Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Well would you believe it, I am celebrating my official 1 year anniversary for playing poker this month. It has been a rollercoaster ride.

I would like to thank everybody who has supported me during this time and helped me along the way. I have a great time learning this game and look forward to what I can achieve in year 2. Here are my highlights for year 1 and my top 15 lessons learnt.

Highlights
2 qualifiers for Live Events won - WSOP 2005 and Caribbean Poker Classic 2005
3 significant tournament Wins - 2 x £15k, 1 x£6k
£20k profit
Established as a good player on the crypto network.
Making many new friends as a result.
Playing against one of the top ten money earners in the world (twice) - Men the Master.
Appearing in 6 regional newspapers, 3 editions of full house, 2 radio interviews and numerous Web site appearances.
Meeting a wonderful team of people at Littlewoods Poker, who I am indebted to, for encouraging my desire to be successful at this wonderful game.

So what have I learnt in this time, a whole heap of stuff. I have decided to share with you my top 15 guidelines to be successful at this game (in no particular order)

1) Discipline - If you are going to play, be in the right frame of mind. Drunk, tired, on tilt, kids screaming at you in the background, just does not work.
Stop, recouperate and carry on.
Lesson 1 - If your head is not on the game - its money down the drain.

2) Gears - You need more than one. Patience works and is a key skill, but you have to know when to change gear. As your blinds increase, so should your level of involvement.
You have to be able to move up and down gears dependant on what the table is up to, how many chips you have and your relative position in the tournament, but the worst thing to do is let your stack be blinded away.
My early failings were due to not kicking on a gear.
Lesson 2 - If your not prepared to move up a gear, your stack will soon dissapear.

3) Don't chase losses. - You will end up accumulating more. This game is addictive, but if your losing, the temptation is to try to win it all back immediately. This can prove disastrous! See Point 1.
Lesson 3 - If your losing money fast - Take a break, until Tilt mode is in the past.

4) Set Targets/Keep Records - How are you really doing at this game. You are more likely to be successful if you give yourself something to aim for. Also you find out what you are good at.
95%+ of my winnings comes from MTT's. I am better at 10 seaters than 6 seaters.
I am better on Tuesday's (shattered from Football for two days) and Friday's (start of the weekend). You should also find out if their as a time of day that you get better results.

Lesson 4 - Keep a note of whats going on - It will help you identify whats going wrong.

5) Deal with the Lows - Don't whinge - It gets to you. Poker is a game of skill and over the long run my results have hopefully proved that, but often luck is the deciding factor.
Its more important that you played it right, if you did, great - the fact that you lost is irrelevant, next time you will win. Live and Online are no different in the fact that they can be cruel.

Playing live, I got knocked out of the World Series by a 2 outer, the only time I have Aces live I lost to a set of seven's. I have flopped a set of Kings twice and lost both times. I have never to this day won a coin flip.
Playing Online, I have had as many badbeats as I have had days playing poker. I once lost with QQ, 23 times in succession! Its part of the game.

Its more important that you analyze your game, for where you went wrong and adjust it.

Lesson 5 - When you suffer another bad beat, put it behind you quickly or it will lead to Defeat.

6) Dealing with the highs - When you are hot, you are hot. A win gives you confidence and this game is all about confidence. As a result you tend to go on a good run. You believe in yourself and you are playing with less fear. This can be a great time, to accumulate a bank roll.
A word of warning though, even though you are playing well, you are not unbeatable!

Lesson 6 - When results are going your way, confidence is high - you must play, play, play!

7) Understand whats involved - If you are going to play a game, make sure you know whats involved. If the £15k is starting at 8pm, you have to be prepared to be playing this game for 4-5 hours, if you are not, then why are you playing in the first place.

Lesson 7 - If you are not prepared to put in the time, dont play, stay offline.

8) Dan Harrington's books - The Poker Bible. Read them. Read them again.

Lesson 8 - If results are not going to plan, look no further than Action Dan.

9) Know your players - Make notes, learn what they do, how do they react to certain situations. One thing is for certain, the best players are watching you.

Lesson 9 - Learn how other players play, make good notes and they will pay.

10) Know the Odds - How likely is it you will make your flush draw, how many outs have I got in a certain situation. Do I have the pot odds to call this bet. How much do I need to bet, to take away the odds to call.

Lesson 10 - Learn off by heart the poker odds, this will help you become a poker god

11) Enjoy It - If you don't enjoy the game, don't play it. You get far better results doing something you enjoy. Take Ronaldinho for example! If you are putting too much pressure on for results, you won't get them.

Lesson 11 - If this game is getting you stressed, it is something that has to be addressed.

12) Fewer games better ROI - This is one where I don't always listen to my own advice. I so want to win, that I end up in too many tournaments at once. I have much better results when I play less games at a time. You end up only playing the cards and they are just one part of the game.

Lesson 12 - If you play to win - playing too many games is a cardinal sin.

13) Practice - This game you can never stop learning. People are taking up this game all the time and getting better. The average player is so much better than they were a year ago.

Lesson 13 - If you are not improving - I guarantee you will start losing.

14) Table Image - Be aware of what it is, I was quoted on one site, as the best multi tournament player on the site. Somebody else came back with - He has less moves than Christopher Reeve! To most players I am considered a rock. It therefore means I am going to be at my most productive when I am playing opposite to this.

Lesson 14 - Be conscious of what table image you set, then play the opposite for maximum effect.

15) Don't be afraid to play your game - Too many times I have tightened up due to the importance of the game, rather because it is the right thing to do. You have to play your game no matter what the stakes. Obviously you have to adjust to the table you playing, but don't suddenly start calling with your raising hands.

Lesson 15 - When you are playing higher level games, it is crucial you play the same.

I hope that this is useful to someone!
I have really enjoyed my first year and hope for more successes in year 2.

Good Luck Everyone.
ClintonO

3 comments:

mallas said...

Great post! I'm currently using point 3 and taking the time to read Harrington.

kinghawko said...

14) Table Image - Be aware of what it is, I was quoted on one site, as the best multi tournament player on the site. Somebody else came back with - He has less moves than Christopher Reeve! To most players I am considered a rock. It therefore means I am going to be at my most productive when I am playing opposite to this.

Was it me that said christopher reeve has more moves??
If so i was only joking ;-)

Great blog mate

Toshiwonka said...

You make more folds than superman in a laundry Hawko ;)

Clinton - Good blog keep going and see you in Vegas..

MrDigital
Toshiwonka
etc........