As I start my first poker blog, I need to tell you it is with a heavy heart as I’ve just blundered off a huge stack in the Diwali Rush Sunday Highroller final two tables. It felt like the week long grind and the sleeplessness costed me the focus. I think I was playing very good, collecting chips by finding good spots pre-flop and post-flop, and built a top three stack when final 18-players were left in one of the toughest tournaments on a Sunday all over Indian sites, but as those when final two tables happened, beasts appeared on the table and trying to outplay those instead of playing a patient game, I basically choked to death in this tournament. I’ll make sure this is the last time it happens.
While we’re at it, let’s get the biggest blunder of the week off the chart, as the above mentioned HR wasn’t the one 🙁
Well, it was the Super Highroller in the same series, and the blunder wasn’t a spot even, I played really well, got near the money, it was just that I reentered when I wasn’t rolled enough. That was very stupid.
Okay, now let’s talk about the grind and the Diwali Rush Leaderboard.
In September, Pokerstars had INCOOP, a two-week long similar series, and I was grinding the full schedule to secure the first position on the leaderboard and after 12 days of grinding 12+ hours each day I had the first position, but in last two days Mr. Ram Kakkar took over the lead and I remember on the last day we were tied for the first position and he won from there. And that hurt! So when I saw Diwali Rush series launched by Pokerstars, I was sure I am winning the leaderboard this time. And win I did.
Well that felt good. I still I have to say, there were times this when I wished I wasn’t playing for the leaderboard as it makes the grind way more grueling than it is supposed to be, instead of grinding 8-10 hours a day I had to grind 12-14 hours and couldn’t even take a day off which I usually do once or twice a week. And the grind takes a toll on your mind, your focus, and the fact that you just sleep and grind, time for studying is less, which resulted in some blunders deep in tournaments which were way more worth. And it can be worked out in future, I needed to manage my schedule better than I did.
Still, if I look at the silver lining at the end of the week, I did very well, I think I played very very well, was way more aggressive than I usually am, and it worked out great. I was just gathering chips all around the tournaments easily, just by raising and 3-betting preflop, making c-bets and applying pressure with a big stack.
However, despite all that, one of the biggest takeaway from this week is how not to punt off a big stack. It is so important to preserve your stack, and reach final tables, reach top three and eventually win. And I feel even with all that, we can still apply pressure, but it needs to be more calculated.
Talking about the results this week, I played around 75+ tournaments this week, majorly mid-mid high stakes, and a couple of high stakes tournaments as well (all through sattys). I won five tournaments, final tabled ten or so more (didn’t keep track of the exact count this week, but coming weeks will surely do). And I am happy with the wins, I played well on those final tables, but yes still have to study more of ICM spots as I remember a few where I wasn’t sure what to do.
There are a lot of takeaways from this week. I’ll just mention those in bullet points –
1. As important it is to build a big stack in a poker tournament, much more important it is to preserve it and reach final table with it, as you can apply maximum pressure there, and it is easy to maneuver your way to a win. Still not be afraid of making correct plays, and if it you bust playing correctly, it is what it is.
2. Aggression is the way to win in poker tournaments. You can luckbox a tournament win by nit-balling but can never consistently perform well.
3. Patience is what the P in Poker means. It stands above all, above skill and above luck.
4. Variance doesn’t have a memory. Every hand is a new hand, don’t take emotional decisions based on what happened in the last hand or last tournament or last day. I read this quote when I started playing poker, “You can never win a tournament, you can only lose it.” And this is so true. Poker is about making correct decisions in every single spot, rest is variance.
Also, this might sound silly, but I play chess a lot and when I think of it, poker is just like chess. And it makes poker more interesting for me. Each table can be considered as a different chess board, and you have to play differently and have different strategies on each board based on the opponents. Every important spot can be considered a chess move, and in every spot, you can make inaccuracies which are definitely acceptable, you can make mistakes which cost you EV, you make blunders like making bad calls or bad bluffs which makes you lose a lot, and you also make some brilliancies with brilliant calls or folds. All of that exists in chess as well, and more-or-less in the same exact manner 😛
I’ll finish this blog with my plan for the coming week.
1. Definitely playing way less, planning to play five days, six tournaments a day, and focus on each spot instead of focusing on volume, that will come later once we know how to play specific spots in the best way.
2. Studying 3-4 hours everyday.
3. I’ll start doing meditation everyday as it makes the mind more calm and releases anxiety and a calmer mind takes better decisions. Also, exercise some everyday so that body keeps functioning well even after long grinds.
That’s it guys. See you next week with updates. Keep crushing and keep smiling 🙂