1. Fishy sites
I play low-stakes cash games on a few different sites and I’ve been having really mixed results, even though I’m sure I’m playing the same way on all of them. On the most popular site I’m pretty much breaking even, but I’m winning consistently on a couple of smaller sites. Do the games play differently or am I reading too much into it? Do some sites attract more bad players?
No doubt some sites attract more recreational players and less regular grinders than others. When you are playing on a site where you have a good feeling and believe that you are better than your opponents you will play even better. Never underestimate the importance of confidence – it makes sense to keep playing where you are already constantly winning. I only play on 888poker these days and I really like the playing field there.
2. On a downer
I’ve been playing for a couple of years now and I’m in the middle of my biggest downswing. I’ve had little hiccups before but it’s always turned round pretty quickly. This has been going on for weeks and I don’t know what to do about it.
This is the cruel part about poker. Compare poker with tennis – if you hit the ball correctly the ball goes where you want, but if you play a hand perfectly in poker you can still lose.
Personally, as long as I feel I’m playing well, I try not to care too much about the outcome. A downswing going on for weeks is just standard unfortunately. You should be prepared to run bad for months – even a year is not unusual. Winning in poker is a long term challenge and players shouldn’t be too short-term results oriented. That’s also why bankroll management and not playing scared money is so crucial.
When I’m on a downswing I usually keep playing with patience and try to turn it around. If I feel like I’m playing bad I step down a level to get my confidence and focus back. If you play online it’s often good to take a break, get some fresh air or maybe just stop for the day.
At one point, when I had a big downswing three years ago, I decided to take a month off from online poker. After that I realised that I had been playing with a couple of important leaks in my game. After working on them I was very motivated and ready to play my A-game again.
It’s difficult to stay objective when you are losing in poker and very natural to blame it on coolers and bad beats. In order to know where you are I strongly recommend getting advice from other good players or paying for a coach.
3. Live leak
Did you hear about Antonio Esfandiari getting disqualified from the PCA? Some people seemed to be offended by it but I found it funny. You’ve been on the live circuit for a long time – what’s the funniest/strangest thing you’ve seen?
Yes, I read about that story and I also thought it was quite funny! I was playing cash games at Bellagio last Autumn and one late night a player kept falling asleep at the table. When it was his turn to act they had to wake him up every single hand, after which he immediately went back to sleep again. He even fell asleep when he was in a really big pot! That was the time the dealer told him to get a coffee or leave the table. Guess what, we got him a coffee!! Haha!
Have you got any tips for multi-tabling? I’ve always played one and sometimes two tables but I want to try and play more at once and I’m struggling. I find that the decisions start coming too quickly and I end up panicking and doing things without thinking. I’m not trying to play ten or 12 tables, I’m just trying to go to four and would be grateful for any tips.
It’s all about practice! Some players can play 20 tables on autopilot and still be winners. That doesn’t mean that they would win less if they played 12 tables or even four. You need to find the optimal amount of tables that will give you the best profit. It’s important to remember that the more tables you play, the less you will be able to focus on each table.
I can manage 18 tables at once but my profit wouldn’t be good. I used to grind 12 tables regularly a few years ago. I was making a lot of rake and some profit as well. For a few years now though I’ve been playing fewer tables and trying to make more profit on each.
The trick to adding more tables is as follows. First you need to be a constant winner on two tables. When you feel confident you can add more tables, one at a time. If you get a hard decision at a table you can always use your time bank for extra time. You’ll soon learn how to make quick decisions in standard spots and use the time bank on your trickier ones.
If you still feel that you are panicking, it might actually be best for you to play two or three tables and step up the stakes instead. This might give you a better overall profit. This is obviously very different from player to player so I suggest you keep trying and find out for yourself. Good luck!
Hand of the month: 888Live Main Event in Austria – Day 1
With blinds at 150/300, a qualifier in middle position open-raised 600, a tight passive guy on the small blind called and so did I in the BB with A-T.
The flop was Q-9-4 and it went check, check, check. The turn was a Jack and the guy in the SB led small for 700. I remembered a hand from earlier when this guy made a very tight fold on the river and showed it. I decided to raise with my straight draw, with the plan to continue on the river if I missed, so I re-raised to 1,950. He didn’t like this much but tank-called. The river was a Five and he checked, I bet 3.600, he insta- folded and showed a Queen for top pair.
When you play against tight players, who always put you on the nuts, look for spots to make some bluffs. This is one advantage I have as a girl. Girls are expected to be tight and we’re not seen as being capable of bluffing. Take advantage of this, ladies!