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Today is an amazing day for my poker game, I will put some stats at the end for anyone interested. I literally can not lose a hand today and the cards keep coming one after the other. Today I have been playing micro-stakes cash tables and low stakes SnGs on ACR (WPN) and it was the second time a very strange thing happened while I was playing. This happened once before for about 30 minutes only, but today it has been happening all day and I can only describe it as some kind of ZONE but with very specific things happening regarding my play and thought process.

Of course I have heard of being "in the zone" before, and I have been in the zone many times doing certain things like playing guitar, painting a car, bowling, writing code, racing gokarts etc. but never like this playing poker.

I noticed the cards were coming in good early today during a $3.00 9 max regular SnG. A higher stake for me which I was playing only because I had done well in a bunch of other $1.50 9 max regular SnGs earlier so I took the shot and took first, eventualy moving up to the $5 game with the same success.

The day and the cards got better and better and this weird phenomenon took over my playing awareness. First I noticed that the HUD was in my way and had to shut it down. Then I stopped thinking about opening ranges. Then I lost track of bet sizing. I figured I am just among the fish at a good table but it spread to my other games with regs that usually beat me at least half the time. I am now multi-tabling 3 games (soon to be 5 and I usually play one game at a time).

Then I realized the strangest thing, my strategy on all games turned into playing just about every hand, or so it seemed (71%). Now I am just trying to figure out how best to get the other players to put their money on the table so I could take it. It really felt amazing and I wondered how many good players experience this often?

After a good hour of straights, flushes, set after set, aces, kings, all colors matching holy crap! I had to make some adjustments to make sure I was getting all the value I could from my lucky streak. Added a couple more games to my screen and the cards continued to fall in my favor for the better part of three hours.

I mean I was not even concerned with my own cards, only what will make these people part with more money/chips. Once I realized what I was doing, I toned it down a bit get more value from this great streak of cards or luck or whatever it was that was happening and the end result (if even over at this point, only stopped playing to take a break and write this, get some food/water).

So I guess my question is, can I expect more of this?

Doe sit have something to do with all the work I have been putting into my game?

or is it a perfect storm of luck, variance, fish and I better buy a T-shirt because it will never happen again?

I look forward to any of your experiences with this type of "in the zone" playing. So, my bank roll was entirely depleted this morning when I started playing down to a few dollars of the original $50 I deposited 29 days ago and now is up to around $50. Stupid pocket change for most of you but a great accomplishment for me as I have never come back from nothing before, always a slow gradual declining chart regarding winnings.

As an overall update regarding me becoming a winning player, I have definitely leveled off my winnings graph chart. I think for the month I am at worst, a break even player which is huge for me. I think the difference between me and a winning player is very little and I am tweaking my game daily. Here are the things I did this month to improve my game:

Watched any videos I could find created by Assassinatto, I think his non-poker videos helped me even more than his great poker instruction videos. If you have not seen him in the DFW Rap Battle vs Plan Nein, you are really missing something great. Not often you see a prof. poker player putting themselves out there like this without being hammered - very inspiring to me.

Wrote a detailed personal email to Assassinato thanking him for the videos and shared a bit about my game/journey, how he inspired me. Even if he does not read it, I made the effort and shit like this affects your game and state of mind.

Sharkscope searched and studied most of my SnG opponents, looked at their game habits, stats, ability compared to mine etc. got a visual of what kind of players they really are. Kept that visual with me as I played them.

Looked through better players newsfeeds on P5 went through their cashing histories, then sharkscope charts, this is enlightening and inspiring to see how well less-capable players do because of game choice and other factors, & how poorly some great players do due to game choice.

Followed my strict bankroll management plan (except for todAy)

Stopped playing when I am doing poorly

Telling myself I can fold any hand any time without stress

Accepted PokerTracker4 data is incomplete and incorrect when using on WPN or ACR - I still use it for some basic data mining and the up side is that I am not half as bad of a poker player as I thought originally. PT4 had not logged/imported my (correct) winnings (among other important elements) for hundreds of SnGs. Check your PT4 data, my data had a 76% error rate. Only way to remedy is to manually enter all the data. I inquired about this, they blame others, say it is impossible to fix, this is in spite of the correct data being imported by numerous other sources/apps like here on P5, sharkscope etc. I'm over it, it's not scottish, it's crap.

Tried to help a couple people in the P5 forums

Shared some hand histories with a friend and studied a lot on my own through replayer

Studied other players lives outside of the cardroom via blogs, news, other research - this help me not feel so alienated from better players. They are just like you and me.

Till next time - and I am headed back for more taking candy from babies...

Can I be a winning player? Perhaps a more realistic goal is to become a break even player, or maybe even a losing-less player. Either way after a couple years of playing online almost daily, I am a losing player in spite of giving it my best shot.

I have been using Poker Tracker (collecting hand history, looking at charts, stats, leak tracker) to try and identify my leaks and even found a particular game that I was in fact profitable ($3 $5 DON SnG) but that game is no longer available on ACR. Becoming a better player all around has to be the key to me getting out of the loser club. I thought a little accountability might help me so I will set some goals here and contribute my experiences as I try to learn my way out of losing status.

Today ACR seems to be down and is the reason I ended up here in an effort to make good use of the playing down time. I usually play 9 max or 6 max regular SnG @ $1.50 + $.15 as well as the Big 10 MTTs @ $2, $3 $5, and other low stakes MTTs under $10 buy-in.

I have also played quite a bit of the $3, $5, $10, and $15 SnG 6max and 9 max regular and turbo but as of late I have been practicing bankroll management and staying at 1% - 3% buy-in rule which keeps me playing the $1.65 SnGs and under $5 MTTs.

After 600 or 700 tournaments over two years, I am down about 1K. I have had a ton of fun playing and learning but would like to be a winning player or at least find out if I can in fact be a winning player.

I have done most everything one can do as far as research and study of the game but where I fall short is in the following areas:

  • Sharing hands with others - my excuse is that it seems intrusive unless I have something to offer (working on this). Not sure how best to do this efficiently
  • Coaching - I have had none but would absolutely consider investing in it
  • Life balance - these past two years were some of the hardest of my life and must have an effect on my game
  • Self-review of Hand History - just started to do this through PT4
  • Using PT4 - I have been collecting the data and using the HUD but not using the tools to their fullest potential, this starts now though.
  • Math - could be better at calculating and understanding some of the on-the-fly calculations needed to be a winning player. I can calculate pot odds and outs usually

My latest changes to my game:

  • Increased Positional awareness
  • Increased Bet size/stack size/pot size awareness
  • Folding more to 3bets, Cbets, turn bets, river bets
  • Reducing my VPIP
  • Reducing my overall Aggression Factor

Also looking for new books and online materials, reviewing old materials, try to participate more on forums and find some real-world poker-friendly people and places. Scheduling a monthly trip to casino to play the MTT and $1/$2 cash table.

Your feedback and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

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