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Hello 2013!

Posted by ashutoshnaik on 2013-01-09 at 12:00 AM

Wish you a happy new year 2013!

Been too long since I blogged. Things have been topsy turvy over the last few months. In November, I was made redundant from my last job, due to some issues with the management. This forced me to go pro for the 2nd time in 2 years, but just after 2 months, I realized that I was not ready to be a pro player. Ironically, the month I spent playing poker fulltime, was the only net losing month in 2012 for me, and I was making money when not playing professionally. I didnt lose much money during my pro period, however I realized that professional poker (poker as only source of income) was not for me – not here, not now! It wasnt about making or losing money anymore, but I had to ask myself deep questions like – what will give me happiness over the long run? Is it money, is it just money or are there other things that make me happy? Do I want to completely let go of my education and work experience and completely put all my eggs into the poker basket? Am I a good enough player ? Am I ready to take the swings ? Do I really want this ? etc etc.

The net decision I made, was not to make a living from poker. It was too stressful, and I discovered that I had a passion for the other things I do, which I used to do prior to making a living out of poker. I would defintiely pursue it as a seroius hobby though. One of my friends had predicted that I would run good if I was not depending just on poker for money. I was indeed hoping his prediction came true, which it did, because after taking a 23 day break from poker – which is f** long, by the standards of any serious poker player, I am doing good now. I ve been playing a lot since then and had a very few losing sessions, compared to the number of winning sessions.

During this break from poker, I went on a vacation to the UAE, did fun things, and I also got a chance to work on the weaknesses in my game. Without going into the details of my weaknesses, which I definitely wouldnt like to disclose to you guys as I will be playing you againt too often at the tables, lol, I would say that more than the technical or psychological things, which i thought I was decent at, the most important thing I am working on is emotional tilt control. Out of my redline, I would say, 40 percent came out of tilt poker, 40 percent from bad beats and 20 percent from bad play. Now the 20 percent bad play, needs a lot of refinement to fix and is an ongoing process, but I figured that the easier part to fix was the 40 percent loss from tilt. How many times after getting a bad beat, have I thrown away 1-2 Buyins just playing suboptimally. The key is to play your A game at all times. If you cant play your A game, then go home, come back some other time, some other day – there will always be a game running, and at the serious level, when you are playing with big money, there is really no excuse to continue playing, when you know you are playing suboptimally. Now, coming to the the 40 percent of bad beats – these are unavoidable, but you can definitely control the 40 percent tilt, and this is actually easy if you put some real work on it. I am trying things like meditation, stupid as it may sound, but meditation, yoga and exercise as well as taking periodic breaks are actually helping me.

I did go to Goa around the new year, and spent 3 days playing poker there. In fact I didnt celebrate new year’s eve at all, this time. After playing 2 nights continously, I took a days break on 31st night to rest – just did not feel like partying! I did do good poker wise in Goa. I figured that it was the best time to play poker in Goa. We had almost 6-7 tables running everyday, and had a lot of action.

My plans for this year are to focus on the local cash games, and try to move to the higher stakes, and try to improve my game and adapt to the changing poker dynamics. 2012 though profitable, was only half as profitable as 2011 for me, when I was on a tourney and cash game heater. I had such a good run in 2011, although I think I used to play worse then, compared to now. 2012 was not a year of fireworks but a year of consolidation, and learning about this beautiful game. I hope to make 2013 a much more profitable one, and given how its started, I might be on the right track. My game is definitely suited for higher stakes but I want to continue playing with my own money, and not get into any long term staking agreement, always played with my own money till now, so it will take me sometime to get to the high stakes, if at all I do. However, I think I would try to sell action, especially for the bigger games, and this is something I would look into.

I am happy with what I am doing now, and finally seem to have found a balance between poker, work, relationships and life!

Take it easy!
Ashutosh

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