I posted this to my blog and a fellow DC'er suggested I post it in the article section. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did...
Love me some Micros!
I had a sit down with my good friend Russ about Poker recently. I was losing at the micros and my ego was taking some hits. I had deposited $500 a few months back to play 25NL and 25PLO and I just kept losing.......
I fell down to my last $58 or so and needed to figure something out. I'd never lost so consistently since I began playing. I was lost and confused. All my other friends I came up with began to break through in varying degrees. Why hadn't I? Would I ever make it?
Russ has been playing since he was 14 and is probably one of the top 500 or so players in the world. He plays high stakes and sometimes nose bleeds. If there was anyone who could help me it is him.
He gave me a vote of confidence saying that I have the skill set necesary to beat 1000NL but I have to beat micros first. if you can't beat micros you can't beat anything. My problem isn't in my skill set. Its a huge leak in my fundamentals. Basically understanding my limits and how to manage my mental bankroll. I didn't fully grasp the flow of the game or how to find equity....In other words I had to remove my ego.
Its like Super Mario, the first one on Nintendo. You come across a few levels throughout the game that are really easy right? When you're a kid its something you like to brag about to your friends. The thing is you can't make it to those levels until you beat level 1, right?
Lets say you and 2 other friends are sitting there chatting about beating Bowser on the last level. One of them has beaten the whole game 3 times over. The other kid is stuck at the last 2 levels but just can't seem to get over the hump. His argument is well, Bowser is easy I could beat him if I got to him. The other kids argument is well you can't even get to him so don't even talk to me.
Whos right? Obviously you would choose the one who has beaten the game over and over again. Maybe that kid who is stuck CAN beat Bowser. Lets just assume that he can. Well, he's missing some things to get there. maybe he isn't putting in the necessary work needed to succeed. Maybe he lacks the confidence, discipline or the intense focus needed to get to that last level. Yah, he can beat him but he will never have that opportunity because he may never get there. He has an EGO problem. He can't see the game in the same light as the other kid because he's so focused on the end result of beating the game he never will. He wants to beat the game so he can brag to all his friends, not because he personally wants to.
Its hard to remove your ego from winning and losing thousands to justify spending the same amount of time and effort towards a game where +2 dollars is a good session! Its difficult when your friends ask how pokers going and you tell them its going good and they instantly ask how much are you up? well I'm only up $2 this month and they reply with "Oh"....
You look at your graph at night and how many hours you've played and your hourly. 76 cents an hour? What can that buy. What a waste of your time people would seem to think. Oh you've put in 40 hours this month at 76 cents an hour? Come to the bar instead.......
But thats whats so great about the micro stakes! This is where you learn the most important thing in poker: Removing your ego! You can't see the angles and the long term unless you fully remove that aspect of your game. At these stakes you learn to see the game in a much different light that you will have to apply at every stake. Its here where you develop your fundamentals to the point where if you revert back to them you'll never lose.
It creates momentum in your poker universe so that you have the confidence to move up in stakes. This is where you find the appreciation and respect for your bankroll.
Don't be angry or frustrated because you just lost a 50 cent pot to some spew monkey. Love the game. Isn't that why you started playing because you love this game? The money is a by-product of your happiness and lets not get that reversed. If you're "Chasing the money" then you'll never make it. You'll never catch the money.
If you find yourself sitting at home one Saturday night while all your friends are out smashing out perfect 10 models while you toil away at the micros don't be sad. Be happy that you're playing this game that you love! If you love it the money will flow your way! If this is what you want to do don't feel guilty about it.
I would always get angry at myself when I would stay home, smoke weed and just grind but end up losing. I would say fuck I missed out on some good times with my friends. Not to say you should ever ditch your friends or family for poker but if you would rather stay home and play then do it instead of going to a movie or a bar.
Stay healthy mentally and physically though. Avoid sliding into a depressive pit by going out with friends, working out and doing things you enjoy doing. That stuff comes first because as long as you're at these stakes then its only a hobby. You can't realistically support yourself unless you're living in some cave with Wi-Fi naked eating twigs and berries...
Look at it this way: Russ says that if you can beat Micros you can beat mid stakes. Its the same game where you have to do the same things over and over again. If you're a profitable poker player then you'll be profitable at stakes where you can make decent flow. Someone will back you if you present to them that you're winning every stake you play in.
Small stakes tournaments are always profitable. If you're good at Cash Games you'll be good at tournaments, I promise! You have to do what you can to make it through this. If you love it enough grinding out 2NL or 400NL isn't going to make a difference. You should be happy when you play and that alone will carry you down the right path
To Be Continued......