Tuesday, September 20, 2005

General Update

Nothing at all topical, but a few things to note...

If you get a chance, you should definitely pick up a copy of The Tao of Poker, for only 10 bucks. You might know of those little "our daily bread" books that Christians like to read... well this book is kinda like that: 285 little "rules" that seriously, if a player could master any 5 of, he or she would a pretty good player. It's a great little thing to have handy when you're feeling stuck and to get some inspiration from and think about things differently.

On the live game front, the league that I've become the unofficial director of wrapped up it's inaugural 4 month "season" at the end of August... and the Fall season is underway. Thankfully we've so far been able to dodge the "too many players" bullet, keeping our players on two tables, with a good group of regulars. It's definitely interesting playing with a regular group on a consistent basis, as the observant player can and does surely begin to get some good reads/tendencies down. This is certainly an area that I've been doing well in... sometimes splashing around more chips than is prudent, or making calls when I know I'm beat just to gain information when I notice a behavior that I find interesting in another player. At some point I'm sure this information will come in handy.

As well, a lot of contacts for other games have popped up. I managed to take second place tonight in a 20 player tourney in a league patterned after ours, and have met some interesting local players as well. Having games available to attend is always good, as well as meeting local players who just might want a nice table.

I'm finally getting rolling on the custom table-making business/hobby/excuse to buy more tools, and though somewhat measured in a realistic sense, I think there are definitely buyers out there for one-of-a-kind tables. We shall see how my marketing ideas pan out.

On the online play front, I've been doing very well at the micro-limits that my bankroll will support right now, and as I have said before, growing a lot as a player in the process. I've more than tripled my paltry stake, finding a *very* comfortable home at the shorthanded .05/.10 tables on PokerStars... with my biggest downticks coming from hitting the $5 SNGs. Something that I used to feel was my specialty (though with arguably measured success) rarely seems to feel comfortable anymore. I do well as a live tournament player, and surely the growth I've encountered in NL cash game play carries over to an extent, but I find myself rarely finishing ITM, and it can be quite trying to play for an hour and lose the amount you know you may have likely won if you had spent that hour playing cash games. Finishing 2 out of 3 sessions "up", and sometimes way holy-multiple-buy-ins "up" is much more enticing.

I'll leave you with a quote from The Tao of Poker, which is easily the thing that I've improved the most on in the last 3 months:

Rule 14: Don't pick the best hands to play--pick your spots.
Look for the right combination of probability, weakness, hesitation (by opponents), body language, position, past tendencies, who is "short-stacked", and your hand's value in the overall scheme of things. Look for all of these things and then play. This is called "picking your spots." Less skilled players simple "wait for a good hand." This is something quite different. The picking-your-spots approach considers all things before making a play. It is the one used by successful top players.

I think it's pretty easy to understand concepts like position, or stack sizes, or the relative value of starting hands. Any one or two of these things, for most serious players, can easily be considered and put into practice on a regular basis, but the real success as a poker player comes when you can start to (almost subconsciously) consider everything, weed out the inessential or negligible factors, prioritize the rest, and make truly good decisions.