don't be afraid to experiment here and there. Not only will the variety keep your interest going, but each game that you play will help to develop different skill sets, all of which will eventually become important if your goal is one day to be a good poker player. I know that when I first started out, I chose limit hold'em as my focus but also played no limit SnGs and MTTs from time to time, and I have no doubt whatsoever that this helped me to become a fairly successful online player since. It also definitely stoked my passion for the game, and still does.
Honestly, in reading your initial post in this thread, I have absolutely no doubt that you will succeed in becoming a solid, winning player. You have the right goals for the right reasons, and you seem to be extremely open-minded about improving. Most of all, you are being very honest in critiquing yourself, and not hiding behind things like bad luck or other player's ineptitude in explaining your losses. You absolutely have the right attitude to succeed, and you've definitely come to the right place for help.
Quote: Quick question to those stressing the importance of the book SSHE. Does this book have high value to all players or just limit players?
Excellant start for micro limit AND no-limit. I actually like Harrington I as a starting point too.
I play no-limit, first 6Max and now full ring. As far as NL books go, Little Green book is good. NLT&P is one of the bettter 'advanced' books. Funny to call it advanced as there are so many basic points covered. But I feel it is more advanced because it's not a cookbook; it requires some prior understanding AND experience at the tables IMHO.
Quote: Quick question to those stressing the importance of the book SSHE. Does this book have high value to all players or just limit players?
It's written specifically for & about limit hold'em, but I don't think it would hurt at all for a NL player to read it. I haven't read many NL books geared towards cash games, so I really couldn't recommend anything in that arena. The HOH series are great for tournament play.
Wow i didnt expect so many great responses, (Plus emails), and it really is great to see so much help.
As for a little bit of an update, soon after making that post, i won a 4/180 AND a satelite to the sunday warmup. (Earning like 400 or so) and started trying to play again. However, after losing some more money, I decided to make a critical decision and take out most of my winnings, and start back where i was pre winning all of those events.
Why would i shrink my bankroll like that? Simple, i dont feel that im good enough to be playing with it. I still want to get down to fundamentals, make good decisions, learn lessons from people, and build my way up slowly. I just had some real good fortune right when it seemed like things couldnt get worse.
Anyawy thanks for all of the responses, again, helping out noobs is what makes you guys so awesome, thanks for everything and ive been trying to be active in the micro stakes nl forums. See you guys around ; D.