Monday, November 07, 2005

Healthy mind, healthy body, health soul?

Last night I was writing a very detailed post on my tournament and ring game escapades for the weekend. After blogger ate my post, I considered the marginal utility of a re-write. On further reflection, the whole story can be described in a far more abbreviated fashion: I had a losing weekend in live and online tournaments, a losing weekend in online ring games, and a break even weekend in live ring games. Any further comments or analysis by me would just be a whole load of b.s.


I had a major maintenance tune up on my car done this weekend, and it made quite a noticible difference. The tune up had been loooooong overdue. I had really forgotten how much I liked to drive my car, and the experience of driving to the office today actually put a smile on my face.

This simple thing got me to reflecting on my lifestyle over the last year. For at least the last 6 months, I have completely stopped exercising or participating in any sports. 110% of my free time is devoted to poker and nothing else.

I have never been a good sleeper, and the last year has been no better. The combination of poor sleeping habits, no exercise, poor eating habits, and stress leaves me in a state where my body never feels particularly good.

Zip back to about 3 years ago, my obsession was marketedly different. I was playing volleyball maybe 18 hours a week, with a comparable amount of time working out at the gym. The feeling of "runner's high" or the satisfied exhaustion after a tough workout compared to how I feel these days is like comparing night and day.

It is ridiculously stupid of me to not exercise, and my lifestyle of the last year probably has taken a few years off my life.


On the mental health front, I'm wondering if heavily multitabling low stakes limit hold'em games is a really bad thing for me psychologically. I personally consider myself to be a significantly above-average multitasker, but I might not be cut out for 6-8 tabling.

Should I be doing something different with the major of my online table time? (which currently is 8 tabling $3/$6 10 max and 4-6 tabling $3/$6 6 max, with occasionally some tourneys or sats mixed in if I can commit up to 4 hours in that session)

The psychological pounding that I take during a bad 8 table session (or a bad 4 table 6 max session) may not be worth any potential net $ profit that is made from the combined results of winning and losing sessions.

Bankroll-wise, all of my major breakthroughs have either come from low stakes online NLHE, online MTTs, or live MTTs. Is it worth it for me to highly multitable limit ring games? This may be a "the grass is always greener", "results-oriented" way of looking at things. I just don't know.

At an earlier stage of my poker career, my ring game strategy centered on quad tabling $100NLHE on a Party skin and bonus whoring. This yielded me consistent reliable profits in the 50xbb/hour range (including rakeback), but was very boring because I was using basically a waiting-for-nuts/semi-nuts-trapping-morons strategy (and from what I can tell, probably wouldn't scale much beyond the $100NL level). I played in the range of 100k hands in these games, so I suspect I proportionally took the same number of bad beats that I get in the limit ring games. However, my playing style dictated that I would be involved in a far fewer number of hands at the show down, so the actual number of bad beats seen was hugely less.

It is CLEARLY more profitable for Party for me to be multitabling limit rings games than NL ring games. The amount of rake that I paid for limit games is an order of magnitude higher than the no limit games with less hands played (although, in part due to short handed limit play). What kind of a sucker am I?

Perhaps a reasonable alternative limit ring game strategy would be for me to 2 table $10/$20 level games. It should definitely be better from a "learning" perspective.
When I started playing limit games for the first time, I already had a relatively large bankroll, so I preceeded too quickly through the limits. I really don't know what online limit I should be playing at now.

Another comparison might be between tournaments and ring games. Which is better for me psychologically? The absolute worst I have ever felt after playing poker was when I busted out of the main event at Aruba in 2004. (the 2nd worst was when I busted out of the $1k LHE live event last month) On the other hand, not surprisingly the absolute best feelings I have ever had were from winning or finishing very deep in live or online MTTs.

Results-wise, tournaments are very feast-or-famine. The overwhelming result from playing in tournaments will be finishing out of the money. The majority of the time in an online tournament and the slight majority of time in a live tournament are very boring. There are frequently a number of times in a tournament that are far more exciting than any ring game I have played in (although, I have never played in midstakes or high stakes NL ring games)

Again skill-wise, I don't know what stakes I am best suited to playing for online tournaments.


I'm not sure where I'm going with all these thoughts. I think a big simplification for my mental state is that I feel somewhere between fine to happy when I'm winning and somewhere between indifferent to extremely frustrated when losing. The dangers will be if I spent too much time at the extremes.

Intellectually, I've gotten far more satisfaction from playing in low limit Omaha 8 and 2-7 TD compared to the hold'em ring games (I've made plenty of donk plays, but I am learning lessons). This is a pretty strong argument for maintaining or increasing time in this area.


This was a very muddling post. Hopefully, my thoughts will become more clear to me in the days to come.

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