I wasn't in a very creative state of mind after losing those $6k the other day. But I won't have you do without insight into what turned out to be a great example of what makes poker such a mentally demanding game. This will just be a report about a losing session, so feel free to spend your time doing something more fun. Stare into a wall for example.
First, I'll give you some background. I had played about 4 sessions after my long break, and I hadn't done very well. I was up a little, so nothing horrible, but I wasn't thrilled about my results up until Thursday. I was up early in the morning for a change, and played a couple of hours. Lost $3000 in that session, and I had some impossible hands like flush beat by a better flush, nut flush beat by a full house, aces cracked, expensive stuff like that. I wasn't totally down about it, but obviously not ecstatic.
So I decided to play again in the evening, determined to use that ugly red number for the day as motivation. After half an hour, I was down another few hundred, and nothing really seemed to work. Still, I maintained focus, made a few good laydowns, and still played well. For the record, making good laydowns is profitable in the sense that you lose less money than you otherwise would have, so it never really gives you a sense of victory. Then came a hand where I was all in preflop with AKs against a short stack. He rivered a flush with AQs for a $400 pot. Then I lost a big pot 3-bet preflop, and I was suddenly down $4000 for the day.
I pride myself on tilting very rarely. I make bad decisions of course, but I don't really have prolonged periods of tilt. At this point in the session, I am frustrated that I am not making anything happen, but I decide to fully concentrate on playing well, and not give in to destructive feelings. Call it stubbornness, but I just refused to quit on account of a little bad luck. Then this hand comes up.
Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $6 BB (6 handed) Hand History converter Courtesy of PokerZion.com
Preflop: Hero is SB with 7d, 7c.
3 folds, Hero raises to $24, BB calls $18.
Flop: ($48) 7s, 6d, 6h (3 players)
Hero bets $30, BB raises to $60, Hero calls $30.
Turn: ($168) Ac (3 players)
Hero bets $110, BB calls $110.
River: ($388) Ah (2 players)
Hero bets $200, BB calls $378.55 (All-In), Hero calls $178.55.
Final Pot: $1145.10
Hero has 7d 7c (full house, sevens full of aces).
BB has As 7h (full house, aces full of sevens).
Outcome: BB wins $1145.10.
An abrupt change from elation that I am finally going to win a big pot, to fear of the most brutal suckout, to confirmation that this day, I simply cannot win a hand. He beats odds of about 200 to 1 for the running aces.
I must admit after that hand I am shaken up pretty badly. I don't quit for another hour, and that was probably a mistake. It's not like I go on monkey tilt during that hour (actually this experience entitles me to at least an hour of tilt in my opinion), but I am certainly not playing well after that. When you sustain blows to your poker senses like that, it is just very hard to maintain a solid game. I lose another $1000 in a combination of tough situations and questionable decisions before I quit on the worst day of poker I have ever experienced.
Even though my bank roll is capable of absorbing some hits, a -$6000 day is not something I can ignore completely. Another one of those would probably force me to move down to 400NL for a while. My focus now is on going through the biggest hands of the day, hopefully regain some confidence, and then get back in the game. I have an area or two of my game that I am not at all confident about right now, and that will require some analysis. In the end, it is often experiences like this, that force you to take closer looks at certain aspects of your game, and in time become a better player.
This was a tough blow, and it will require work to get through it. Unfortunately I have to defend my thesis soon, so I simply can't put in enough hours before the WSOP to actually work on game adjustments. Tough break, but I will just have to rely on my game being relatively solid after all. I hear the WSOP is full of fish anyway.