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Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Poker History. Editor: Erik Smith.

WHAT WOULD LANCE ARMSTRONG DO?

April was a very tough month for me poker wise. No matter what I did I kept losing and the losing streak lasted 22 days. I was down almost $7000 at some stage which is 35 buyins meanwhile my Expected Value (EV) graph mathematically showed a tiny profit. I asked myself: “What would Lance do?” The answer is: “He would keep fighting the variance and climb the mountains regardless of the conditions!”

 

WORK TASKS IN APRIL

Let me quickly recap my work tasks I had prepared for April:

April: Go from being LAG (loose aggressive) to TAG (tight aggressive) so that I can play 9 tables GTO (Game theoretic optimal) instead of only 6. I need to tighten up by folding more marginal hands pre-flop from blinds. I also need to take fewer battles vs. 'regs’ who is opening from early positions (called EP & MP).

I need to improve my ‘River Call Efficiency’ so that I call less on river when beat. To do so I need to analyze the player’s hands, positions, actions and betting patterns closely so I can make more correct folds. You might think “how the hell do I apply this while playing 9 tables at once?” The answer is I have to be aware of this mentally while I play so it hopefully will become an unconscious competence in the future.

I might add ‘bet sizing’ during the month but it is less urgent. I am not an expert but I am not bad either.

 

HOW DID I DO?

In the beginning I was having trouble playing 9 tables. I timed out and lost oversight on numerous occasions and I was overall far from playing GTO poker. I was aware that I was losing EV by playing so many tables however I know (or at least I would like to think so) that I have the ability and stamina to play 9 tables and thereby gain +EV in the long run. I am not thinking about tomorrow when I play. I am thinking about poker long term which is the only way to be ahead of the competition.

Today I can play 9 tables without any problems. I think the fact that I added 3 tables is higher EV as I now can be seated at 3 more tables with at least 3 more fishes. My volume, rake back and hands played has increased with 50%. Surely I lose EV due to this in certain spots as I don’t have as much time to think in depth analysis about certain hands but those spots are usually against good regs where the EV is very thin already. Keep in mind I am playing $1/$2 & €1/€2 NLHE and not $5/$10+ NLHE where the regs are much better.

Quick comment on my other two works tasks: I was running so bad that it was hard to focus on River Call Efficiency & Bet sizing however I did improve on both to some extend. I studied a good video about the math of betting half pot, pot and over bet which helped me.

 

LANCE ARMSTRONG

I am by no means comparing myself to Lance Armstrong but it is good to joke with yourself asking “Erik what would Lance do? Cry and give up? Take a break? The answer is he would inject logic and be aware that if he kept working towards his goals the luck would turn around and things would go back to ‘normal’ as normal as a life of a poker player will ever get.

As you can see on my graph I have been on a heater this year but in April all the 'bad luck' I have avoided the first 3 months literally caught up to me. You might think “Erik you been lucky so far. You knew the downswing would come. Why is it so hard to handle mentally when you knew it was going to happen?”

Let me answer that in a way normal people can relate to. You meet a nice girl you start dating and its going well. You realize you love her and you move in together. You feel like you can walk on water since you have the sweetest girlfriend your ever imagined and the sex is breathtaking. One day you come home from work to find that she has left you. She might have gotten tired of your bad habits or fucking her boss the past 3 months or moved to Australia to become a Dolphin trainer. Whatever the reason is, the reality is she is not there and now you are alone and have to fight all battles on your own!

If I call you with tears in my eyes saying “my girlfriend broke up” would you reply the following “Erik 60% of all marriages end in divorce and 90%+ of all relationships you will have in your life will end. The odds of finding the girl you will end up with till death do you apart is so slim that worrying about it is a waste of time." Or as poker players would say –EV to put energy into.  Move on!

I am striving to become a robot when I play poker but naturally since I am a human being (even If I was from another planet I certainly wouldn’t admit it) I have feelings. Sometimes feelings and emotions gets the best of you and that’s when injecting logic and calling a understanding friend can get you back in the game.

Big shot out to my colleagues at work and Wim Bos who have been good mental support the past month.

 

LIVING HEALTHY

In April I was on a diet eating healthy. I lost 6 kilos and been exercising a bit. Due to a decease in my foot I haven't been able to do anything since June 2011. I am in the process of watching all episodes of Sopranos for the 7th time and while doing so I am using my stationary bicycle in my bedroom to burn calories and get fit.

I am emotionally stronger than ever since I got back from Australia. I get up every morning without setting an alarm. Best part of my job is I work when I want. I have learned from my downswing period that I should stop playing when I am tired to avoid feeling mentally down after a big loss. This issue will certainly appear again in my career but every time you overcome a mental struggle you grow stronger as a person.

MAY!? Let us kicks some ass!