Tiger Woods was in the news this month having won his first golf tournament in 5 years. This particular victory in the PGA Tour Championship event was amazing because it came just 18 months removed from spinal fusion surgery and 1 year after Tiger himself debated whether he’d ever be able to walk again normally, much less play golf. This isn’t the first time however, that Tiger went through a stretch of time where he failed to win a tournament. While this most recent stretch was due to physical ailments, the previous times were self-inflicted…and no I’m not talking about his character flaws…instead I’m talking about when he has overhauled his golf swing.
Unless you’re a huge fan of golf or Tiger or both, you may not be aware that Tiger has had 4 different golf swings throughout his career. As this excellent article on GolfChannel.com points out, these swing changes were not minor adjustments but major overhauls. The question though is why? Why when you are the #1 player in the world would you change your swing? And then do it yet again as the #1 player? And then yet one more time as the #1 player?
The first time Tiger stated that it was for long-term health reasons. There was no way with the torque he created as a teen and early 20-something would he be able to sustain that as he got older. The other 2 times though had to do with a sense of self-improvement. Yes he was the #1 player, but he knew he could be even better.
Now with each swing overhaul came a time where he at least initially struggled. After all he was used to doing his swing one way and now he was doing something completely different…it wasn’t yet second nature…but once he locked it in, indeed he was always better than before.
The reason I bring all this up is, I’ve noticed the same kind of thing happens in my poker game when I’m implementing new strategies. Now before I go any further, l want to make the disclaimer that I’m not saying I’m the Tiger Woods of poker or that I’m anywhere near being the #1 player in the world (my all-time best when P5’s tracked the site I play was #971). However, poker through the years has provided me a nice income to help support my wife and I.
Like Tiger though, I’m always striving to get better and so despite making a nice living off of playing a game, there is always that part of me that says, “How can I get better?” Most of the time that leads to just minor tweaks as I go through my daily and weekly study habits. However, sometimes that leads to overhauls of my game. Each time I’ve done that though, I initially struggle. On the back side though I always come out better for it, both as a player and in the results. By my count I have had 4 such overhauls in the past and during September I started my 5th.
To explain why, let me re-cap what my year has been like so far. January through June was mostly consumed with making the move to our new house. This meant lower volume than normal but I was still able to grind out a small but respectable profit. July and August then saw me back to normal volume and stakes and in total I profited a little over 12k. Not nearly my best 2 month stretch but decent enough that if you strung those together over the course of a year it’s still more playing a game part-time than most Americans make full-time. Despite this though, the downtime during the first half of the year and then getting back to the grind made me realize that my game had gotten a bit stale.
So without going into all the details of what I’m doing or the strategy that I’m implementing, September became an overhaul month…and quite frankly an overhaul still in progress. The month itself started out mostly break even, then I had a couple of nice scores, only to give it all back by the end of the month. In fact I went into the last day down $10 for the month. Sunday the 30th though was a bloodbath but had more to do with running over 70bb/100 below EV than the changes to my game itself.
Because of the changes, I played a bit less volume since it means having to consciously think more about the decisions I’m making implementing the new strategy. It always stinks going through these self-imposed down swings, but again speaking from past experience, it always makes the future upswings that much greater. So I’m entering into October confident that in the long-term this will be a good thing but recognize that I still have a bit to go until this is to the level of unconscious competence.
I write all this in hopes of inspiring you to not get complacent in your game. Study and work hard to improve…and realize that if you don’t see the results right away that it’s natural…if it happened to Tiger Woods it will certainly happen to you.
In any case, here is what September looked like for me…
15..…. Final Tables
8.......Top 3 Finishes
$8611.91 in total cashes (-10.11% ROI)
Now onto my Merge up-date. For those not familiar with my blog, Merge stopped allowing Pocket Fives to track scores on September 5th 2016, so what I’m doing here is tracking where I would have been had they not stopped tracking. I do play some on other networks but Merge gets out 95% of my volume so I thought it would be fun and motivating to keep things going as if though it never stopped. I use Poker Dominator to track all tourney’s so these are the most accurate and up-to-date numbers as of the last day of the month.
Merge Lifetime Total: $528,593.64
Career Lifetime Total: $594,479.09
Career number of Cashes: 4599
Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor
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