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Hi poker community,

Reaching out to find out when enough's enough. I've been playing and studying poker for 13 years, and I am a poor man as the result. I've been stuck playing baby buy ins my entire career, because I can't break through. All of my poker friends and acquaintances have had some sort of significant success while I am dragged down by the fish. I'm contemplating life, and how much I feel I'm wasting away trying to succeed playing the game I hate at all times. Every opportunity for me to have a chance at something ends up in disaster. Over the years, I think and talk about poker tricking myself like I have some sort of grasp on the game as I watch my friends build their bankrolls. Mine is depleted for the 10th time. I'm currently down because I just played a dinky $6 satellite with one seat awarded to the million dollar guarantee on ACR in September. There was a consolation prize of $72. I made the final table and got to 4 handed with 380,000 at 4k/8k with the next closest player having 100k. I was positive that with a stack like that, like I always see, the cards would go my way while I played my best. But once we got 4 handed, I proceeded to lose EVERY SINGLE HAND until I was eliminated. The other 3 players had been playing extremely terribly during the rest of the tournament. The player on my right was down to 1 BB with 10 players left and hadn't played a hand AT ALL for almost an hour. Then he starts sticking it in every hand with trash and hits everything. The hand that started my fall was when said player raised the btn to 23k. I moved all in from the SB with K9hh knowing that he could be raising with a monster in that spot hoping to induce, but, his play style wasn't weighted that way. I figured he'd fold all of his marginal hands as if he had intended to get it in, he would just shove his hands to keep his FE. however, after raising and facing my all in bet, he calls it off with the A2o and flops an A. WHY? Why isn't he just shoving there? I'll tell you why. Because he's a fucken donkey. Then, why is he calling? I'll tell you why. He's calling because the thought in his head either "whatever, I don't care" or "I has an ace!". That's who I'm fucking losing to day in and day out. The next hand, I'm dealt 55 on the btn, and shove and the BB wakes up with JJ and cripples me. The blinds hit me, and on the next orbit, I shove A6s from the SB for my last 9 bigs and get called by the BB who has 11 BB's and has been snug while he's holding K8o. Naturaly, his K hits the turn and eliminates me. After, I'm ready to end it all, poker and life. I feel sick, over a fucking $6 satty I thought I had locked up. I have a successful business and a stunningly intelligent and gorgeous fiancee, and I want to kill myself because I can't win a $6 satty having had a major CL 4 handed. I'm trying to earn extra money for us, and I figure at some point, my game would turn around based on my skill and understanding of the game. But both of those things are meaningless when my opponents get everything they need when it counts to beat me. This scenario hasn't stopped for me EVER. My hands don't hold, I can't get folds when I'm supposed to, my bluffs never work. I've bubbled 5 times as many tournaments as I've cashed, and I know for a fact that when I get it in in those spots, I'm rarely in bad shape, and almost always, dominating. The players who call me are the worst players at my table. Something makes them decide at that moment, to gamble, completely abandon any logical thought, and spin the poker wheel. They always win.

My finacee sadly has to deal with my horrible mood all the time. I have made her watch while I play, so I have a witness to the horror. She has watched on countless occasions while I find that fish and get him to stick it in while I have the goods only to watch him runner runner me, suck out with his 2 outer on the river, or straight up flop me dead with garbage. As much as I've learned, I watch the same players win massive tournaments, watching their KK hold against Ax, then flopping set over set, then making the nut flush, and WINNING. While I'm losing to Borgata Jack when he defends his BB with 72o for funsies, then donk shoves against my AA and back doors his straight. I watch my AA get cracked by the BB shoving over my btn raise with his QQ and spiking. I watch my AA get cracked when the BB decides to defend 63hh, flop a FD, and call my 20 BB shove and runner runner's his straight. If I don't get folds, I lose, plain and simple, and for some reason, people love not folding their trash.

I CAN'T WIN. It's complete BS when all you successful players out there talk about your thought processes about how to play your hands when you can't lose. If you're unlucky, it doesn't matter how well you play. For all of you who say you can avoid being unlucky by playing well and that those of us who think poker is all about luck have much to learn, screw yourself. You are lucky, the cards go your way when you need them to and that's why you've won. You make a hero call here or there, you get a bluff through. But when you need it to work out for you, it has. And here I am, feeding the fish because nothing works out for me....for 13 years.

I want to be successful at poker. I want my $ back that it has taken from me. I want to punish the players I'm supposed to punish. I want to be a poker beast, and have always wanted that. I make a great move against a fish and lose and get criticized by "better players", and watch the players who win have their praises sung for making such a good move when it works out for them in the same scenarios, same thoughts. I'm sick of seeing the top pros win and win and win. I watch them play. They're lucky. Their hands hold. That's the only difference between them and me. They win and I lose, that's the only difference.

My conclusion about poker is that you can study all you want, play all you can, but if you're unlucky, that's the bottom line. I should have such an easy life at this point from poker. But even with all I have, I feel worthless. And if you say "just keep getting in those spots and eventually it will go your way", straight up suck it. I don't know how many more spots I can get it in good. Poker sucks. I wish I had never learned about it.

Just getting back here to remind myself about some feelings regarding hands and pro advice. Waited for spots tonight in some of the small buy in tourneys on merge and got it in good in all. Each time I had my opponents completely dominated and couldn't come away from it with the best result. In talking to the more successful players, I am reassured that things will turn around and my bad luck is attributed to variance. But I feel like I get it in like I'm supposed to in correct spots, and where the pros hold, I lose. I keep hearing that I want that spot, I had my opponent crushed....but it doesn't seem to pan out. Tonight in a hand I was dealt A A on the button with a hyper aggressive, big stack, luck box to my immediate left. A small stack limped in early position and I raised 2.5 x from the button hoping to get a call from Aggro man to my left, and I did and the limper came along as well. The flop came 4 6 7 with 2 hearts. The aggro guy shoved his stack in and the limper shoved for what little holdings he had left. I felt I was ahead of the aggro guy, so I got it in too. I was right, he was holding 2 9 spades, a complete bluff, but the small stack had flopped a set. I only made a small amount on the hand, but am understanding of sets being made, so, wasn't overly disappointed with the outcome of the hand. Had I shoved over the limper's limp, the aggro guy would have released and I would have doubled the limper.

I managed to steal a pot 2 hands later with A 8 suited raising pre and everyone folding. The next hand I was dealt A 8 suited again but folded. Aggro limped in and was shoved on by the button for 6 BB's and aggro called. Aggro had the shover's K 9 crushed holding K J. I was upset when the flop came A K 6 as if I had played the hand, I would have spiked the A and also would have made the nut flush as the board ran out with hearts. Before the hand was played, I went over the reasons I shouldn't attempt to steal again and that if I folded, the exact thing that happened would happen, and it did. I don't know how I feel about those things.... It wasn't a good spot as I had just stolen a pot with a super aggressive player to my left. If he shoved pre i would have had to let it go anyway, so I know it was right to fold pre there. But, what bad timing....

The end of my tournament came just a few hands later Blinds were 1,000/2,000. I'm dealt A K off. An early pos player limps leaving just 750 behind and the player to his left and my immediate right shoves for 18k I have 17.5k and I think about folding for a few seconds. We're 5 spots from the money and I could easily fold my way there. But I know the drill, and that I have to take this spot if I want to start building my stack. The player to my right who shoved had a decently high VPIP and PFR and I was hoping he would be shoving with a hand like K Q or A Q. I made the call. It folded back to the limper who shipped the rest and the hands were exposed;

Limper: A 10 off

Shover: K J off

Me: A K off

I couldn't like this any more. The flop came A J 4 w/2 spades. I have the A of spades. I don't mind if a 10 comes, or a Q as I'm still good against the bigger stack. The turn comes, and of course, it's a J. Another player at the table announces he had a J as well. The river is not the case A and I'm eliminated What an amazing spot right? Pre I'm dominating, flop 'm dominating, and then the miracle 1 outer. This happens to me way too often. It makes me really wonder about how the online pros can manage to win so much. Do they fold there with 9 BB's holding A K at the bubble because their tournament is at risk? From what they've all told me, of course not! It can't be that they are never in those spots during a tournament. I just feel like they win in those spots way more often than I do. It wouldn't have been for my tournament if my A A a few hands before hadn't been slowed by the set of 4's.

Again, when I get feedback from the big time guys, they tell me to keep getting those spots and it will work out. Will it really? I know this much, if 5% more of those hands had gone my way in my 10 years of poker, I'd be in the millions career earnings club. I hate having to stick to the small buy ins hoping to build my online bankroll again.....

Milking the fish

I've been listening to guys analyze their betting during a hand and discussing why certain hands will be folded according to the betting. They talk about people folding middle paired hands, top paired hands with mediocre kickers, straight and flush draws etc.... is this only limited to players who are good? I've been getting crushed by people playing insanely questionable hands in horrible positions and situations and just not folding. I was recently playing a $500 guarantee on Merge, approaching the last 25% of the field (175 down to 40) I was 3rd in chips. I raised pre-flop to 2395, 2.4x the BB from middle position with 8's. The BB called with 10k behind. The flop came K 5 2 rainbow. He checked and I bet 2/3 pot about 4100 and he shoved. I was pretty committed and felt if he had any A paint, suited A, or pair he would have shoved pre, so I called. To my horror he showed K 6 offsuit and took down the hand. I know I should have folded to his raise based on all that I've learned over the past few months, but part of me just had to see what I was losing to. I asked him how he made that call preflop, and he went on to discuss pot odds and that with a raise like that, he would call with any 2 preflop. Herein lies my problem. Aren't I supposed to be holding up against players like this? Aren't those players supposed to play crappy hands and have me hold up? I know I'm going to get sucked out on from time to time....but i always seem to find that guy who decides to not think about anything and hit his hand regardless of the situation and cripple me. Same dude ended up shoving preflop for 19 bigs a few hands later and I called with A 10 suited. He had 9's and of course, he held up. Things like this happened to me all night, yesterday, the day before, the day before that. I guess I just need to fold more? I feel like when I start to question my aggressive play and change my game, I miss huge opportunities to pick up chips. I could use some help here. Hopefully I can get some coaching from a pro or something....

I decided to start up a blog for myself. I don't need any others to read it. I just want to check in every now and then to see how I'm feeling about poker and where I'm at.

I've been playing poker for 10 years now with very little success. Granted I don't play as much as your standard player as I don't live in the immediate area of a casino. AC and Foxwoods are about 2 - 2.5 hours away from me. If I were closer, I probably would be spending more time at either of them.

Anyway, I started as a live player in 2003. I first started visiting Turning Stone in upstate NY. My first cash was in a shootout tournament. I defeated my entire table to make the final table. I ended up placing 3rd in an embarrassing fashion. I was all in pre flop with 88 against A J off. The flop came Q 9 Q. The turn was a 3, and the river was a 9 and I shot my hands up thinking I would be taking the chip lead to find out I had been counterfeit. I think the take was $600 or so. I didn't get to play much after that until 2005. I had read a few poker books and was taking a trip to Fort Myers FL to help my aunt prepare for a hurricane. I found out that there was a casino 40 minutes from her. I entered a tournament there after finishing one of my poker books. It was a $20 buy-in and drew 65 players. I managed to take it down for a gigantic $350 payday. After that, all I wanted to do was play poker. Over the next few years, I tried to get to A.C. as much as possible. It probably averaged out to a weekend every 2 months or so. My game was pretty standard A B C style poker. One weekend I took down the Borgata's $50k guarantee. It was a $13k payday. The following morning, I entered the $100 tournament they were running. I ended up chopping that 3 ways for a $4500 profit. That was a great weekend. I've had a few other minor live cashes since that day ranging from peanuts to the $4k area. But over the years, my bankroll dwindled and was never able to hit the big win.

In 2009, a buddy of mine convinced me to try playing online. I found some small success on Full tilt poker, winning a $20k guarantee tournament, placing 5th in a $75k guarantee, and winning many 45 player SnG's at different buy ins. I had built up my bankroll to about 22k on Full tilt having started with a $300 deposit. Then something happened. The game changed. I started to notice a greatly different style of play and I wanted to learn about it. I studied top players and watched them play for countless hours. I began reading literature about this new uber aggressive style with 3 and 4 betting and I loved it. I researched concepts like player tendencies, hand ranges, and tracking analytics. I started by practicing in small stakes cash games and it didn't seem to work. I discovered players at those levels weren't really aware of all those things. They would raise with A 2 suited UTG and then call my 3 bet in mid position. The flop would bring a deuce and then they wouldn't fold no matter what line I took or the cards on the board. Players would call me with all kinds of garbage no matter their position and suck out time after time. I started to wonder if I was doing something wrong. I analyzed my play and after asking some online guys, I was reassured that variance was the culprit. That kind of got me wondering more. I went back and analyzed my hands over the course of a month on Poker Tracker and what I found was really alarming. Opponents on flush draws after the flop got there over half the time. Opponents on open ended straight draws after the flop got there more than half the time. None of the players were willing to fold at any point in the hand. I lost 90% of my coin flips. Hands in which I got my heads up opponent all in pre-flop while I was holding A A ended in a loss for me just under 50% of the time. The main thing I saw was that when I had KK, my heads up opponent had AA more than 50% of the time. My KK lost almost 90% of the time. In that one month, I lost half my bankroll playing small stakes and tournaments. I cou;dn't believe the statistics. I understand variance, but running that bad made me feel like someone had targeted me to lose. I felt like opponents knew what cards were coming. I didn't think I could run that bad. I'll never forget losing to runner runner quads multitabling within 30 seconds of one another for the maximum. I couldn't turn it around. I took a break.

I started again a month later. I began to play 2/4, 4 tables at a time. I had a bout 9k left in my bankroll. I managed to stay even for a couple of months. But I just couldn't understand why I couldn't ever get ahead. I had been reading about the guys who started with $25 deposits and were playing 10/20 plus. Why couldn't I get there? Well, a month later the suck outs came in force. I ended up having $1500 in my account on black friday, down from $22k or so. I went over everything again and the beats were sick and relentless. I felt that I was playing as good as the top guys. The only difference was that they win and I lose.

I started playing again on Carbon poker in July. It has not worked out for me. I put a total of $2500 on the site and am down to 8 cents. I jut couldn't win in big spots in tournaments over and over. The beats I take in the cash games are worse.

Merge Game #74353422-1717 | Holdem NL ($0.10/$0.25) | 12/18/2013 23:37:09 EST | Version:2

Table Hollywood *Fast III (74353422), Seats 6

Seat 1: JoeSharp3 ($61.43 in chips)

Seat 2: Klinic ($25.43 in chips) DEALER

Seat 3: YaBoiiiiiii ($17.55 in chips)

Seat 4: 15OutsTwice ($27.57 in chips)

Seat 5: PanamonCreel22 ($66.66 in chips)

Seat 6: Captainshipper ($26.43 in chips)

YaBoiiiiiii: Post SB $0.10

15OutsTwice: Post BB $0.25

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Captainshipper [Ks Ad]

PanamonCreel22: Fold

Captainshipper: Raise $0.55

JoeSharp3: Call $0.55

Klinic: Fold

YaBoiiiiiii: Fold

15OutsTwice: Call $0.30

*** FLOP *** [2c Kd 4c]

15OutsTwice: Check

Captainshipper: Bet $0.75

JoeSharp3: Call $0.75

15OutsTwice: Raise $4.00

Captainshipper: Raise $8.00

JoeSharp3: Fold

15OutsTwice: Allin $23.02

Captainshipper: Allin $17.88

*** TURN *** [2s]

*** RIVER *** [3c]

*** SUMMARY ***

15OutsTwice: Shows [Ac 5c]

Captainshipper: Shows [Ks Ad]

15OutsTwice: wins $51.25

15OutsTwice: wins $1.14 (uncalled)

Merge Game #74353422-1743 | Holdem NL ($0.10/$0.25) | 12/18/2013 23:52:21 EST | Version:2

Table Hollywood *Fast III (74353422), Seats 6

Seat 1: JoeSharp3 ($28.60 in chips)

Seat 2: Klinic ($29.69 in chips)

Seat 3: YaBoiiiiiii ($16.40 in chips)

Seat 4: 15OutsTwice ($57.34 in chips) DEALER

Seat 5: PanamonCreel22 ($74.69 in chips)

Seat 6: Captainshipper ($36.47 in chips)

PanamonCreel22: Post SB $0.10

Captainshipper: Post BB $0.25

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Captainshipper [Qc As]

JoeSharp3: Raise $0.50

Klinic: Fold

YaBoiiiiiii: Fold

15OutsTwice: Fold

PanamonCreel22: Fold

Captainshipper: Raise $1.25

JoeSharp3: Call $0.75

*** FLOP *** [Ts 8s Qs]

Captainshipper: Check

JoeSharp3: Bet $1.30

Captainshipper: Call $1.30

*** TURN *** [6c]

Captainshipper: Check

JoeSharp3: Bet $2.60

Captainshipper: Raise $5.90

JoeSharp3: Allin $23.45

Captainshipper: Call $20.15

*** RIVER *** [9d]

*** SUMMARY ***

JoeSharp3: Shows [7s Ks]

Captainshipper: Shows [Qc As]

JoeSharp3: wins $54.12

Merge Game #74353422-1839 | Holdem NL ($0.10/$0.25) | 12/19/2013 00:41:53 EST | Version:2

Table Hollywood *Fast III (74353422), Seats 6

Seat 1: JoeSharp3 ($88.87 in chips) DEALER

Seat 2: madmarti123 ($7.74 in chips)

Seat 3: 1001101110 ($27.60 in chips)

Seat 4: Harpell ($17.91 in chips)

Seat 5: PanamonCreel22 ($36.26 in chips)

Seat 6: Captainshipper ($12.62 in chips)

madmarti123: Post SB $0.10

1001101110: Post BB $0.25

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Captainshipper [2s 3s]

Harpell: Fold

PanamonCreel22: Fold

Captainshipper: Raise $0.55

JoeSharp3: Call $0.55

madmarti123: Fold

1001101110: Fold

*** FLOP *** [7s 8s 2h]

Captainshipper: Bet $0.72

JoeSharp3: Call $0.72

*** TURN *** [Jh]

Captainshipper: Bet $1.44

JoeSharp3: Call $1.44

*** RIVER *** [8h]

This last hand.... why wouldn't this guy fold? This is what I mean. He has a pair of twos and I've been showing good hands at showdown after being the pre-flop raiser. Any 7, 8, J, hearts, 9 10, or over pair betas twos. I'm aggressive the whole way, and he hangs on to it. These are the guys who take my $. Some people tell me it's my fault for raising with a hand like 3 2 suited. But I watch the pros do it, and I do it the same. I really don't know what to do at this point. I'm gonna call it a night and check in soon.

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