Ask RizenAug 01, 2009 – 03:08AM
I had a lot of fun at my tournament on Lock Poker. Congrats to the two winners of free coaching! We're going to be doing more things like this in the future. In fact next Wed we'll be doing two tables of full ring no limit cash (one at higher stakes and one at lower stakes) and giving out some free sessions then too. Download Lock Poker and play with me next Wed. More details soon to follow.
Q: I have played poker regularly for about 6 years. I have read all of the major poker books including yours. I have a good grip on the math as well as the strategy and psychology of poker. I have never been able to break through with a Multitable win larger than $2000(Online and Live). I have played at least 1 event in the WSOP each of the past 5 years as well as multiple SnG satellites at the RIO. I do not blow money or have a gambling problem. I play within my bankrolls allowance and never found the money to be an issue. I recently decided that I have been wasting my time with poker. I spent a couple thousand on the first part of the WSOP and other events (Venetian, Binions). I finally cashed in Event #4 which was my first WSOP event cash ever. All that being said I have decided to quit poker. What is your opinion on how much of your life should be poker related? Would you say if you don't LOVE it consistenly then you shouldn't spend your time playing? There are times when poker just tortures you, getting your money in good and losing over and over. Im struggling with my decision to leave poker behind for a new hobby but feel like there is so much more to life than poker.
A: I edited this one a little bit to leave out some personal information. First off, there is A LOT more to life than poker. I play professionally and I wouldn't rank poker as the #1 thing in my life, although it would probably fall in the top 5. For 99% of recreational/hobby poker players out there, the game should primarily be about fun. Ideally if you can at least break even or maybe make a few bucks on your hobby, that's great. At the end of the day though it should be fun. If you're not having fun, you shouldn't play, period. I know this sounds simple, but also re-read your message. You use phrases like 'wasting my time' and 'tortures you'. Obviously if you feel this way then it's not fun, and probably unhealthy. I think at the very least taking a break is probably the right thing for you. Like any other hobby, you can come back at some point in the future if you want.
Imagine your hobby were golf. At first you really get into it, going to the driving range every day, playing 72 holes a weekend. Well after 6 months or so of that, you might start to get frustrated every time you don't hit your tee shot on the fairway, or disgusted every time you make a double bogey. That doesn't mean you should quit golf completely, but it means it's not fun for you and you need to step back and take things a little less seriously. I would say that you should really only play poker if it's enjoyable for you, and when it's not enjoyable and starts having a negative impact on your life you should take a break or stop altogether. I am fortunate enough to still love the game, but I even go through patches where I am frustrated and take a healthy break.
Q: Do you do any personalized instruction? Private lessons, mentoring, tutoring, etc?
A: Yes I do, but right now I almost have more than I can handle. We've been doing some promotions on Lock Poker given away free instruction, but as of right now I'm not really adding any new students. If you want you can e-mail me (email@example.com) and I'll put you on a waiting list.
Q: I've just started playing the big online tournaments on Sundays (played strictly sit n gos for a long time). I did pretty well early on just playing my game and had a stack around average as the money bubble approached. At this point, the blinds/antes got so high, that it essentially became all in or fold almost every hand. For example, in a 100k guaranteed last Sunday, the blinds were at 500/1000 with antes, and the average stack at the money bubble was around 17k. I would say about 80% of the hands or so someone moved in preflop. Is this the correct play at this point? I tried normal raises to 3k a couple times and someone pushed all in every time and I was forced to fold. I then ended up shortstacked and elminated shortly after. I guess my question is whether this is normal at this time, and I should only play hands I'm willing to play all in preflop? Or if this tournament/my table was abnormal and I should continue to try to play my game at this point in the tournament? I know there is no real cut and dry answer, but if you could provide any insight from your experience it would be greatly appreciated.
A: Well, if the average stack is only 17 big blinds then moving all in pre-flop probably isn't a bad play, but that doesn't mean it's correct. If you are at a table like you describe, where every 3x raise is getting shoved on, then yes. You should only be playing hands you'll be willing to go all in with or moving all in yourself as a steal. But just moving all in in every tournament like this would be a mistake. The table dictates what you can do. If the table is letting you get away with 3x steals, then 3x stealing is a far better plan than open shoving because you'll be able to methodically build a stack with lower risk. If the table is not, then you must get chips other ways, which can include moving all in. You must always be adapting to the way the table is playing and making the appropriate adjustments. In this particular case you describe, you're pretty much going to have to pick spots to move all in and know you're going to play big pots.