Well, this isn't exactly what I'd be hoping to title this week's update. During the past week, I've been on the worst run of my admittedly brief poker career. A run so bad and so quick I can't come up with a metaphor for it despite the fact I've been trying to for the better part of a day. But we're not there yet.
The week started off pretty solid. I've been busy at work but I was still spending a good amount of time studying. I've spent a ton of time working on my preflop understanding to quite good results. While three weeks ago I just kind of assumed I played preflop almost like a solver would and left it at that, I now know that in the vast majority of simple spots I am. I've started learning what frequencies I should approach borderline hands with and randomizing, which I think is a good development in my game. I've discovered I’ve been undervaluing suited kings, over three betting from the BB, and overvaluing off-suit wheel aces. I definitely wanna keep up with the flashcards this week and use more of GTO Wizard's trainer. I've found it really helpful.
The biggest victory of this week, unquestionably, was the fact that I've managed to jerry-rig a way for PokerTracker to actually accurately track my results. Despite my best efforts, importing the hands live seems like it just won't work. Maybe once PT4 updates that'll be a possibility, but the support team has confirmed to me that the current version of the software just won't be able to grab Ignition hands in real-time with a 100 percent hit rate. However, I did discover that Ignition makes it pretty easy to download the raw hand history files (if you know where to look).
My plan was to try importing the files straight into PT4 to see if it could record them all. I'll spare you the incredibly boring story which consists of me yelling at a computer screen, a friend making the astute observation that the thing about poker that causes me to tilt is the software, not the game, and a professional engineer spending half an hour clicking through my file structure, but ultimately I managed to open Ignition, download the raw files, and import them successfully. The only loss in this saga was in making this system work I accidentally deleted the hand history files of every hand I had played up until that point, so my database is now starting over from zero. But taking into account the literal double-digit number of hours I've spent trying to fix this, I will so take it.
While I wish the fact I can now get accurate poker tracker graphs was the headline of the week, the 16 buy-in downswing kind of has to be. I played one long session Thursday and despite it being profitable I wasn't too happy with how I played. I thought I was too aggressive and benefited from some incredibly soft opponents.
With a good amount of free time opening up on the weekend, I dug in and sat down to play some long sessions. Looking back, while definitely not mistake-free, I think I played some really solid poker. I incorporated what I've learned about pre-flop as well as a bunch of post-flop concepts I've been studying. I think I played a lot closer to GTO than I have been. The only problem was I could not win a pot.
Every time I was all in preflop, I lost. Queens lost to Jacks. Jacks lost to Queens. Aces lost to Ace five suited. Ace King suited lost to Kings, I think twice. It was brutal. Almost every time I made the second or third nuts, all the money went in and my opponent had the one hand better. The second nut boat got beaten by the nut boat. Nut flush gets beaten by a boat.
It felt like there was nothing I could do. I wasn't tilting, I didn't think I was playing badly or differently, but nonetheless, money was flying out of my account. A bankroll I had been proud to build almost entirely evaporated. A few days removed now it certainly still stings, but honestly not too bad. I feel more excited to play than ever, and my drive to study has gone nowhere. There's something in me that's convinced I'll keep learning and become better than ever.
This week I have a lot going on with the start of school and some unfortunate circumstances have led to my having to couch surf for the week (If you take anything from this post, please dear god let it be that bed bugs are no joke and exterminators take a while to schedule). That being said, I don't want to set any specific volume goals. I do however want to make sure I spend a lot of time studying in ways that matter.
So, I have one simple goal:
-Log 10 hours of quality study time
I also realize last week I wrote I wanted to avoid posting the update late Monday night. Well, I guess I succeeded in that I've gotten this up Tuesday afternoon. Shoot. Next week, I'll do better, for realzies this time.
Sept. 26, 2023 | 6:48 p.m.
Well. It's been quite the week. I played my biggest online pot ever, played my first ever 1,000 hand day, made my first flashcards, and then too often forgot exactly what was on said flashcards. I interacted with Poker Tracker support more often than my own family (sad but I think literally true) and discovered I know basically every word to Ship Wrek's entire discography (granted, being EDM music there aren't many). Some buddies also wanted to go to the casino a couple of times this week so I managed to play two live sessions as well.
I accomplished some but not all of my goals and definitely hope to do better next week. I was on a great pace by Thursday but the weekend turned out to be busier than expected so I didn't get everything done. I just barely made my volume goal and didn't get to study as much as I hoped.
One of the biggest things I've learned this week is my preflop knowledge isn't nearly as good as I thought it was. I sorta assumed that because preflop is simpler than a lot of other parts of the game and I had studied it somewhat I basically had no room to improve. This, of course, was hilariously wrong (I mean who knew that when you three bet with Jacks in a blind and get 4 bet from late position solver likes to pure shove???) I think I've been calling three bets far too often, opening hands I really shouldn't (A2o) and folding hands I really shouldn't (KJo).
Another thing is I haven't been totally happy with my level of focus during my sessions. Especially during longer pushes I've noticed myself making a decision too quickly or missing an important thing like my opponent's stack size. Even worse, I live with a bunch of friends lots of whom play and will sometimes come and watch parts of my sessions. While I really enjoy the company, I did have an entire hour-long conversation today about a friend's job and family while playing four tables. I'm sure that didn't translate into my best poker.
On the study side, I didn't watch as many RIO videos as I'd hoped but I crushed it on the flashcards. I find them an incredibly useful way to improve and wanna increase the amount of time I spend making and reviewing them this week. The highlight of my week came when I encountered a weird spot but realized I had seen something incredibly similar in my flashcards, was able to make the right play, and got paid off by stacking someone. It was an amazing feeling because without reviewing the similar spot I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to come to the right decision. It really made me feel like I was improving.
The other dominant poker narrative in my life this week was my battle with PT4, which for the sake of conciseness I'll spare you the gory details of (I honestly may make an entire separate post about it). Long story short, PT4 only tracks 90-something percent of the hands I play, which has led to some pretty epic disparities in what it thinks happened during my sessions and what my bank account knows happened. Despite my best efforts, and a lot of help from the nice people at Poker Tracker, there doesn't seem to be much I can do. So sadly I don't have cool graphs to post here. What I'm gonna do about this in the long term I still haven't fully decided.
This week I wanna really drill the flashcard study and focus more on shoring up my preflop game. I think focused study time should be my number one priority so my goals are as follows.
-Play 5000 hands
-Create and study 100 flashcards
-Write in my session log each day
-Watch 3 RIO videos while taking notes
-Respond intelligently to 5 RIO threads
-Update this thread next Monday (and maybe don't wait until almost midnight to do it)
Also, for those curious about how the bankrolls holding up, I have been keeping track.
Sept. 19, 2023 | 6:56 a.m.
When I'm drilling in GTO Wizard and get a spot wrong I'll take a screenshot of the spot and the solution and make them the front and back of a flashcard. I then can go through spots I've missed. Freenachos has made some really great videos explaining how to use flashcards, I got the idea from him
Sept. 13, 2023 | 9:35 p.m.
About a year ago I started playing poker in a house game with some friends. I was terrible back then, but luckily we all were. It was a blast. Slowly I started to get more fascinated with the game, why some nights I felt like I couldn't lose and some I couldn't win. Without even really noticing it, I began to take poker more seriously. About 3 months ago I started playing online. About 1 month I got a RIO membership and started watching videos. About 1 week ago I started studying with a solver and used my winnings to buy Poker Tracker 4.
I'm 21, about to be a senior in college, and have no idea what the rest of my life is going to look like. I'm not sure if I have the talent to be a high-stakes poker player. Even if I do, I'm not sure I'm disciplined enough to get there. The one thing the last year has taught me is I want to find out. Through a mixture of live play at my local casino, a couple of good tournament results, and cash games I've built my bankroll to a little over 1000. I think it's enough for me to take a real shot at beating Ignition 50NL over a legit sample.
So, in order to be accountable to myself, every Monday I'm going to post an update to this thread about how I'm doing, how my week went, and what my goals for the next week are. So, here are my goals for the next week:
-Play 5,000 hands
-Watch 5 RIO videos
-Respond intelligently to 5 RIO threads
-Create 20 flashcards through solver study and review them before sessions
-Write in my session notebook before and after each session
-Update this thread next Monday
Sept. 11, 2023 | 8:33 p.m.
I ran the spot and I think on these boards you could simplify to a range check and not lose too much EV. If you are going to c bet, the solver likes smaller sizing with AQo. Not sure why, but If I were to guess it probably has something to do with the fact it wants to bet all your top pair small (except for AK).
As played, when you block the nut flush draws the solver likes to pure check the turn with AQo. When you don't, you can incorporate some jams.