Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Correspondence With My Horse, Drew Chapman

About a week a half ago, I decided for the first time ever that I would back a player.  I have long been opposed to this idea due to the fact that winning players shouldn't need to be staked and, of course, the awful experiences of numerous other people.  This was different, though.  First of all, Drew never wanted anything more from me than advice, and secondly, he was already a winning player.  Though I won't give out the exact details of the arrangement, I will say that he has a strong winning record in the $8 HUSNG's on the Cake Network, which you can read at his blog, Heads Up Chicago.

After having some correspondence that night with Drew, I realized A) he is probably ready to step it up, perhaps into the $25's and B) that it would be a fun project on my part.  Partaking in this new field started me thinking on what normally goes wrong with such agreements, namely backing losing players and stressing their results.  I feel that these problems can be eliminated by putting someone into higher volume and/or bigger games provided that they are already winning, yet not properly rolled and also that the staking operation should be worthwhile as a recreational cost.  After all, if you are ever stressing the results of your horses, you are just playing above your roll!  I also believe too many people are involved in staking because they are trying to get rich.  I believe that other than the legendary staking operation of Sheets and Bax, you should do it with the goal in mind of creating a small supplementary income stream.

All that being said, I strongly urge anyone who is interested to check out Drew's Blog.  Though it is early in the making, it is very clear that he is going places in this game and the quality of the writing and analysis is just plain excellent.  Currently he has hit a rough patch and looking for advice on how to break out of it, though I think he has already figured it out.

Hey man. Thanks a lot for your encouraging comments on the blog, that means a lot.

Things are going okay. I still haven't completely "recovered" as it were from the slump of the last week-two, but things are looking up a bit. I had a decent session the other day, made about $60 in 3 hours. Of course, later that day I lost about half of that back in the course of two games, but it was at least, finally, a winning session in which nothing went too seriously or bizzare-ly awry.

In terms of the 25s, my record for this week is 8 wins/9 losses, so not great but not horrible. I've been good about employing focus and judgement, which has helped. 

I played a little recreationally last night. I have discovered a new way to play poker purely for fun when I'm not concerned about profitability or over-analysis of my game [read=when I'm tired/want a beer]: don't play hold 'em. Specifically, I hit up the micro and low stakes 8-game SNGs on Stars, which can be tons of fun, as I really enjoy razz and 2-7 draw without having the same degree of technical knowledge of those games as I have with HE...
Anyway, tomorrow I get back on the horse (no pun intended). Perhaps I'll have a little pre-game study session with Moshman's book and/or some videos to prime my brain, as well as possibly some physical exercise. I have been experimenting with such tactics to see how they affect my play, to some success; specifically, I've noticed that when I've spent part of the day out being mentally & physically active in other ways, my game benefits... I will let you know how things shape up. Thanks again for all your support!


Having games that you play for "fun" is always important.  Ironically, when you are not playing for money, per se, you are often encouraged to try those things that you always wondered about that might be able to push your game to that next level, yet the fear of "playing incorrectly" (according to what we we THINK we know) often paralyzes our actions.  Besides, when playing for fun when are never auto-piloting the decisions and we actually become much more mentally active than we normally are when trying to play "well."


Something just occurred to me, and I wanted to run it by you. I think that i've been thinking about this stake the wrong way, and I'll tell you why. So far I've been treating the $25 games too much like the $5s & $10s; that is, I game select for opponents with a negative ROI, and play them with the same mindset and in basically the same way as I play my lower-stake, & mostly lower-skill, opponents, because I play them during the same grind sessions through which I try to eke out my profit. This raises two problems: 1) I'm not in the right mindset. I'm grinding, mostly playing ABC poker because that's mostly all that's needed to beat the smaller games. This means I'm not using these $25s to really push myself and learn how to play the "new" game at the higher level, and I'm leaving myself vulnerable to opponents who are playing a more nuanced game/whose focus is fresher/etc. And, 2) the losses that I take from the $25s have a more pronounced psychological effect on my session, for the reasons I mentioned in my previous blog posting. If I win $30 over the course of 4 matches and then lose most of it in one, the degrading effect on my confidence and momentum is significant, and probably makes me less effective. Perhaps if I played on your stake in exclusive sessions, or otherwise separated these matches from my regular grind, it would have an overall positive effect. Thoughts? I should prob turn this into a blog post...


Hmmm....since you are very careful about game selection, there is no way of being certain that the fish in the bigger game are any better or worse than those in your regular game.  One thing that is for certain is that since the losses do affect you more acutely at the higher level, some part of you must be playing a little more weak-tight.  If this is true, then your opponents will be playing a proportionally more aggressive game than yourself, making them appear to be tougher, though it might only be you who is getting weaker.  I strongly suggest that you stick with your normal game, but if a player is doing something that you find confusing or frustrating, it is best just to move on.  Even though you are feeling down at the moment, you will adjust as your pain threshold increases.    

I do agree with the idea of game and stake segregation.  It is a known fact that when playing multiple stakes side by side, the larger game affects your judgment and you will pay less attention to the smaller game.  Rather than reiterate an article that has already been executed greatly, I will turn you over this link at Pocket Fives when it has already been explained, particularly Jennifear's comments at the bottom.


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