Friday, November 02, 2007

Tales of the Great Reconstruction

"I just booked my trip to Vegas," I said to my co-worker Random101.

A singular eyebrow was raised in Spock-like fashion as he replied, "Don't you need a bankroll for a trip like that?"


"Good point," is all I could muster.


My live game bankroll took a nosedive in the months of August, September and October. And by nosedive, I mean wings-off-the-plane, engine-failing, pilot-already-dead nosedive. Proper bankroll management dictates that twenty buy-ins is sufficient padding to theoretically survive the variance encountered by those who espouse the never-ending "all one session" philosophy.

However, for me, in the live games here in G-Vegas, there are a couple of problems with that.

Problem 1: When your bankroll drops, you're supposed to drop down in limits in order to recover. Well, for me, there are no lower limit games to play in. It's not as simple as dropping from $200NL to $100NL with the click of a mouse. G-Vegas homegames are most likely going to always remain $1/$2 blinds.

Problem 2: During my time online, I've seen swings of +/-10-15 buy-ins happen quite frequently. If you read the forums at 2+2, there are many successful long-term players who suffer downswings of that variety. It's not really too uncommon. However, for me in the live games, the 15 buy-in downswing with nowhere to go to regroup was just a jackhammer to my poker psyche, wearing it away chip by chip until there wasn't much left. Of course, my play suffered which compounded the issue.


What was the solution? It hurt, but I had to make a decision. I hamstrung myself by putting away nearly all of last year's winnings, leaving myself no cushion for any downswing of this size. If I was going to continue to play, I'd have to reload the live game cash roll by making a withdrawal. I hated doing it. It still rubs me the wrong way just thinking about it. But if I wanted to continue playing in the few home games that I do, and if I wanted to go to Vegas in December with enough cash to play in the variety of games that I enjoy; then I had to do it.

The check game on Tuesday.


If I don't learn from this, then I'm not the player I think I am and I'll never become the player I want to be. Fifteen buy-in downswings can happen. While some of it is due to bad luck and bad play, the bottom line is that I need to take measures to ensure that if and when it happens again, I'll have the cushion I need to keep playing the game the way I need to play it in order to make that rebound happen without making another withdrawal.

My ability to play well depends on a clear mind. It depends on not having thoughts that I could go broke if things continue. It depends on a big enough buffer of cash such that downswings don't impact my decision-making process.

I'll hopefully get back on the winning track. And when I do, I'll keep a 50 buy-in roll before I sock any of it away again. Because if I end up losing 50 buy-ins, then the decision to continue or not will be oh so painfully easy.

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