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Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm on a temporary break from poker, both online and live. It's a rough time of year to do this, because all the WSOP coverage on the Internet makes me want to play. A lot.

But the truth is that I have been treading water for about 6 months. No incredibly bad losing streak, no variance kicking me in the junk I've just been playing mediocre, break-even poker for a long while now. I hate to use the term break-even, because losing players always say they're breaking even, but my online bankroll really has been fluctuating around the same point, plus or minus about $100, for most of this year. If stasis = death in poker, I am not a healthy man.

A lot of this is a function of my job. When I started this blog in April 2004, I was a freelance book editor working from home. But then we moved to Minneapolis and I got a "real" job. And as I've said before, this 8-hours-a-day stuff is rough!

When I play nowadays I tend to alternate between two approaches to online poker. The first is playing for fun, where I play tournaments (and am actually doing better than I used to at those) or play very loose-aggressive in cash games, and if I drop a buy-in I tell myself it was worth the fun. The second is when I decide to play for a night or two in serious mode, where I grind myself back to even. I rarely chase bonuses anymore. That doesn't really bother me, but the really bad thing is that I haven't challenged myself, I haven't set goals or tried higher limits (I'm still putzing around at $2/$4 online), and I haven't been studying my game.

So I tried to tell myself, OK self, you don't have the time to be as devoted to online poker as you once were. But you love the Canterbury. You should concentrate on improving your live game.

But then I had several losing sessions at $4/$8. This all culminated 2 weeks ago when, on July 3rd, Mrs. Cheap Thrills and I headed to the Canterbury for a day of races, followed by poker and fireworks. I stepped down to $3/$6 hoping it would boost my confidence. And then I dropped $200. This puts me squarely in the red at the Canterbury. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

We couldn't hit a single race all day, which probably put me on minor tilt. And I drank my share of beer, which didn't help. And I played kinda like a maniac. But the thing is, I used to be able to drink beer, play kinda loose, and yet never really worry that $3/$6 was -EV for me.

So I've decided that I have lost a certain something, poker-wise.

I want to get it back. And the silver lining to all this is that I am confident I will get it back. But right now, and for at least the next 6 weeks or so, there is something that's going to get in the way of poker. That'll be the subject of my next post.

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