Monday, 2 May 2011

My own Black Friday

So... Turns out, the "Black Friday" effect is not just something that can only happen to the whole poker community, it's actually something you can achieve on a personal level in the comfort of your house! If you are interested to know how to create a disastrous situation or if you are curious about how I made it happen, keep reading on.

It all started a nice Friday afternoon two days ago. I just needed to play around 8 more hours to achieve Platinum status on PokerStars. That means that I couldn't really stop playing until I actually made it to Platinum cause the month was nearly over, but that's no biggie, right? WRONG! I could go on and on trying to bring this to you slowly, explaining that when we decide to play and not stop until a certain point, ugly things can happen blah blah blah... But even then, you wouldn't really be mentally prepared for what comes next, I'll just cut to it:

Are you shocked? So am I. I mean, I sort of saw it coming, but that didn't take away from my (nasty) surprise when my session was over. And to those of you still doubting, yes, this IS a graph from one single day. One very, very black Friday.

As I said in my last post, I moved up to the $16s. It was obvious to me from the start that I was a losing player in those, but I didn't worry too much cause I thought I would get better soon, as I did at the previous levels. However, that did not happen and I kept on losing. I wasn't losing big, but I was losing steadily. Until all hell broke loose. If you think that after starting to lose that day, I started tilting and that's why things went from bad to worse, let me tell you that I wasn't. I was frustrated, yes, but I was playing more or less my normal game so the results are very much deserved.

Why did this happen? I have asked myself that question several times, and I have three reasons why.

A) I did not study enough. In the whole month, I have studied 10 hours or so, which is very little for a new player.
B) I did not play as many hours as I was planning on the beginning of the month. Basically, all my calculations were based on the $6.5s that give 2.75 VPPs. When I unexpectedly moved up, I was getting 5.5 VPPs per tournament, so I could reach Platinum faster. In my head, that translated as extra free time which should NOT have been the case.
C) The players actually play poker. Seriously, this is the first level where I feel the whole thing has actually gotten sophisticated. There are of course, the goofy players who will just do whatever to spread their money on the tables, but the regulars... Oh. My. God. They are crushing me. Destroying me. Squeezing every cent out of my bankroll. I can almost see them rubbing their hands together and smiling  gleefully when they see me at the tables, thinking "The mega-fish is back!" Ok, that's enough, I think you got my point already. If you think I'm overreacting, let me tell you this: André was playing those stakes around 3 years ago, and he recognized some of the regulars that I was playing against. Apart from that, I randomly sharkscoped some familiar nicknames the other day, and they were both on the leaderboards of 2010's total profit at those stakes. They are just out of my league and outplay me badly. Now one could argue that if they haven't moved up to the $27s then that means they're not that great. I don't care what reasons they had not to move up, or if they are losing at the next level. What I care about is that they are crushing this one, me included.

To sum up, when I started playing on my own Black Friday, I had a $1158 starting bankroll, and I managed to lose more than half of it. Overall at the $16s, I have lost $870 or 55 buy-ins and have an ROI of -7%. Great. But let's review the goals I set for the month that passed.

1) Move up and play the $6.5s. 
CHECKNo further explanation to this one, I did actually surpass my goal, even though it did not end nicely.

2) Post 20 hands that you have troubles with on the forums each week. FAILURETo be honest, I never really believed I would get this one. To my defense, I had some problems with my subcription on PXF so half of the month I couldn't access the forum at all. When I got it fixed I did post some hands, but it wasn't even close to what was needed for this goal. It just takes too much time to post that many hands on a weekly basis.

3) Reach Platinum status. CHECKYes, I have four little stars next to my avatar now, congrats to me. But hey, I payed $870 for it so doesn't feel like there's a reason for me to celebrate, really.

4) Be able to 12table by the end of April. CHECKI was 12tabling practically all through the month of april, even though at the end I stayed away from the tables for a couple of days (cause I had this "extra" free time, right?), so I grew out of it and André told me to reduce to 9. I consider this goal achieved though, cause I am able to play 12 tables now, I just need a couple of days to get the hang of it again.

Even though I did achieve 3 out of 4 goals I set for this month, I feel quite defeated. I lost a huge chunk of my bankroll and I will have to move down. To be honest, after that last session I was debating with myself whether I should quit poker or not. I don't want to sound arrogant, but so far in my life all the goals I have set for myself, no matter how modest or big, I have achieved them. I feel like if I put my mind to it, I'll make it happen. And that's the way it has been until now. But after last Friday, I just felt really demotivated and was thinking that hey, maybe this game is not for everyone afterall. At least not for me. Then I spent a day with friends, taking my mind completely away from poker stuff and today I reviewed the whole situation more calmly. I'm not giving up at the first bump of the road.

I would go on with my goals for May, but this text is getting too big again, so I'll leave that for tomorrow's update. And since this post has been a bit sad so far, I'll leave you with something a bit more cheerful...

Last week, André was invited by Pedro Guedes to the launch party of a new collection of sunglasses by the Guedes brothers and Multiopticas. The party was nice, and we got to try the new sunglasses as you can see in the picture above. They had some pretty cool designs!

That's all for now folks! I'll talk to you soon!


  1. Jen Harman says that she moved up to the big game many, many times before she actually was able to win there. She would lose, drop to a smaller game, win, go back to the big game, lose and repeat the cycle again. Don't beat yourself up; these things happen. Keep working at your game and don't beat yourself up over it.

  2. One objective you should have is to decrease the size of your posts,looool

    They are good,very good,but they are also HUGE..

    Anyway,about poker,3 out of 4 goals,it's really good,and why do you post hands on foruns,when you have one of the best player in the world,if not the best,right next to you??? I mean,get him to see your hands,learn from the best

    about that DOWNSWING or that,fish move you say you did,it hurts,very much,it's not just the money,it's your head,it starts to wounder,but everybody does,so the important thing is to get focus and try to improve EVEN MORE......

    I hope I see a much better graph next time

    As always,it's always a pleasure to read your blog

    Good luck at the tables

  3. that's it. Don't give up at first bump.

    in few weeks u'r the one crushing those regulars.

    gl for this month.

  4. Hi Katerina!
    Sorry for the downswing, it is a though thing. I do not want to sound unfriendly but you should always have a good bankroll management, always.

    It is more important to play a buy-in level according to our bankroll and crush that level than to just go after some VIP level.

    Firs things first, and bankroll management should always be your priority, is far more important than achieving a VIP level. VIP level should be a consequence of our volume play and dedication to the game, not a goal itself (unless you can afford it and go for SNE ;)).

    On 9 man turbos the pros are saying that at least 100 buy-ins is desirable, if you play for a living possibly 200 buy-ins.

    Again Katerin, I do not want to sound unfriendly, just writing this to help you and because you are a smart and long term winning player, I know that you will turn things around.

    By the way, the player "sippin_criss" is a giant master on the turbos 15s.

    Good luck and skill, and remember, bankroll management is the key to long term sucess.

  5. @CBond: It just feels so bad to be forced to take a step back! But you are right, we need to keep trying again and again. Thanx for stopping by!

    @mrjonnhy: André does answer my occasional questions and we do talk about my poker evolution overall, but apart from that he's very busy with his poker career and he needs some free time away from poker as well. So I don't bug him with my questions non stop (which would be the case if I was relying just on him to improve my game). On a daily basis, I try to improve like everyone else: posting hands, watching videos etc. In the end, no one can do that for you. No matter how much help you get from others, it's eventually up to you whether you improve or not. At least that's my opinion. Thank you for your nice comment and good luck to you too!

    @pokericks: I hope so! Good luck to you too for your monthly goals!

    @Luis: Thank you for your concern, but I think that you misunderstood. First of all, when I moved up to the $16s I don't think I mentioned here what my bankroll was. In any case, it was around 75 buy-ins. Even though it's not the ideal 100, it is also far from being what we'd call bad bankroll managment. Secondly, going after Platinum was a goal that I set in the beginning of the month, taking all bankroll considerations into account. I do agree with you that bankroll managment is a priority, that's why I would give up on Platinum if I was forced to moved down earlier. Fortunately for me, however, dropping 100 buy-ins for the previous level (which is where I would move down) and reaching Platinum happened at more or less the same time. Where I disagree with you is that a VIP level should be a result of our dedication to the game and not a goal itself. If it were the case and no planning was involved there would be none or very few players reaching Supernova and Supernova Elite. Apart from that, VIP Status offers privileges that eventually translate into money and therefore should be included in bankroll management and personal goals. I don't think my bankroll management was erratic, but if you still disagree, I'd be happy to discuss it further. After all, that's part of what the blog is all about! :)

  6. Hi Katerina, I am sure that I exaggerate a little bit when I said that VIP level shouldn't be a goal. I think you right, it is something very beneficial for us and only Pokerstars has that.
    What I mean is we should not put VIP level quest before bankroll management, that's all.
    Anyway, I have my own goals and definitely climb the VIP stairs is one of my goals too.
    So, keep up the good work!

  7. Add me Skype

    Sick life =P

  8. better luck next SNG's :)

  9. Hi Katerina!
    Do you think is possible to have a chat on skype? I would like to clarify some things about my post, if you don't mine. I promise I will be kind :)
    My Skype name is: lmagalhaes78.
    I have some minutes to chat tomorrow at 19h30.

  10. @Filipe: Done!
    @Miguel: Thanx, good luck 2u2!
    @Luis: I added you, although I don't think I'll be available tomorrow at the time you specified.


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