Sunday, 6 March 2011

Building up my bankroll


This week has been very good pokerwise. I have been playing a lot, more than ever before actually. All of the days apart from yesterday have been positive, and I have a new record of best day ever: 17 buy-ins up! I'm only missing around $30 to move up in stakes, which is awesome and I should be able to do it in a couple of days unless I start running really bad. 

In case you're wondering, not all of the money in my bankroll came from my winnings at the $1.75 turbos. PokerStars has a pretty good system of getting money here and there, which ends up being really profitable if you use it correctly. And since I have my boyfriend to help me with that, I'm making the most out of it. Let's start with the first deposit bonus: you get 100% bonus of the amount you deposit for the first time, up to $600. You don't get it right away, but you unlock it slowly as you play. I would be playing a lot anyway, so it's not like I'm doing something extra to win it. An getting an extra $10 every couple of days is huge for someone playing the micro-stakes. Note however, that I completely ignore the $600 that is now into my account from my first deposit. I just pretend that it's not there and I make my calculations subtracting that amount. If I were to take it into account, I would have enough to play the $6.5s which is way out of my skill right now. The plan is to withdraw that $600 as soon as I have all the bonus unlocked.

Another way to get free money is the Stellar Rewards, which I mentionned in my previous post. Apart from that there's also the Battle of the plantets, where you just need to be a little lucky to make it into the top100 that gets paid. I think I made it during last week, although I can't be sure cause the results are still being calculated. Probably another $5 from there. Finally, there's the weekly SilverStar freeroll (well, it's not exactly a freeroll you need to pay 100 FPPs which is like the equivalent of $1). I played my first one yesterday. It had 5734 players and paid to top 1080. I finished 188th, getting $30. Not bad at all!

The amounts I mention may sound insignificant to some of you, but keep in mind that for now I am a micro-stakes player and if you sum it all up it represents a good part of my bankroll. I will keep posting about this subject in the future, cause I think it's helpful for new players like me.

Another win of the week was a sit'n'go that I played in my boyfriend's HomeGame, where I somehow managed to make it into the money. He was the one who killed me though, I went all-in with AJ from the SB and he called me with AT and got lucky. It would have been nice to stick around and eliminate him as he had a bounty on his head, but still, I am not complaining, I got my $9 and I'm happy with it :)

Finally, I'd like to share with you a funny hand from one of my sngs yesterday. One moment you're playing 8handed and then next thing you know, you're on the bubble... I know some of the players where extremely short, but still, not the kind of thing that happens everyday to see 5 people all-in:

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

SilverStar and Goals for March

Hi everyone!

Soooo... February is gone already! I had a cold for about a week, which slowed down my poker activities a bit. Apart from that, I also got a downswing (I think it was around -17 buy ins) that affected my mood and my will to play. During that period, I didn't seem to be able to win with any good hand. I dreaded kings for example. Everytime I had pocket kings I would lose, most of the times being all-in preflop and getting called by worse hands, which means that it was hardly my fault/missplay. But still. One day I counted getting kings 5 times out of which the only one I won was when I got a walk. Great.

When I was at my lowest, I stopped opening tables in the middle of a session cause I was feeling really bad for not making the money in the vast majority of the tournaments I had played that day and I went to the forums. I was reading threads like "longest time without winning" where players were basically comparing who had the biggest number of tournaments in a row without winning... I was pretty impressed with what I read and it did make me feel better to see that even good players happen to get really really unlucky at some point.

Variance is very hard to handle. Especially for new players. I mean, you know that luck is involved in this game, and logic tells you that it is natural to have good days and bad days. And of course, we all keep hearing stories of people that run awfully bad and got crushed here and there. But no matter how many stories you hear, nothing can really prepare a new player for when it happens to them. The first thing that comes to your mind is "Is it variance or am I just a bad player?". And the bad news is, you cannot get a straightforward answer. You just need to play more and more to find out, which is exactly what you DON'T want to do at that moment. The good news is, I'm pretty sure even good winning players ask themselves the same question from time to time when variance catches up with them. It just makes you doubt your skill, regardless of whether you are indeed skillful or not.

Anyway, losing really did make me question myself so apart from the days I was sick I also spend another week away from the tables studying. I reread Phil Shaw's "Secrets of Sit'n'Gos", and I must say that reading it for the second time felt like going through a different book. It definately helps to read the same book more than once cause you might find things that you missed the first time. I took lots of notes, and made new spreadsheets to help me while I'm playing. I noticed however, that after a week of study, I tend to use my spreadsheets far less than I did before. I m also halfway through Dusty Schmidt's "Treat your Poker like a business", which is a very inspirational book (even more so if you're having a downswing :P ) and it has a lot of good advice about everything related to poker that is not strategy and you normally don't find in poker books. A must have for anyone who wants to make a living or have a good additional income out of poker in my opinion.

I finished the month more or less break even, which is ok for a beginner I guess. That said, I do have one achievement: I made it to SilverStar! Considering I didn't play the full month, I'd say it was a pretty easy thing to do. What is not going to be easy is my goal for this month: GoldStar. It's going to be tough though. If calculations are correct, I need to play 8 hours per day, 6 days per week in order to make it to GoldStar. I'll keep playing the $1.75s since my bankroll and my level of skill do not allow anything else, but I will try to put in more volume comparing to last month. More specifically, the goal is to reach 4.000 VPPs, which is the last $10 milestone on PokerStars. After that, for an additional 1.000 VPPs you get $50! Their VIP Stellar Rewards system is pretty cool, if I manage to get to 5k VPPs in April the boost will be huge as $50 represents one fourth of my current bankroll. If all goes well, I might even be able to move up in stakes next month!

Finally, here's a little something I stumbled upon at the mall yesterday: The ultimate poker bracelet!

It has the ingredients of success:
- A red and a black bow to represent the two colors of suits.
- A rabbit for good luck
- A dice to keep variance at bay
- An ace for good cards
- A pearl for a rich bankroll
- A crown for first place finishes
- A club cause well, it is the prettiest of all four suits, right?

I'm taking my lucky charm bracelet for a test drive right after finishing this post. I'll let you all know how it went. LOL!

Have a great month of March!


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