June 15, 2011
I had moved up to mostly playing 25NL, but had a pretty brutal end of May/start of June. It was the usual thing - start with run bad and move pretty quickly on to just plain playing atrociously. My self-diagnosis is that I have two main problems - firstly I've been trying to move up too fast and my fundamentals are not sound yet, and secondly I need to improve my patience, discipline and general emotional control. I wanted to respond positively to this situation and learn from it so I've started to rebuild and learn right. My first thing is although I'm pretty well-rolled I was certainly playing higher than I currently should be based on skill and experience. I've decided to move right down to 2NL and grind back up again really focussing on my play at each stake level. As soon as I did this I started running massively below EV, but even this has been useful. I'm concentrating on quitting and table/seat selecting well and some of the sessions that would have been -5 BI sessions before are now ended much earlier, and at 2NL I'm back in positive territory for the month even though I'm running about 5BI below EV over 2400 hands. This is of course well within 1 standard deviation of my "EV bb/100" in case you ask, so I'm not even going to begin to complain. I'm very happy with my play and what I'm learning so far.
I'm playing only short sessions (30 or 45mins at the moment) with a max of 4 tables (actually mostly I'm playing 2 or 3 tables) and trying to analyse the hands as much as possible afterwards. I'm also writing a private paper journal of my thoughts and feelings after each session. To help with the emotional discipline side, I'm doing a daily mindfulness practise and when playing am also focussing on being aware of my own state and targetting goals for each session which are not about results (ie hand reading when I'm not in the pot, consciously rewarding myself when I make a tight fold) etc.
The approach to BRM that I'm following is 50+10 as described in Bugz's PLO from scratch guide ie we start with at least 50 buyins for the lowest level, and then when we have 10 buyins for the next level we take a shot at that level and grind there until we either make 50 buyins for that level and 10 for the next level (in which case we move up) or blow our 10 buyins (in which case we move down).
The one addition I'm making to this system is that since part of what I need is experience at each level I'm going to restrict myself to starting at the very bottom, and not taking a shot at a higher level unless I have at least 25k hands at a level even if I have 50 buyins for the level I'm on + 10 buyins for the next level. At the moment that seems like a good idea. I might start jonesing for a move up earlier and we'll have to see how that works out. As I already have something of a roll the 25k restriction matters, and I'm also saying that I have to get the 10 buyins for the next level as clear profit over all hands since the beginning of time at a level before I move up. So to move up from 2NL to 5NL I would need to have played 25k hands of 2NL and made at least 50USD of profit over those hands. So in effect it's as if I'm grinding my roll up from 100USD and first have to recoup any losses I have made since the beginning of time at each stake level. This seems like a useful exercise in discipline too.