Monday, June 26, 2006

Where am I?

Right now I feel a bit lost as a poker player. The real question is, am I any good or not? I haven't a clue, and with my trip to Vegas for the blogger gathering and WSOP gawking, it's been on my mind a lot. I've been playing for over a year now, shouldn't I be better than this by now?

Taking stock --

Cash games: I can grind a slight but steady profit at $50 buyin NLHE full ring. The few times recently I have tried $100 tables have lost me a good chunk of money and put doubts in my head. I still show a reasonable profit on the $2/$4 Bad Beat Jackpot tables on Party, but my overall stats for limit holdem, even at $1/$2, show me a losing player.

SNGs: My impression is that I have done all right in single-table SNGs. I haven't looked at my stats in PokerTracker to confirm this - I suppose that would be the next step. If I am doing well, I should play more of them and try buying into some larger ones to move up.

Tournaments: Awful. Anything larger than one or two table tournaments I have always busted out well before the money. I don't think I have the patience for it. In the local live tournaments, usually no more than 2-3 tables, I have won a few times. Over the course of a year of play, it's not enough to feel like more than rudimentary play and random chance.

I'm ready to be dead money at the blogger tournament in Vegas. My expectations are way low - if I can outlast, say, 20% of the field I will be happy.

But other games in Vegas have me a bit spooked. One of the JPPA players, who I believe goes by the handle "Shin", chatted with me for a while on Friday night about the WSOP. He's headed out to Vegas about the same period I'll be there, so was checking if I wanted to get into some of the same tournaments as he'd be playing in. One he's looking at is the Orleans Open, though he suggested some other small tournaments as well.

Me: "I don't know.... I don't do very well in tournaments..."

Shin looked momentarily surprised, which gave my ego a brief boost. "You should think about it. The level of players in these tournaments is pretty low. Definitely compared to here," he added, indicating the JPPA.

It was food for thought. Am I really that bad? Some of the players at the JPPA seem to be pretty damn good (though it is hard for me to tell how good), so it's a solid training ground. Maybe Shin is right.

On Friday night, as I mentioned, I made it to 6th place out of 28, hanging in there as a short stack from about 12th place. Not too bad. And a couple weeks ago at Duke I showed up late and played in their TTOS limit mixed game (two rounds of holdem, one round of Omaha-8 and one round of Stud-8) and finished 6th out of 20 players or so. Just out of the "money", so I was bubble boy. Still, not too bad considering that Omaha and Stud are games that I know the rules to and that's about it.

Celica-san was there that Friday night, so we talked for a bit before the TTOS game started up. She asked if I was going to play more of the Saturday "Straddle Cup" games at the JPPA. Me: "I don't know... I haven't been playing very well lately."

She also gave me a look, this time somewhere in between surprise and annoyance at my display of modesty. "You just won that Straddle Cup game, what, two weeks ago?"

Me: "Uh... yeah. I mean, since then, you know?"

Don't always believe the things you tell yourself.


Ryan said...

Sounds like you need PokerTracker. It's well worth whatever they're charging for it now. Use it, find the holes in your game. Till then, come on up north sometime for our homegame. ;)

James said...

I have PokerTracker and it has helped immensely, but I still have a lot to learn about how to use it, and how to use it to improve.

If I'm up in Misawa area for some reason I'll look you guys up, but if I figure in the cost of a plane ticket as well as what I expect I'd lose as the imported sucker, hell, I might as well just spring for a trip to Vegas! ;)

Ryan said...

Touche`. E-mail me and I'll help you out with PokerTracker today. I have a guide you'll find extremely helpful I think. mcc1mil(at)gmail.

Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival could bring you up here, but if not, you may have a few of us come down to check out the JPPA. Take care.