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The Way of the Peaceful G

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Be a shark
  makan18, Nov 18 2017

'In life, if you don't wanna get caught by sharks, you gotta be a shark yourself.'

The quote from one of the greatest pictures in the history of Polish film seems to perfectly fit the situation in the world of poker. A tiny slump is enough for the opponents to sense that your game is way worse than what you're capable of when you're totally in shape. The beginning of October was not very good for me, I had a rough time with making myself actually play, and even when that happened, the quality of my performance was definitely not up-to-par. Over the course of my career, however, I got used to the fact that it's almost impossible to eliminate the periods of lower productivity.
I must say, though, the return to the adequate form after the U.S. escapade was much faster than I expected, it was smoother than the aftermath of my trip to Asia. All in all, in Vegas I was working with chips a bit, so the poker break was much shorter.

I finally started to regularly work on the game 'beyond the tables'. It's easy to become self-complacent and ignore this element of your poker career if you're getting good results. For years, I was somehow getting away with laziness when it comes to education, so it was hard to sacrifice some time for learning. But there's always some room for improvement and elevating your playing to the next level. In my case, the biggest place for growth is playing preflop, which I was neglecting for years, avoiding it, while working on leaks I was aware of. While I feel that postflop is much more intuitive, it's worth to spend a bit of time for preflop 'in da lab'. This is why I'm trying to develop optimal strategy, considering many factors: 3betting tendencies, tendencies of the players on blinds when I'm on BTN, range which I should open from CO, depending who's on my left, etc.
In this case, the added value is also this: the stronger my game is tactics-wise, the tougher my mindset gets. In 'The Mental Game of Poker' Jared Tandler said that tilt is very often the result of the insufficient theoretical knowledge, and it's very accurate in my case. Instead of beating your head against the wall, and getting irritated because the opponents adjust to your strategy, it's fundamental to work on the strategy which will be an answer to the gameplan of the rival.

Another big change in my game which appeared over the last few months is even bigger manipulation of sizings than ever before. Years ago when the reg population constantly betted 2/3p or even shove in 4b pots, I began to use microsizing, being completely convinced that it gives me way wider scope of movement in my range. There are spots in NLH when our FE is basically the same whether we bet 2/3p or 1/2p, and the differences in EV of the play, when we decrease our sizing, will be far more significant and will positively affect our overall winrate.
Some of you asked me about private coaching, once again thank you for the interest, I will try to put up an offer possibly in the beginning of the next year. I had really intense August and September, I needed to spend a lot of time, and even more energy, on the investment in real estate which I decided to do. At this moment pretty much everything's been taken care of, and it seems the peace of mind is back at my home. Moreover, I must decide which form of coaching I'd rather do, whether I should do hourly sessions or staking+coaching formula, however I'm inclined to insist on long-term cooperation, rather than couple of lessons only.

Last but not least, some pleasant photos, a chart from the last two months, almost 50k in post rakeback ev is a really fine score, unfortunately jerks cheated #polish_curse

The report from the trip to the Grand Canyon coming soon.


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Viva Las Vegas
  makan18, Oct 29 2017

For years, especially at the beginning of my venture into the world of poker, the trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and the participation in the World Series of Poker were the dreams which pushed me to becoming better and better. Even though I haven't been exactly following poker tournaments since forever, I used to count down days remaining to new episodes from WSOP.
On July 2 after packing my bag (for the first time in history of my intercontinental travels it did not contain the desktop, which made up 70% of the bag's weight), I flew to America, hoping that maybe this year I would fulfill my adolescent dream of getting a golden bracelet. I arrived at Las Vegas McCarran Airport at noon local time. After an hour-wait in a line, I was officially allowed into the land of Mickey Mouse. Less than half-an-hour taxi ride later, I reached my place of stay in the USA - an apartment in Palms Place.

+ Show Spoiler +

On the second day after my arrival, I've already participated in an event no 63, that is no-limit Holdem 1k$. I entered the tournament with late registration, in the end of the 2nd level. I don't play mtt online, but if I were to compare the level to those taking place online, the starting phases are probably on par with those at 10$. For the first couple of hours, I was surrounded by the amateurs, the middle-aged Americans and happy-go-lucky poker-playing young people from France. Ultimately, I was eliminated in the middle of day 2, when 13bb TT did not quite hold against AKo. I was rewarded 2500$ for my overall performance, so the beginning was pretty promising.
Event 68, 3k$ No-limit Holdem, was another tournament I participated in. Once again I drew very easy table, e.g. for the first two stages I had an 'empty seat' at the table, but after some time the ghost-player was moved to different table.

I was expecting the level in a tournament at 3k$ to be much higher, however I couldn't be more wrong. In order to better illustrate it, let me present to you one of the hands.
CO - opens with minibet

BB (hero) - Q3cc, flats vs Co open
FLOP QT6ss, the villain pots, and hero cals
TURN 2x - the villain basically plays snap all-in. I called and he reveals K5hh... gg

I start the second day with 28bb. While I was riding the taxi to the casino, I was thinking what an unpleasant feeling it must be, to be eliminated several minutes into the tournament. Unfortunately, those thoughts turned out to be self-fulfilling prediction.
I dropped off in the 5th hand, following my squeeze/call with BTN having AQo. To this day, I'm not sure whether it was a correct play. However, straight after the tournament I was convinced that I fucked up - no sugar-coating, and I decided that this is the end to my adventure at WSOP.

+ Show Spoiler +

It was time to commence the implementation of the second part of my plan - the sightseeing side-trips and the culinary-alcoholic feasts. The places for fulfilling the latter were Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and Forum Shops at Caesars. I must say that Las Vegas isn't called the Entertainment's Capital of the World for nothing. The multitude of attractions which can be seen in the city is mind-blowing. Placing exclusive shops, restaurants and casinos under one roof allows everyone to find something to their liking. During one of the evenings I had a chance to meet the Polish MTT crew, and once again I realized that Polish young people are cultured and sophisticated. A pretty risky start with oysters roasted in parmesan, was immediately followed by some stuff more familiar to Polish palate, that is grilled beef and vodka with Red Bull.

+ Show Spoiler +

After my Polish genes got saturated with the right amount of alcohol, the next step was to rent a car and just hit the road (it did not happen on the same night, obviously).
The first stop was the Hoover Dam, on Nevada and Arizona border. The engineering wonder built in 1936, was erected over 5 years, and the cost in the current prices was around 700 million dollars. Two and a half million cubic meters of concrete, which epitomize the everlasting fight of man against the forces of nature. The Dam stands 224 meters tall, which means it's almost as high as the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, and almost thrice as tall as the dam on Lake Solina.

+ Show Spoiler +

Another place I wanted to visit was the Death Valley in California. The most extreme temperatures occur there, one of the least-hospitable places for any forms of life on Earth. On July 10, 1913 the highest temperature ever was noted there - 134 degrees! (thankfully that's in Fahrenheit, in Celsius that's 'only' 56.7). Amongst main attractions in Death Valley National Park is Badwater Basin, a salty lake situated 86 meters below the sea level. Walking around there can be compared to putting your face next to an opened oven with the convection option on. I've spent there maybe an hour, but I finally understood why the people die so quickly in the desert when they have no water. Nonetheless, it seems that these extreme conditions do not stand in a way of the ultra marathon participants, which takes place every year in mid July. It's a 217-kilometer-long route from Death Valley to Mount Whitney. The record was set by a Brazilian Valmir Nunes, who covered it in less than 23 hours in 2007.

I'm going to talk about my trip to the Grand Canyon in the following post.


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Halfway through
  makan18, Aug 24 2017

I`ve finally decided to `get along` with social media and I created a funpage. I blog on various websites so even adding new post takes considerable amount of time. I am still learning how to use facebook, hopefully in the near future I will figure out how to post in 2 languages:D

The first week playing after getting back from the Asian trip was really hard. I couldn't pull myself together, even the easiest situations caused difficulties, and tiredness was appearing after merely two hours. The problem with taking longer breaks from poker is the fact, that after the time you're away from it, you need to learn the game pretty much from scratch. Essentially, your habits begin to rust, automatisms fade away, you start to constantly question your decisions, the 'killer's instinct' is lost. What's more, a somewhat irrational worry rears its head - that maybe you lost it permanently, maybe you'll never play at the same level as before the hiatus.

In May the things started to look brighter. I got back to my optimal form. The fact that there was little variancy that month, helped a ton. Unfortunately, June took a 180 degrees turn for worse. The games were atrocious, weak players disappeared, while the number of regulars went up, the majority of whom probably migrating from P*, due to the introduction of the gift box system. I've always had a problem with staying concentrated when there's not enough action going on. Few years ago I played over 700 deals per hour, the current average is around 300, though there are days with 100-150 max. During such sessions it's incredibly difficult to focus and make myself sit in front of the screen. Additionally, June was disastrous because of my playing results, for the first time in my career I ended up with a 5-digit losses. Although according to EV I basically broke even, it's still nothing to be happy about. On top of that, I tilted a lot, too much actually. Bad run and the poor quality of games took its toll, and around 5k$ went to shit in the total speew results. " I believe whatever doesn`t kill You, simply makes you... stranger" - as the poet used to say.

No chance for return of the southern markets to the player base is quite depressing. The information that the UK might join appeared periodically, however according to the recent news, the Brits decided against it. There's nothing else to do, but to just do your own thing, and maybe do a bit research regarding the more and more popular poker rooms from the so called emerging markets.
Nonetheless, to sum it up, the first half of the year was really successful. Although I played 440 out of 500 hours planned, still it was a satisfying result. According to EV I won almost 85k$ post rakeback and it seems that reaching 150k$ profits is completely plausible. What is more, I've spent fantastic 4 weeks in Asia. I will definitely go back to that region of the world in the future.

In the beginning of June I decided to do my first travel to Las Vegas. The plan was to play at 1k$ and 3k$ events, and if the form would be fine, I'd go for the Main Event. I also wanted to sightsee a bit, as the Grand Canyon is pretty close, and it was my childhood dream, nature-wise. I will talk about how the trip went in the next post.


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