The best losing session ever

Sean OSean O Red Chipper Posts: 298 ✭✭
I just wanted to share a few thoughts from my last session, which highlighted a lot of silly mental leaks in my game. This is more a confessional than asking for help or advice, but if anyone has some I'll gladly take it. I also thought there may be people auto piloting through these leaks like I was, in which case I hope this is helpful. Here goes:

1. I can't play at night. I get tired, but I don't realize it because of the sensory overload of the casino. Last night, I sat down at about 9pm, and pretty soon I had a good (I think) gameplan which centered around a very bad,loose, predictable player. For an hour the plan was working, not as much as I'd like because the cards weren't cooperating, but still. Then about 10:30 I gave away a bunch of money to this guy when I absolutely should have known I was beat. But my numb brain figured top pair top kicker deserved to win against this guy. Sure, I raised to 5bb preflop with AK and he called with 42o, and the flop was A24, so there's some dumb luck involved, but I made it dumber. I hate that I get stupid at night, because I have young kids and a job that fill the rest of the time, but it seems to be true. I'll have to find other times to get my table time in.
2. Listening to music makes me detached. I've noticed whenever I wear sunglasses (in general I mean, I never do at the table) it sorta feels like I'm watching a movie about life rather than being part of it. That's happening when I listen to music while playing. I tried listening to music a few times to drown out some of the brain clutter of the card room, but I think it drowns out the useful info and keeps the clutter. This is an observation I've been thinking about for a few sessions, where I definitely feel more "in the game" without earbuds. I'll leave them at home from now on.
3. I get weak-tight with a short stack. I think the psychology is that busting out feels like a failure, even if I get the money in when I'm good. So I play like my stack is my life savings, even though the ATM is 50 feet away. Strangely, I think the number of chips (not just the value) triggers this for me. When I reloaded last night, the dealer tray was pretty empty so he gave me mostly $25 chips for my 1-3 game. And I'm pretty sure 16 green chips is different psychologically than 80 red ones for me. That's just dumb. At a bankroll level, I like having a dedicated poker stash that goes up or down but never goes to 0. I was able to do that back when I was learning poker 10 years ago, but now that I'm getting back into it, I haven't gotten there yet and it frustrates me, even though that's irrational.
4. I go on tilt. But it's not the chip spewing, card throwing type, it's the get embarrassed and self-absorbed type that blocks out new info so I can focus on my bad play or bad luck from hands I already played.

Thanks for reading.


  • SliverOverlordSliverOverlord Red Chipper Posts: 323 ✭✭✭
    Great Job identifying all these spots Sean! Without identifying them, you have no hope of fixing them.

    A couple suggestions, as far as music goes, I find the same problem on some occasions, and in those occasions I change my music to a genre with no lyrics, Jazz, techno or classical. Sometimes not having the option to get lost in lyrics and mentally singing along is a pretty important change.

    A trick I've heard some live players try is buying 600$ at the cash window for a 300max buyin, pocketing the 3 extra black chips, and topping off as they see fit. No need to get up to go to the ATM and you can set easily set stop losses to always be playing with the max. However maybe after losing a pot, walking over to the ATM to top off your stack could help you with tilt.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Regarding your number 3, there's some interesting psychology involved. I think the way I know it's purely psychological is from my days of playing limit poker. A lot of players will buy in in a limit game for like 20 Big Bets. That's fine in a limit game, because realistically you're never going to get to bottom of that stack in one hand. In other words, for all practical purposes, if you're playing $10/20 limit holdem, then a $400 stack is effectively the same thing as a $4,000 stack. This is obviously not the case in a NL game.

    The problem is it gets chipped down, and people don't reload (which would be a pain to constantly be doing anyway). So you see silly things like people having an $70 stack in a $10/20 limit game. Maybe not silly for them if they have a stop limit sometimes, but the thing is they just keep buying in for $100 or $200, so this just keeps happening!

    Anyway long story short, I like to buy in at a $10/20 game for $2,000. This puts a healthy stack in front of me that I probably couldn't go through on my worst bad beat days. It makes me feel like my stack is basically irrelevant and I'm just playing poker with unlimited bullets.

    Doesn't work that way in NL, but thinking about it in terms of limit helps me understand the psychology of it.
  • Sean OSean O Red Chipper Posts: 298 ✭✭
    Thanks for the thoughts. I like the idea of buying some extra black chips, it'll feel like money already in play, even if it's in my pocket. Just the idea of pulling more benjies out of my wallet gives me that " I lost" feeling, so it's worth a try.

    On the music topic, sadly I already moved to instrumental, so I think it just doesn't have the desired effect. My wife gets mad at me because when I'm concentrating on something, I literally can't hear anything, including her ;). Typical single-threaded male brain I guess. I wonder if the opposite is true too - maybe my concentration is easily broken by sounds. Does anyone try noice cancellation without music?

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