Well, I am back again like it or not.
Sitting here having a coffee and enjoying the morning quiet.
In my last posting I spouted off about how I have been searching for a persona. An image that I can develop and maintain while working at the poker tables and attempting to earn money.
The reason I even started worrying about this was because I have watched and seen how different styles of play (Even at the low limits) effect the game, and even effect individual players in the games. The most noticeable being either super aggressive, or super sticky (Chase all) players.
I am, or have been basically playing a nit card game (By the book). On days that cards drop my way I can earn 20 or 30 BBs in a good 5 to 7 hour session and I do not consider this a bad earn at a 4/8 game. However, when the cards do not drop my way I can leave those same 20 or 30 BBs in about 3 hours on a bad run. Then there are the flats as I call them the sessions I run flat and earn or loose 0.
I am or have been on average slightly ahead or break even on a monthly basis when I played this way. This is not the goal I have set for myself. I am trying to make a profit (Not a living) a profit. Remember, this is an ongoing experimental hobby with profit potential for me at this stage, and I am stubborn as a mule when I want to try and prove a point to myself.
I know in low limit show down poker I am severely restricted as to any real special poker plays or ploys. I have to have the right hand in the right spot with the right action to go any where. Just like 90% of regular poker only that the hand values and spot values are adjusted to account for huge rake and loose action. This is an adjustment I struggled with at first but feel I am coming into much better now. I am much more position dependent, and card dependent than in other forms of poker. This is fine I have made this adjustment and can not change this fact.
But I still need to get paid when I do get a hand and I still need to be able to steal a little here and there if conditions are right. I started thinking about perception and how my opponents think about me and react to me during a session.
As a basic solid game player, I was missing on opportunities and missing on some bets. I did not get paid off as much and I missed some good value in playing a little more open game I think.
So, I started the experiments I talked about in my lasts blog entry and I discovered that even at the lower limit games personality matters and people respond to how you act and how you play in positive and negative ways. I know this is true in all forms of poker and that an image game is not new, but I really thought at lower limit games it was less important or useful and I was wrong. Personality can change a game and this puts me in the driver seat more than I realized and more than cards do if I use it wisely. So, the question was for me, "What image fits best"? After several weeks actually of trying different styles and combinations, and paying for all of them I had an answer.
I am talkative, jovial, and seemingly reckless. I try and chat with those who will respond and I try and develop some fun banter if no offense will be taken. I have been more talkative and active in the last three sessions and try and get a home game atmosphere going if the table will allow it. It is still not stable and taking effort, but I am learning to talk the talk and not actually walk the walk. I start a game talkative and loose and even have been budgeting a few initial bets as goof advertising and try and get a hand or two to show down on the wrong side of the deck. If the table responds well and I can get one or two to follow the lead I keep up the banter and chatter a bit, but shut down my hands actually.
This has proven so far positive as I can get a table a little leery of me without actually pissing them off and making too many people mad. (There seems to always be a negative or bad mood player and I have to deal with them separate). Since I see a lot of the same faces in the same casinos it is worth it for me I think to develop an overall working image as a fun loose and social player. It seems to help me as well as I stay more relaxed and am not all balled up and trying so hard to play the perfect poker game and am more willing to let the game develop and come to me and then I adjust to it more easily.
It also allows me to control individual situations some times with words and not actual bets being risked believe it or not. I can get a few more free cards and I am getting a few more free or cheap show downs when I think I am in but maybe not quiet sure. I have been doing this with some gentle banter.
For example: I see an up front player thinking to bet I openly threaten to raise and I am surprised how often they then check to me even with others in the hand behind me. I announce I am there on the turn as I call a bet and get the river checked to me to allow a cheap make sure show down more times than not. All the while talking and smiling and trying to act like OH WELL THAT IS HOW THE GAME GOES. I have even been buying a few beers for fellow players who can show a good bluff or draw out on me when I am in the lead the whole way.
All in all I am playing a much more relaxed and open personality, not all serious and quiet and calculating. Even though I am trying to be very calculating on the inside and it seems to be paying dividends so far. I have even established some image points overall and have a number of players that will willingly go along and help make the party happen and even call me to their tables now and again and this is good business.
I am convinced that I am on the right path with this image and style. Talk, laughter, and good banter are all pointers to profit at the poker table and I am learning I can be a force even without cards to try and lead a game in a direction that more suites me. Low limit or not and maybe even more so at low limit. Poker is a people game played with cards and in learning and trying to utilize this I think I am in a direction of change for the better, my last three sessions have all been positive, both emotionally and financially.
My poker persona is developing and we will see what I am when I grow up. You know I will keep you posted