Saturday, July 30, 2005

Micro Limit NL

So with most of my previous bankroll tied up elsewhere at the moment, I've been filling my limited online poker time with some shorthanded .01/.02 NL at Poker Stars. Yeah, I know, eww. It might be more profitable to go pick up aluminum cans along the highway, right?

At first I thought "eh, what the hell", as these micro limit tables were really all I could muster up the bank to play at for the time being. Quite surprisingly, I've been having a blast though, and learning a lot... not so much about *the* game, but about *my* game.

I think a lot of my previous poker time spent at much higher stakes tables (with decidedly mixed results), was more a result of me having the bank for it, and not so much the skills and fundamentals needed for consistent profit. Playing at these ridiculously low stakes amongst a player pool dominated by inexperienced players and outright donkeys, is, with apologies for the pun/cliche, like shooting fish in a barrel. And that can be one hell of a confidence booster.

Out of 13 sessions, 12 have been positive, and I've nearly doubled the measly $50 I started with. Sure, I'm taking this with a grain of salt... I mean, if I can't win here, where exactly do I expect to? But that's also becoming exactly the point for me... I'm playing where I can expect to win, and within my means. Having so little money available for play is forcing me to really adopt a disciplined bankroll strategy: play where you know you can win, grind it out and build the roll until you can safely move up. If you move up, set a stop loss limit where you'll move back down if things go bad. Such basic stuff... but things that I've not always been disciplined enough to follow.

Having 12 of 13 winning sessions is screaming for me to jump up to .05/.10, but I'm determined to do this thing right, grind it out, play the "nothing cute, thanks for the good pot odds, here have some bad ones" showdown poker. And really, playing at these levels, and focusing on just making good decision after good decision, is exactly what my game needs. It's a humbling experience as a poker player to admit that you lack discipline, and that's exactly what I'm saying here. I chase too much relying on implied odds in situations where there are no implied odds... I get too cute against players who aren't paying attention... I make stellar bluffs that no decent player would call, but I make them against less than decent players. I push and drive and try to steam right over the game at times. I sometimes think just because I know more about the game than an opponent, that I will automatically beat him. At least I did these things until recently.

Sometime soon I should have the 15-20 buy-ins needed to play .05/.10, and hopefully I can work my way up the stakes from there to the quarter/half tables that I used to call home.