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Grinding Hard & The Mental Game of Poker

May 9, 2012 1 comment

Just over a week into the month and things are looking pretty good. My friend Dave and I made a bet with each other to help motivate us to put in some solid volume. My side of the bet is to play 150k hands this month which was already one of my goals but a little added incentive can’t hurt. Dave’s is to play 60k hands (his is lower for various reasons). The bet is won if one of us hits their goal and the other doesn’t; if neither or both make it it’s a wash. At stake is $500 to the winner and $500 to a charity of their choice. I felt comfortable when the bet was made but then went through a few days of “oh noes” when it dawned on me that a) I was already behind pace and b) the most hands I have ever played in a month was around the 130k mark – and that was a December month with SNE waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. Now though I am back feeling comfortable for a few reasons:

  • I have already played 30k hands and while this is slightly behind pace, I only need to get in slightly over 5k hands per day. Totally doable.
  • I have no travel plans for the month and no significant time consuming events coming up.
  • I’m feeling really good about my game and my health both physically and mentally – this is one month I don’t envision getting burned out in.
MTD May 9th 2012

Month to Date

Going into a bit more detail on that last point – I have been eating exceptionally healthy for the last few days and plan to cut out alcohol entirely for the rest of the month. Both of these add up to having far more poker energy and will help me stay alert at the tables for longer. In addition to this I have been working my way through The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler. It’s a fantastic book. It’s not the easiest read – in fact I have hadThe Mental Game of Poker it downloaded on my iPad for a few months and it took my most recent and most concerted effort to get the book to stick. It’s not a book that you can just read cover to cover and expect to get help out of. There are exercises, writing tools, processes and learning models that require constant work. It’s worth it.

I now begin every poker session with a short warm-up which constitutes of getting myself into the right state of mind and looking over some pre-written notes about my overall game plan. I end sessions with a short cool down which is logging my results into a spreadsheet with a few ratings on my play and comments of the session. I focus more on keeping my attention on the tables and not on twitter, skype or reddit. 2p2 being down is certainly helping in this regard. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what is possible by applying the techniques within The Mental Game of Poker and am already noticing a marked improvement in my play. My results have been pretty good too but as they are subject to great variance I am learning to apply less weighting on day to day results and more on how well I play.

In other news it’s that time of year again at PokerStars and the SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) is upon us. Day 3 has just completed and I’ve only played two events – but all the omaha ones are yet to come and I don’t plan to miss any of them. I’ll make another post detailing my schedule a bit more. I also get to host two events as a part of my role as a part of team online – I will be hosting event #24 PLO 1R1A ($11/$109/$1,050) and event #36 PLO 6-max ($55/$530/$5,200). The structure is great in that anyone can give the SCOOP a shot starting out with their low events – so jump in and I’ll see you at the final table!

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Poker Update: April Roundup + May Goals

May 2, 2012 2 comments

It’s been too long since my last one of these. April was a pretty good month all things considered. I almost exclusively played 2/4 and 3/6 and while I didn’t run too well, things could certainly have been worse. I felt like I was playing really well and my game is as good as it has ever been.

MTD April 2012

I’m going into May wanting it to be an epic month – mostly in terms of volume but hopefully with results to follow. Day 1 got off to a great start with me putting in almost 8k hands – not a pace I expect to sustain but I would be happy with anything north of 5k/day average for the month. On that note I should come up with some goals. I was reading an article earlier that mentioned a person is considerably more likely to follow through with goals they set if a) they are tangible (ie “I will play 150k hands” and not “I will play more”) and b) if there is a sense of accountability. That accountability can come from anywhere – a bet with a friend, a training partner, friends/family or in my case, the blogosphere. The thought behind it is that if you put your goals out there and have other people know what they are you are far more likely to follow through and succeed because there is an inherent desire within people to want to please others / not disappoint others. So, on that note, goals!

  • 150k hands of poker
  • 8 poker videos (5-6 for UltimateGrinders and 2-3 for PokerStrategy)
  • Follow through with C25K – I’ve been out of shape and inactive for too long and this seems like a good way to get going again

That’s it. I’ve found making too many goals is unrealistic and results in me trying to spread myself too thin and ending up not getting anything done. If I can do the above 3 i’ll be very happy and will look at adding something new for June.

Hope everyone else had a good April and I wish you all good luck for May 🙂

Categories: Poker Tags: , , ,

PokerStars Team Online!

March 30, 2012 8 comments

This post is coming from a very good place – I have been asked to become a part of Team PokerStars – Specifically the “Team Online” subdivision (I accepted, naturally). This has been a goal of mine for a long time now – originally it was to be sponsored by a website and then it became more specific to be sponsored by Stars. Part of the reason they chose me is because of this blog and the following it has gathered, so a very big thank you to everyone reading this right now. I must say that when I began this blog I had dreams of it becoming large enough to garner notice but it was always more of a pipe dream than something that seemed realistic.

I’m honoured and humbled to have been asked to be a part of PokerStars Team Online and will do my very best to represent my position with the site both here in the Australia & New Zealand region as well as around the rest of the world both online and off.

I was asked to answer a few questions regarding this Team Online assignment and I think snippets of the answers will be posted on the PokerStars.com Blog but I’ll post the full responses here for those interested in what becoming a part of team online means to me + what I hope to achieve being on the team:

PokerStars Team Online

1. How do you feel about becoming a member of Team PokerStars Online?
I feel incredibly humbled and honoured to have been chosen to be a part of Team PokerStars Online. It has been a dream of mine for a while now and to actually see it come true is an incredible feeling.

 

2. What do you hope to bring to the game of poker in ANZ?
Currently the main game of poker is No Limit Hold’Em with PLO being a distant second. It is like this in most places in the world but I would like to close the gap between the two and bring more popularity to the wonderful game of PLO. I truly believe that the game is more fun, complex, interesting and challenging and that all poker players should learn to play it.

 

3. What can we expect from you in 2012?
In 2012 I hope to continue to advance as a poker player putting in a lot of volume on PokerStars.com eventually leading up to reaching SNE for the third year in a row. I’d love to work away from the tables as well on increasing the popularity of PLO both in the ANZ region and worldwide.

 

4. How do you think your blog readers will react to the signing?
My blog readers have been incredibly supportive ever since its creation over a year ago. I believe they will be happy for me and eager to see what I can and will do with my new position as a part of the team. I appreciate and value the support of my blog readers incredibly highly.

 

5. If the public should know one thing about Roy Bhasin the man, what would it be? And how about GodlikeRoy the poker player?

 

As a man it would be that I am always eager to try new things and expand my horizons. Whether it be travelling to a new place, eating a new type of food, attempting a new activity or anything in-between. Much in the same veign as that the one thing about me as a poker player is that I am always trying to adapt and am open-minded about all forms and types of poker. I will play try any variant, any format (tournament, cash, SNG) and any number of players (FR, 6max, HU) as well as all ranges of starting stack sizes. I find this approach to poker more interesting and it allows me to stay fresh at all times.  Basically, I just love poker.
So there you have it! As you can imagine this is an incredibly exciting time in my life and a great opportunity for me. I’ll be making a few more posts in the upcoming weeks about what else I have been up to over here along with a well overdue poker update. There is also an upcoming promotion for those in Australia that will be revealed in the coming weeks which I will be a part of – stay tuned 🙂 Hope everyone is well! Cheers!
Edit: Here’s a link to the article on the PokerStars Blog

A quick poker / SNE update

November 11, 2011 3 comments

It’s been exactly a month since my last poker update so now seems like as good a time as any to make a progress update.

Overall things have been going well — there was a 2 or so week breakeven period where nothing was working but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. VPP-wise I am coming along at a nice pace:

VPP Count

With just under 200k to go I am still on pace to hit SNE right around the middle of December. I’ve been putting in some big days recently getting up to 8k some days which is really helping the chase. I’ll be taking this weekend off to visit my parents back in Brisbane with Puneet but once I get home it’ll be full steam ahead until I get VPP 1,000,000.

My graph since my last update:

Last Month

Hope everyone is doing great — especially those in the same shoes as me pulling into the SNE finish line! GL all.

An Updating of Le Poker

October 11, 2011 4 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a poker update in here so I thought it was about time. Ever since getting back from the US/Mehico I hit the ground running and was in ultra grind mode. The first few days getting back into the rhythm was a little slow and then for a solid month and a half I found the boomswitch and was unstoppable. September saw reality hit (as it always does) and I had my first solid downswing/breakeven stretch which lasted the majority of the month. I’m not unconvinced that it wasn’t coincidental to have fallen throughout the WCOOP – playing all those tourneys messed with my regular grinding schedule a bit. Nonetheless September, the WCOOP and my bad run are all over now and October is seeing better results, more hands, more VPPs and things starting to look peachy keen again.

Graph since getting back:

Post-Mehico

Post-Mehico

Regarding SNE I need 329,264.70 VPPs by years end to make it which works out to roughly 4k hands a day. On a good day I can bang out 6-7k so i’m not worried, and my plan to finish by November’s end / early Dec is still full steam ahead.

With no more online tourneys or major trips planned for the next couple of months I intend to settle into a nice grinding groove. I’ve gotten comfortable playing 16 tables again (I had backed down to 8-12 for a while) and have put in a couple of monster sessions over the last two days and felt very comfortable within them.

A word on game quality of late: My post-black Friday predictions are right on track:

Medium Term

The games will get tougher. All of the non-US pros who withdrew their roll with start to re-deposit (likely with a lot of caution, but they will be back) and will resume playing as normal. On top of this we will get a non-insignificant number of US pros who relocate and are able to jump back into the games. No fish is ever going to move their life to be able to play poker. No fish is ever going to set up a VPN to access the games. A lot of regs won’t either, but some will. Those who make the most money are more likely to do this, and those are usually the best players. I don’t see this having any impact on the games until after the WSOP (when most people are planning on moving) but there will probably be a time when we look back and miss the “pre black friday glory days”. The difference isn’t going to be as notable as pre UIEGA and post UIEGA but it will be there.

The games have certainly gotten tougher and it Blacklisted at Hop Sings is almost entirely due to more of the US pros relocating after the WSOP. I won’t name names (I don’t want —> barking at me)  but any reg can see the abundance of “Canadian” and “Mexican” mass multi-tabling players that weren’t there for that glorious 6mth period from April – Sept. It’s tough to say whether or not the games are better or worse than they were pre-BF, I think it’s pretty close. Anyway all this means is that everyone needs to stay on top of their game if they want to keep up. I’m feeling better than ever about my game and my results are mirroring those sentiments — as long as you keep studying, game select, work on tilting less and play your A game then increasing game toughness should be considered a welcomed challenge. Poker’s no fun playing against droolers — sure, it’s more profitable, but there’s nothing like battling it out with an aggressive dynamic against a bunch of regs. Ofc everyone would still prefer the former situation but that’s unreasonable and at the end of the day we all love the game so when things change it’s time to step up and change with them and embrace the challenge. GL all.

August Roundup + September Goals

September 1, 2011 8 comments

August has been my busiest month of the year to date in regards to poker. I played a total of 208.61 hours (gotta get that .61 in there) which at 6-12 tables comes to a nice even 116,665 hands. For the most part I felt like I played very well although there were definitely some periods of sub-optimal play, but they are becoming farther and fewer between.

August 2011 BBs Graph

BBs Graph

I basically ran like god at 2/4 and then mediocre to very bad at every other level. VPP-wise I came in just short of my goal which was 150k:

SNE Status 1st Sep 2011

SNE Status

That’s okay though — extrapolating forward if I can sustain the same pace for the next 3 months I will still finish the end of November as SNE and can have a breezy December.

September Goals:

  • 120k Hands
  • 150k VPPs
  • 100 BIs
  • Win a WCOOP Bracelet, one time?
  • Start making videos for PokerStrategy again
  • Eat better / exercise more / blah blah blah

That just about sums it up. Also I should mention that I am not taking any more students for full time coaching as of right now. If you want to have your database analysed or only want 1-2 hours then we could perhaps work something out but this month is going to be a busy one with SNE grinding + WCOOP + everything else.

Hope everyone else had a great August and has a good September!

Here’s a bonus couple of pics of something I’ve been cooking up a bit lately:

Chicken thighs rubbed with a dry mix of herbs & spices

Chicken thighs rubbed with a dry mix of herbs & spices

Then pan fried

Then pan fried w/ some garlic and served as is

#omnomnom

WCOOP [World Championship of Online Poker] 2011 – PLO Edition

August 12, 2011 8 comments

So it’s that time of year again, the WCOOP is in town. For those of you who don’t know the WCOOP is the World Championship of Online Poker – a series of tournaments held on PokerStars that spans approximately 3 weeks in early Spring (or Autumn depending which side of the world you’re on) each year. Historically it has consistently created the largest prize pools of any online tournament at each variant of poker, usually breaking its own records year after year.

This year will go against that trend due to the effects of Black Friday – as with all other tournaments Stars has cut down the guaranteed prizepools. The main event has gone from $10m GTD to $5m GTD and all other events have been chopped by varying percentages. I still think it’s going to be a huge series, and as usual almost all guarantees will be exceeded.

As part of my package for making Supernova Elite in 2010 I am owed a $5.2k ticket in the main event. Given it’s NLHE though and I much prefer to play omaha, they are allowing me to instead choose to play x events of lower value where the total buyin of those events = $5,200. So without further ado I present to you my schedule for this year’s WCOOP (also note this includes every PLO event so it’s a good reference for any PLO players):

2011 WCOOP Schedule

Egad look at those start times! They’ve changed the starting time from being US friendly to being Euro friendly which is probably a good decision as a whole but it sure makes for some early mornings for us Aussies. C’est la vie.