Friday, 1 April 2011

Moving up, handling tilt and 9tabling

Hi everyone!

Shame on me, I have slightly abandoned this blog... I've had quite a few things to write about during the past month, but whenever I had some free time I'd rather spent it elsewhere and not in front of my computer screen. Sorry 'bout that, I'll try to squeeze all my news in this post!

First of all, as it was expected, I moved up to the $3.4s shortly after my last post. I reached 100 buy-ins to play that level and I had a positive ROI over the last 500 games at the $1.75s so I was ready for the change. Unfortunately, the $3.4s did not go so well for me. Here's the graph of March (which is also my lifetime graph when it comes to the $3.4s):

Not very nice, huh? I have been studying (even though not as much as I should) but I haven't been able to beat the level. Then again, the sample is not THAT big (my boyfriend says that 2k tournaments is a reasonable sample size and I've only got half of that) and I'm not insanely negative either. I'm losing something like 16 buy-ins which is not the end of the world and could be fixed relatively easy. 

As you can probably notice in the graph, I have 3 major downswings. My coach/boyfriend was looking at it and told me that whenever I lose, I lose big. And that is not just because of being unlucky. On the third downswing, I was losing around 48 buy-ins total and I wasn't taking it very well. Not well at all actually. André came to watch me play and after 2 minutes he was shouting at me "What are you doing?". My instant reply was "Whatever, I just want to go away from the computer". The thing is, up until the point I said that out loud, I hadn't even noticed I was tilting. I used to think that having downswings was either due to bad luck or due to lack of skill. It never occurred to me that it could be because I wasn't playing as well as I could even if overall I'm not a winning player at that level. I know it may sound like a simple thing, and I had heard about tilt before, but when I realized it was happening to me at the point where it could make me play far worse than what I usually do, it was like an epiphany to me.

That night, André gave me a book that had a big part dedicated to tilt. Reading that helped me rationalize my feelings and see that poker is also a psychological game not only in the sense of reading your opponenents but also in the sense of being able to read yourself. Which trust me, is harder than it seems to be. After that insightful reading, I went back to the tables the next day and I changed one more thing: I stopped checking my results while playing. I used to check them non-stop, but it ends up doing more harm than good. At least this way, if I'm running bad I'll only know how big the damage was AFTER I stop playing, and then I have plenty of time to feel bad about it without having the situation affect my game. By next day I will be cool again. All those changes happened around 900 games. And as you can see in the graph, I got a major upswing right after. Was it just luck? Obviously I was running above average, but I honestly don't think the good results came just because I got lucky. Two days after my worse poker day ever (-25 buy-ins) I got my best poker day ever (+23 buy-ins). You can make your own conclusions from that.

Another subject to discuss is the number of tables I play. When I wrote my previous post I was playing 6. One day, my coach/boyfriend comes into the room shortly after I started a session and takes the mouse from my hands. I thought he wanted to check something on the internet, so I let him. Next thing I know, he walks out of the room with a semi-evil smile on his lips and I have 3 more tables popping up on my screen!!! "Good luck" he says and closes the door behind him. I really felt like shouting at him, but I obviously didn't have time for that... I could barely manage 9tabling and after 5 minutes I had an awful headache that just wouldn't go away. My eyes were going back and forth trying to keep up with the action and I was finding it hard to do so, let alone think about what would be the best play in each situation. I felt like I was going crazy! I reduced to 8 tables and then to 7 thinking that if he came back in the room and accused me of not 9tabling as he obligated me to, I had plenty of objects like books, shoes etc. within my reach to throw at him. Fortunately for him, he didn't come back.

I realized however, that I could easily play 7 tables. So after a couple of days I moved to 8. And a couple of days after that I went up to 9. At 9 tables I always got a bit of a headache at first, but after some sessions that  went away. I'm playing 9 tables now, apart from the times when I have a disagreement with my TableNinja who probably has a bug and insists that I should be playing 10 tables even when I tell him to just open 9. And the worst thing is, I cannot throw anything at him. Which might also be a good thing I guess cause he's a Ninja and all, so I can see that going bad for me. :P

A big win of March as far as poker is concerned is that I did reach Goldstar status as I had planned. Yeay!!! I had to be more strict about my program than the previous month and I also played more hours, but I made it! I also made it to 4k VPPs so now I'm going after the first $50 VIP Stellar Reward! Cool!

And as March was coming to an end my coach/boyfriend was telling me that the plan for April would be to maintain my Goldstar status, beat the $3.4 level and move up. All is well that ends well, right? Well guess again!

We were having dinner the other night, when he was silent for a while, thinking. You know those peaceful moments before the storm? That's exactly what I'm talking about. Then he says "Ok, listen. Your goals for next month will be the following:

1) Move up and play the $6.5s.
2) Post 20 hands that you have troubles with on the forums each week.
3) Reach Platinum status.
4) Be able to 12table by the end of April."

After successfully managing to not choke on my food, I started laughing. LOL, lol, LOL and lol again. "I'm not joking he said, why are you laughing?". "I know", I replied, "I'm laughing because that's better than crying which would also be appropriate in this situation". I mean, come on! Ok, #4 is doable. #3 sounds like a lot, Platinum is 7500 VPPs, but it's reasonable since we're talking about one level higher so I'll be getting more VPPs per tourney. #2 is where it gets hard though, because it takes me looooooots of time to go through my hand histories and think about all my plays and what could have gone wrong until I find some that I can't figure out by myself. And even after I do find some hands, it takes me more time to prepare a post with questions and a replayer video etc etc. As if it wasn't enough that I'll need to play more hours to reach Platinum, I'll need to increase my studying time as well! As for #1? OMG, I don't know what he was thinking. Maybe he wasn't thinking and it has to do with the phases of the moon or something... I mean, a)I'm losing at the current level I'm at and b) I don't have 100 buy-ins for the $6.5s. I only have 73 to be exact. But he made it more than clear that I have no saying on this matter, so starting from today, you'll be seeing me at the $6.5s.

Wish me luck, cause I'll need it! :P

P.S.: Sorry for the humongous post, I had a whole month to catch up with you! Oh, and happy April Fool's day!


  1. Hey, guess what! Your coach/boyfriend (you should get an acronym for that!) might not be wrong when he says that you should move up to the $6.50s. Check out this guy's entrance at his blog:
    Focus on the part at which he says "I decided to stop playing micro stake games. I just couldn't take it anymore. Plus, the results should have been much better - if I didn't lose every key hand." and... "I went back to low stake games and with >100% roi on ave. stake $4 for the day, I'll take it.".

    I bet you can barely wait to move up now haha gl with your games!

  2. Congratulations on Goldstar!
    I bet you read "The Poker Mindset" for tilt issues? It is a fantastic book, it was my 3rd poker book that I bought last year. It feels good to review it.
    I think at the $6,50 you will play against better players who knows ICM and they wont call you so light when you shove on the button or on the SB.
    Of course, you will find many players who don't have a clue about prize pool equity.
    Best of luck in April, I still going to put more volume on the micro stakes but I hope to catch you latter this year!
    Good luck and skill and best regarding to André!

  3. hello!!

    crtz on the blogue kat.hope u can reach all ur goals pokerwise!!and take all advantage u can on ur coach!!ehehe:)

    keep us posted!!best regards

  4. Hi Katerina. I dont understand a thing that picture is from holdem manager right ? my graph of hm say tourneys and dollares and yours said games played and total profit.. can i change that ? and the colour of the line ? thanks and gl

  5. Hi katerina, i've read your blog and u encourage me to create my own blog and to start from de begining in poker.

    I will post my results to.

    add my blog to your blogroll please

    PS: the blog is in portuguese, hope u can understand some portuguese by now

  6. @Xplicit: Interesting blog, I feel what the guy means when he says what you quoted. So far I'm running better at the $6.5s than I was at the $3.4s but I've only been playing them for 3 days so it's too soon to tell...

    @Luis: The book I was referring to is “Your Worst Poker Enemy” by Alan N.Schoonmaker, Ph.D. The author is a psychologist AND a poker player so it's as much of an insight to the psychology of a poker player as you can get. Good luck to you too, hope to see you at the $6.5s soon!

    @nezzi77: Thanx for the kind words! I'm glad you liked my blog!

    @JoaoFonseca: That graph is from sharkscope, not holdem manager, but I don't undertand why you would want to change tourneys into games played and dollars into total profit... No matter what the words, both graphs show the exact same thing. Anyway, I think that also covers why the colour of the line is different. Good luck to you too!

    @pokericks: It's good to hear that my blog has been an inspiration to someone, I've added your blog and I'll be looking forward to reading the adventures of another new player like me!

  7. Amazing reading Katerina. Awesome work u are doing, I'm astonished to say the least...Obviously the flow of every line, every word is totally different from any other poker blog I've ever read and I mean this is the most positive way I can :)

    I wish u the best of successes on your quest!

    Just one last question, since u r striking to move up to the $6's have u considered first to play some of the super-turbos $5's at Fulltilt (u also can get some rakeback). I know that Andre is a sponsored player at Stars, but I imagine that u would find much more interesting the ST's $5's.

    best of luck

  8. hello

    I follow your blog since the beginning and really is a great help to us, the low Staks, we have to reach our goal.

    Recently, inspired by you, also decided to tell some of my poker experience. If able to add ...


    PS: I read well in English, but writing is to forget. So this was translated in google

  9. @Joana: Thank you very very much for your nice comment! About the tournaments, like you said, Andre is sponsored by PokerStars, not me, so I'm free to play at whatever site I want. However, I chose to play on PokerStars for 2 reasons: first, it has the biggest traffic you can get and secondly, I have an expert to help me get full advantage of their points/promotions etc. Wouldn't want to spend much time on that now that I should be focusing on learning! Apart from all that, I think it goes for every site that the more volume you put in, the more advantages you have. I started playing on PokerStars, so at this point I would probably be losing if I moved to some other site and start playing here and there. Thanx for the suggestion though!

    @GeoKing13: Thank you for your support! I added your blog and will be expecting news from your poker life soon! Good luck!
    P.S.: What you feel about english, I feel about portuguese... So no worries! :P

  10. Hi katerina

    Congrats for your achieved PS status!

    What are y playing? turbo? hyper turbo? Or normal sng(no turbo) ?

    I only play normal sng´s . I feel that hyper turbos are kind of lottery...but i know im wrong

    Its hard to get a strategy when blinds increase so fast....

    i also know that ICM is the secret for hyper turbos, but its hard to find info´s,forum about that kind of tournaments.

    Do y have any tip? (book ,forum etc)

    Thanks and the best luck on the tables!


  11. @Joao TT: I'm playing the turbos. They feel different if you're used to playing the standard sitngos, but the strategy is not different. You just get to see more high blind play, that's all. There are no special books for the (hyper)turbos, at least not that I know of, but as I said before the strategy is pretty much the same. Just get a regular sitngo book and focus more on improving your game when the blinds are high. Good luck!


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