Firstly have to appreciate Spartan for the promotion . Its obviously a unique privilege for people who wish to get better at the plo variant / or just build a big roll (for players who r already good at plo), without risking much of their own rolls. In my case, i was a plo enthusiast (a nhle specialist basically) and i always wanted to make a foray into plo games, because of the hype, and the fact that i keep hearing – people make more mistakes at plo than holdem. But never felt confident enough to really pursue it , apart from the occasional 10-20 plo games online (small stakes) whenever i was extremely bored with holdem. My attitude was like – why risk or struggle learning something new, when im already doing so good at holdem, and mind you when i say learning, i mean to learn so much that i have consistent results for the rest of my life. Frankly i thought going by my holdem track records, and with a 50k starting roll in the plo challenge, id probably at worst case double it at the end of the month (rofl, cocky overconfident dumb me), but things have gone completely haywire, and yea like always its just that i f****d up the basics. Ill come to that in a bit .
(I’m not sure when ill blog again here, so would like to share a few other stuff and it ll also give u a better perspective about my post mortem and impact of the plo challenge)
My background and a minute bit of my poker philosophy :
I have been playing fulltime for the last 3 years. 2 years Live abroad, and then online in India ever since i came back last year. I only play nl-holdem and i’ve worked my way up to being pretty good, time and over, not just with the strategy but more importantly with consistent results. Thats something i really think a lot of players, (including me at one stage) overlook. You could be a great player, you could be someone who picks amazing reads, 3bet bluffs over a bluff-raise of a bluff-bet, make J high calls and win, make a few hero calls everyday and feel like god (admit it, you feel orgasmic every time you make a hero call, even though you are down 3 buy ins for the day), But if you are not consistent in your results, POKER IS NOT FOR YOU. The dangerous thing about poker is that even a total noob could have an upswing that lasts for a couple of months and he ends up thinking he is really good, (especially i see it a lotttt in live environments). thats what I’ve grown to believe in – stay consistent, and it has made me a much richer and better player. The movies definitely promote the adrenaline rush and highs of the game, But what they don’t tell is that end of the day, it just comes down to money, and its just pot odds, betting patterns, and sticking to healthy BR management .
A favorite quote of mine that i made up and recently started sharing a lot is that, If we look at it from a realistic perspective, Rounders is a stupid story of a guy who doesn’t follow BR management, goes against daniel negreanu’s advice of “don’t do anything stupid” (PokerStars advert) and then creates a ton of problems for himself with wrong company, and what follows is lots of drama and masala good enough for it to make entertaining for the viewer .
Ok enough with my BS. (I would like to write a very big blog on the philosophy part some day,) Before you get bored and close the browser window, Ill come to the point .
The PLO BR challenge .
I made the most predictable mistakes you would expect a player transitioning from nlhe would do, and even though i had read the facts all of last year that you need way bigger BRs for plo compared to holdem, I just expected to do fine with 10 BIs at 50nl . Even though the challenge suggested you could start the challenge playing 25-50, my common sense should have done better. I should have started at 10-20. That was the basic and the major blunder i have made in the Spartan challenge.
My only real plo experience was from the live games in blore (where every house “suggests” 2 plo hands for every round of holdem). And an Indian site (that doesn’t exist anymore) where i played a huge volume of 10-20 plo and considerable amount of 25-50 plo, only because i had built a decent roll starting from nothing one month (around 2L) there, and i could be cool losing 15k-20k taking these plo “shots”. After that month, i was fairly better at plo , but still sometimes felt i had no control as to what i was doing, or maybe it was too much variance (that i don’t actually care, I have played enough holdem my life to take ten bad beats a day and not give a heck). But the former part – HAVING CONTROL as to what you are doing, is so important, and i knew i didn’t have it because its the complete opposite when I’m playing holdem . I precisely know what I’m doing, and i control stuff as per my desired outcomes. In plo it just didn’t seem the case. Half of the things i was doing, i didn’t even know if it was a +EV move or -EV. Forget EV, if someone goes through my hand history you could pick a lot of dumbf**k plays i might have done. Im pretty sure about that one. In holdem, i have a playbook in my subconcious (that includes both ‘abc’ and out of the box creative stuff) for every spot, against every kind of player. In plo, i came across a lot of spots where i was probably doing the right thing, but i realized after a week that i had completely failed to categorise players, observe opponent tendencies and betting patterns, which in holdem i do almost subconsciously .
I still remember, it must have been the 3rd or 4rth day or the challenge, That changed the entire course for me . I don’t remember the player’s name , Not sure if he was even in the challenge, But he was playing hyper aggro, and i ran bad for a couple of buyins and then it started. TILT. (I can definetly say i tilt a lot less with every passing month and definitely a lot lesser than a lot of players around, But any player however patient he might think he is, is always prone to tilt once in a while, as long as he is human . u could be 99% tilt free , but it is never 100% ) And then within an hour, i was down 5 buyins . I think i ended the day around 24-25k. I didn’t even check my Balance, as i was a bit upset, not for losing the BIs, but for losing my cool .
The next day, i lost two more buy ins and this was when i realized i was down to 16-17k when i checked the balance. Thats when reality hit me, and i just dropped down to 5-10.
Right now I’m still around 2500 hands short to complete the challenge, which i will safely, but looking back, if i could go back in time, there are some dos and don’ts i would definitely follow.
A) Get a reality check before u start the challenge, Forget about making profit, and i would start the smallest stake possible (5-10) and learn the game in a result oriented way, like put in good volume over 4-5 days, and see my mistakes and results (don’t confuse result orientedness with Xbb/hr earnings). (Thats what i strictly suggested my dad with holdem (start at smallest stakes and build and learn) when he really loved the game and started playing it, but i missed the obvious when it came to me .
B) NOT multitable. i started playing whatever tables were spread. I remember playing one 10-20 and two 25-50 for three nights on spartan. (all plo)
What made it worse is i usually play 7-8 holdem tables minimum online, (mostly 25-50) So i had all these tables. (looking back, how dumb could i be!!) I should have started allotting two-three hours for the plo challenge exclusively the first 3-4 days ATLEAST, and not play more than one table, and learn every aspect, player tendencies, player types and observe stuff the way i learnt holdem. (i attribute most of my ability to multi-table heavily in holdem cash (10 tables easily and would do more if it was just one single software) to the fact that i played one live table for a long time when i started off ).
C) Training videos / blogs – Though i ve been occasionally watching stuff and reading blogs, i should have watched a lot of hand histories and sessions done in those training vids by the pros. Should have paid attention to the intricacies they tell, apart from just the basics like not to overvalue AA or play in position or chase the nuts only. Should have really invested time in a lot of this. should have read forums. I was so hooked on to doing my daily holdem volume and making that easy money, that my enthusiasm and drive and more importantly HUNGER to learn something new and get really good at it had clearly diminished ever since i came back .
D) And ya take it more seriously (sorry rohit and the team, i messed up the great opportunity, but yea i have the courage to admit that and face my blunders, and learn if i can and move on. Wait, did that get too filmy, maybe yea, then again, i meant it. period)
I should have put this point first i guess. I should have made a serious plan and stuck to it i guess, instead i just included it as a part of my everyday holdem grind .
E ) Discussing hands / reviewing hand histories – Looking back, i had learnt a great deal discussing hands when i used to play live (i guess most people do ). It has completely stopped ever since i came back and i started playing online (i could say discussing hands on a virtual platform or forums is more time consuming and painful, though that wasnt the main reason) but whatever the excuse, i dunno how, but i stopped discussing holdem anymore even when i played live for a couple of months in blore. One fair reason being that anyone who has played a good volume of holdem and focussed on consistent improvement for close to 3 years with pretty decent results would have seen most of it all, known all the angles for almost all the spots, thinks creatively at almost any given opportunities rather than following basic abc line-of-plays , I think this attitude also subconsciously obstructed me from going through hand histories , though it was in my vague plan initially, the whole thing kinda moved into a panic state at the end of first week and the bankroll falling
I wish the guys doing good in the challenge my best wishes .
Good skill .