Sunday, November 2, 2008

Coaching

I've decided to pay for private coaching, to speed up my learning curve a bit and make me prepared for 2/4 and 3/6 (and, maybe just maybe even 5/10) in 2009. The coach is Alan "Dixon" Jackson from Stoxpoker, and I'll document the experience as best I can.

Before we get started, he has requested that I send him a quick bio where I include info about what I want out of poker and spots that make me uncomfortable. This is what I sent him:

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About me
I'm 31, live in Linköping, Sweden, married to Lori since a little over a year back and we have a baby on the way which is exciting but nerve-wrecking. I work for a small company (about 30 people) who develop software for set top boxes (digital TV).


Playing poker
I first started playing poker with some friends in high school. Obviously had no idea what we were doing, and playing no-limit poker without table stakes is clearly lunacy. But the bug bit me and so when playing poker online became available, I jumped at it. Paradise Poker, specifically. I bought in for $50, lost it quickly and then decided that there were more fun computer games out there for me to play, and I got stuck with EverQuest for a few years.

In the summer of 2005 I was travelling in business quite a bit and wanted something to do while sitting in hotel rooms in various cities in the world, and decided that online poker would be a good choice since it required so little in terms of network connection and computer hardware; it would have been more difficult for me to install and run World of Warcraft or some other high-graphics game on my work laptop. So I went with poker, and started looking around for tips on how to play on the web.

Found a site called Cardschat.com, read some of their articles, registered on the forum and got involved in discussion. I very quickly appreciated the theory behind poker, and decided to read all the poker books I could get my hands on. Went through Hold 'em for Advanced Players, Theory of Poker, and essentially started to order everything 2+2 had published. I played limit hold 'em, starting at the micro limits and moved up from there.

I could never play very much poker because of my job and other commitments, but I studied it carefully and tried to make the most of my time spent playing. I climbed the limits up to $5/$10 and some $10/$20 but at that point I was outmatched and very ill prepared for a downswing, both in terms of bankroll management and mentally. So when the downswing came, I gradually lost most of my bankroll in the late summer and fall of 2007. I moved down to $1/$2 and kept grinding, but felt frustrated with limit hold 'em and eventually decided to take the plunge and move to no-limit permanently. I had played a little NL here and there but not seriously.

So on April 1st this year, I loaded up a few $25NL tables at Stars and started trying to learn how to play. I had about a $2k bankroll at the time, but didn't want to start higher than $25 because I wanted to limit the potential loss. After a successful month at 25NL, I moved up to 50NL, and then in June started playing a little bit of 100NL when I found good tables. In August, I had been fortunate enough to get a bankroll sized to play a little bit of $200NL and that's where I've been since then. It's been going up and down a bit, but mostly up and I think I've learned a lot in the past few months.

I'm naturally a bit passive, and I've had to work pretty hard to become more aggressive.

Poker goals
Poker will probably never be my primary income, but I want to maximize it as a secondary income. If I can comfortably play $3/$6 and maybe some $5/$10 and have a modest win-rate, I'd be more than happy with that. A lot of what holds me back is the volume of hands that I play which means I need to learn how to multitable better. I've installed AHK and I have a dual monitor set up (20' + 24') but I still feel like I need to get more decisions on autopilot in order to play more than 6 tables at once. Basically, I'm hoping to, in 2009, reach a level of skill that allows me to play ~30k hands a month of 3/6 profitably.

Spots that make me uncomfortable
Being 3-bet by aggressive players. And although I've gotten better I'm still not entirely comfortable with when to c-bet or not. I used to c-bet virtually every flop (and in the 30k hand sample I think this will be reflected somewhat; I only in the past few weeks started checking flops more frequently). I try to table select pretty carefully because I just don't feel like I'm a winning when I'm playing regulars. I don't think I'm necessarily losing, but if there's a profit there, it's probably eaten by the rake.

2 comments:

Four Dogs said...

GL with the coaching. Keep us informed.

-Roy

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