Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Thanksgiving Miracle (not really)

This past Tuesday Jen and I made the 7 hour drive down to her parent's house in Orange County for Thanksgiving. Our pit stop at the halfway point gave me a chance to eat Taco Bell for the second time in four days (I've clearly been watching my figure), but, believe it or not, this was not the highlight of the holiday!

Shortly after we arrived Jen's Dad told us that we'd be eating something a little unusual for Thanksgiving dinner. I immediately thought (in my best British cockney accent) "what's all this then" as I considered what the hell we might be eating instead of turkey. On a side note, I'd like to mention that in my opinion the turkey is bar none the ugliest bird I have ever seen and while I consider myself an animal lover I am pretty sure I'd feel no remorse whatsoever about personally decapitating an entire rafter of Turkeys. Yes, a group of turkeys is known as a rafter. I'd also like to say that I suspect that I'd feel no remorse about killing the person or people who came up with the name "rafter" for a group of turkeys. Is this the best they could come up with? How about a hoard or a pile or a mess (How many turkeys you got? Oh, we got a whole mess a turkeys). If it was a group of people who came up with the term rafter, I think that group of people should be known as a "dumbass" of animal group namers.

Now that you've had plenty of time to wonder about what we were having for Thanksgiving, I'll give you the rest of the story. I'd mentioned to my father in law Gerry around Christmas time last year that I'd always wanted to eat a goose. Seriously, have you looked at a goose lately? Those things look delicious, but I hear they are a little fatty. Armed with the knowledge that I'd be up for something unusual, but still wanting to keep with tradition, Gerry ordered a turducken! When I heard this news I said "WOW, Awesome" and put my hand up waiting for a high five from my wife...which never came. She was too in shock from the good news to even muster a high five...either that or she was trying to wean me off of my 10 high five a day habit.

For those of you who don't know what a turducken is, it's a turkey that's stuffed with a duck which is stuffed with a chicken and has a layer of stuffing between each bird. John Madden the football announcer is a big fan of these meaty assemblies and has mentioned the turducken on many a broadcast. My friends and I, who are a bunch of ravenous carnivores, have talked on many occasions about how awesome the notion of stuffing meat into other kinds of meat is and how the creator or the turducken must have been a genius. No doubt a fat genius who most likely died before the age of 40 from a massive heart attack, but a genius none the less. Of course, I was pretty excited to actually get a chance to eat one of these babies after several years of mentioning it periodically.

The turducken did not disappoint. After a few miscues with the oven it came out about 2 hours after the initial ETA, but there was plenty of wine and football to fill time. All three birds were tasty and delicious, but I still managed to cram in a mountain of cheesy potatoes and pumpkin bread in addition to the trio of fowl.

I did managed to squeeze a little poker into the long weekend. On Wednesday, Jen and I went to Best Buy and bought a new and improved wireless router for her parents so everyone would be able to use the internet on their laptops in the living room. I played a few heads up tournaments as well as about a dozen SNG's, but my real success came on Saturday morning in the supernova freeroll. After about 4 hours I finished 5th out of 368 and picked up what felt like a very easy $1,040. Some of you may recall that this is the exact place and payout that Jen managed in the same tournament last week. Hopefully I can keep up the steady wins for the next three weeks, because I've got 11 days off in a row scheduled at end the year.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

He Called You With What?

This Saturday I made a brief expedition into live tournament land when I played a $330 NL Hold 'em tournament at the Oaks Club. This event was the Oaks Club annual "Turkey Shoot." I personally don't have a clue what poker has to do with shooting turkeys. There isn't anything unusual about the tournament format and it just seems like any other tournament to me. Except for the fact that the cards have turkeys on them...and so do the chips...and they use special tables shaped like various parts of the turkey...and the winner gets dunked in a huge vat of gravy...and the first person eliminated gets their head chopped off and their carcass thrown in the oven for 6 hours at 425 degrees. Other than that it's just like any other poker tournament.

I'd planned to have breakfast at The International House of Pancakes (how luxurious), but a line out the door forced me to go to plan B. Like most plan B's, this one was GREATLY inferior to plan A. Instead, I ate at The International House of Intestinal Rebellion which you may know as Taco Bell. After washing down a few burritos with a $5 coffee from the Starbucks next door, I was ready for action.

The tournament drew almost 200 entrants with a few dozen players getting turned away because of limited space (people around here must love killing turkeys). We started with 4,000 chips, 25 minute limits and 20/40 blinds so the tournament promised to offer plenty of play.

On the first hand of the tournament I was dealt pocket queens. Of course, this was a great hand, but I had that feeling like I was going to go broke in the first 30 seconds of the tournament. I raised, and another player who had his whole stack of chips sitting on his hole cards (even though you start with 4,000 chips most of them are large denominations so it's not hard to pick them all up with one hand) picked up all of his chips. I thought "shit, I'm going to have to risk it all on this first hand." But then he flicked his cards into the muck and put down his chips.

I played a few hands here and there, made a bluff or two and after three hours we'd lost half of the field. I had my stack up to about 5,000 and while I wasn't in great shape things were moving slowly so I wasn't in bad shape either.

In round 7 with the blinds at 200/400 and a 40 chip ante, I ran into an unusual situation. I was in the small blind and the big blind only had about 2,500 chips. Including the antes there were 1,000 chips in the pot and I decided well ahead of time that I would put the big blind all in if everyone folded to me no matter what I had. The player in the big blind seemed like a very nice guy, but he was clearly inexperienced and wasn't playing many hands. I figured that unless he picked up something really solid I'd win an easy 1,000 chips and even if I got called AND lost I'd still have 2,500 left. So when everyone folded to me I moved all in without even looking at my cards.

I've done this kind of thing a dozen or so times in the past, and usually I'll make it look like I'm checking my cards, when if fact I'm not looking at all. This time I didn't even bother, because I was sure this guy wasn't paying enough attention to notice. What's the advantage to not looking at your cards you ask? THERE ISN'T ANY! But, I find that it makes it a little more exciting and if you've decided it makes sense to move with any two cards, you don't want to look at 72 and talk yourself out of it. Once I was in a spot where I was short stacked in late position and after looking at one card, which was an ace, I moved all in. When I got called I said "I only looked at one." When I flipped up the other one it was also an ace!

Getting back to the story at hand, I moved all in without looking and expected a quick fold. Instead I got an INSTANT call. At this point I said out loud "Uh Oh. I haven't looked yet, but I don't like my hand." When I turned over my cards I saw that I had 5 3. YUCK! I was mostly worried about being up against a pair and I was shocked to see my opponent show 10 5! WHAT! A three was the first card off the deck which gave me some hope, but the second card was a ten and I said good bye to half of my chips.

I couldn't believe this call. There are certain situations where you have half or a third of your chips in the big blind and it makes sense for you to call with almost anything. This was NOT one of those situations. In my opinion about 1 in 500 players at most would make this call. The only situation in which it would make sense was if he saw my cards, but that wasn't possible since I hadn't even seen them! One of the players across the table asked my opponent "did you see that he (meaning me) hadn't looked at his cards before you called?" My opponent said he hadn't noticed, but even if he knew for a fact that I hadn't looked, 10 5 is in the bottom 25% of all hands so the call still wouldn't make sense. It's not like this guy was nuts and was in every hand. He'd been folding almost everything for 3 hours! I think he just gave up. He was probably tired of playing and had an impulse to just throw the rest of his chips in there and go home.

I was in pretty bad shape after losing that hand, but not out of it. 3 or 4 hands later I made a somewhat questionable move and ran into another weird situation. With blinds still at 200/400 the first player to act just called the big blind. For some reason this guy seemed to like just calling in early position with lots of hands, but I'd seen him fold to a raise every time. So when I looked down at K 7 I decided to take a shot. I had 2,200 left and I thought there was a fair chance that I could win the 1,400 in the pot without a confrontation. And even if I got called I'd still have a chance to make the best hand and win. I moved all in and the fellow who was in the small blind thought for a minute and then said "I should really call you." To which I replied with a smile "go ahead, I'm not afraid." He thought some more and said again "I should call you." After a little more thought he said "ok, I call" and put in another 2,000 chips. The big blind and the original caller both folded and I said "I looked this time, but I still don't like my hand." The whole table chimed in and agreed that I "at least had an ace if not a pair," which should give you and idea of my table image. My opponent said "I like your hand" and I thought "if you like my hand, then why did you call, you dunce?" I turned over my lowly K7 expecting the see a hand like A5 or a small pair. Instead my opponent showed me 4 5! WHAT! This call made maybe even less sense than the call with the 10 5 and again I'd have to say only about 1 in 500 players at most would make this call. Sadly my foolish opponent managed to make a straight and I was left walking to my car wondering how I could end up losing to that group of mooks.

I never ceases to amaze me how many people can totally ignore any logic or common sense and just act totally on impulse. While it should make them easier to beat, sometimes it can drive you nuts. Instead of feeling upset at this result, I felt more confused than anything.

Jen and I are off to Southern California for about a week so it will be a while before my next post. Have a happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another Try at 100 SNG's

I made another attempt to play 100 SNG's in a day today, but my results were similar to my previous attempts. I called it quits after 73, just after 8 p.m. I managed to win about $800 today so even though I didn't reach my goal, I'm not complaining.

It wasn't that I couldn't continue, it was the feeling that I didn't think I could knock out another 3 hours worth of tournaments. Despite what you may have heard, working until 11 p.m. isn't fun. Who knew?

My biggest hurdle is waking up early. Whether I get up at 9 a.m. or 2 p.m., I have no problem working until 6 or 7 at night (mostly because there isn't a whole lot to do in the afternoon), but it becomes a real drag after that. 2 p.m.? Do you really get up at 2 p.m. sometimes? From time to time I've been known to sleep in that late. It happens when certain wives make me stay up all night and then refuse to let me leave the bed in the morning despite my endless begging to get up and start the day. It's one of the perils of having almost no schedule (I once asked in all seriousness "is today Wednesday?" when in fact it was Saturday).

Also I've confirmed that the players who play after 5 p.m. should all be heavily medicated. They are all totally nuts and have no clue what they hell they are doing. While this may seem like a good thing (and it is for the most part), playing against people who just shove their chips in with anything is not as easy as you might think. In the day time, I can whittle down my opponents by chopping out a bunch of small pots and for the most part avoiding major risks early in the tournament. At night on the other hand if you're up against players who are making huge bets and raises with a wide range of hands you can't just sit back. If you do, you'll find yourself ground into dust wondering what happened. Against these maniacs sometimes you just have to get in there, cross your fingers and hope for the best. It can be infuriating when you find yourself all in with something like AK against a hand like 76 and lose. If this kind of thing happens a few times in quick succession, you may find yourself launching dry erase markers with such velocity and frequency that an observer would swear you were training for the dry erase marker javelin event in the next office Olympics...Hypothetically. I wonder if I can deduct touch up paint and spackle as a business expense?

Spectacular TV and other less important obligations over the next few days preclude another attempt at the 100 SNG challenge, until next Monday or Tuesday. I may fire out a post on another topic in the next few days so until then, keep your eyes peeled, your ear to the ground, your tongue on the left side of your mouth, your nose in the on position, and your damn hands out of the cookie jar!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Splash of Glory at Full Tilt

I spent my day working on an old deposit bonus at FullTilt.com. About a month ago I deposited $1,000 and after I earn some number of points they'll give me $500. One nice thing about this bonus which is different from most deposit bonuses is they pay out in $20 increments. So rather than getting $500 or nothing, even if I didn't complete the bonus by the given deadline I'd get credit for whatever I'd earned up to that point. In practice it doesn't make much difference to someone like me because I'm going to get the max bonus every time, but for an average player this is greatly preferable.

I spent the day playing a mix of $60 and $119 SNG's and picked up what seemed like an easy $950 in about 4 hours of play. I get the feeling that for the most part the players on Fulltilt suck. I might have to spend a little more time playing there. I suspect that all of the best players have done the math on the pokerstars FPP program and choose to play there just like me. If that's the case then Fulltilt should be full of duds. I have to decide whether it's worth giving up the FPP benefits to play against the weaker competition.

Another interesting thing about Fulltilt is they have a few dozen of the world's best poker players who own a stake in the website (technically they own the software and marketing company, but in practice they own a piece of the website). Any time these players are in a game or registered for a tournament the listing shows up in red (as opposed to black) and instead of screen names they have their actual name and avatars that look like the real people. So if you're playing against a guy who's name is Phil Ivey, you know it's really him and not just someone with that screen name.

Today while I was playing 1996 WSOP main event champ Huck Seed was also playing. He was in a few $525 SNG's, but he was also in a bunch of $119's as well. I played in a few of the same tournaments as Huck and in one we got down to heads up. After three hands I won! Sure the blinds were huge and when we got heads up I had more chips than him, but now I can say I played a world champion heads up and I won! Take that suckers!

Tomorrow I'm going to shoot for 100 SNG's in one day. I hope my head doesn't explode in the process.

I'd also like to wish some congratulations to my brother in law Damian's brother Shawn and his wife Amanda. They had their first child today at 11:40 eastern. It was a little girl named Sydney and both baby and parents are doing fine. How am I related to my nephew's cousin, you might ask? I don't think I am at all, but I will claim that Sydney is my niece in law even though to my understanding there is no such thing.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

EWC Days #5 & #6

My Executive Week challenge came to and end with a fizzle rather than a bang. On Friday I only managed 30 tournaments during 4 hours of play and broke even to the dollar. On Saturday I only managed 23 SNG's mixed in with a few multitable freerolls and over the course of about 4 and a half hours I lost $36. I did a great job of putting myself in position to win, but managed to blow it many, many times. If I was playing my best I would have won $500 today, but instead I lost $36. I definitely felt burned out by the end of the week and think I might have been better off playing 8 hours a day for 6 days rather than starting with 10 on the first day and then 9 on the second day and going down hill from there. It was good to discover that playing 85 SNG's in one day is not as bad as I thought it might be and it's good to know that I can push myself just a little if I need to. It's also clear that I'm not cut out for working a normal job.

All in all the week was a success. I said at the start that my goal was to win $2,000 and I managed to win $2,281. I also managed to generate $468 in FPP's so my net profit was really $2,749. If I could do that every week things would run pretty smoothly around here.

I had hoped to play 400 SNG's and work 50 hours, but I only managed 335 over about 45 hours. Of course if I was counting like a normal person (ie working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. counts as 12 hours even if you take an hour for lunch and a break here and there) I would have been over 50.

Another short coming is I never had a day where I played 100 SNG's. In order to make up for that I'm going to attempt to do it this Tuesday. There's no good TV on on Tuesday nights so I won't face the temptation of knocking off early. Also I'm not doing anything except sitting on my couch and watching football all day tomorrow so even after a normal workday on Monday I should be pretty fresh.

There isn't a whole lot of excitement coming up in my poker future. I don't have any plans to play any big in person tournaments for at least a few months and I've decided to pretty much stick to the unglamorous but profitable world of SNG's. After all I'm going to be taking 5 days off for Thanksgiving and 11 days off for Christmas. This job doesn't come with paid vacation so I'll have to work a little harder before and after the holidays to make up the difference. Jen has her eye on a sweet digital Camera in the pokerstars FPP store which costs 48,000 points (roughly $765) so it looks like she's going to be playing a lot in the next month or two. If she can keep winning like she has been we'll be loaded in no time.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

EWC Day #4

My resolve to continue this experiment at full force is fading as the days go on. Today was a casual Thursday and instead of sporting a shirt and tie, I came in to the office wearing a fire-engine-red Party Poker Sweatshirt. On day 1 I played for almost 6 hours straight to start the day. Today it was about 2 hours and 45 minutes before I took my first break. I managed another 58 tournaments and had pretty steady success.

I did have one major bump in the road when I came back after lunch. I jumped into 6 tournaments and found myself bounced from three of them within 5 minutes. Getting three 9ths in a row may be a first for me. In the preceding 258 tournaments I'd played this week up to that point, I'd only ended up with four 9ths so three straight was a real shock. If you consider the fact that I only get 9th about once in every 25 tournaments on average getting 3 consecutive 9ths is a 1 in 15,625 occurrence.

At the end of the day even though I felt like I got pretty screwed a dozen times I still managed to win $530. I'm ahead $2,357 after 280 tournaments which is right in the range I'd hope to be. While winning $8.42 per tournament is pretty solid I'd like to get close to the $10 range and I think I might even be able to get it to the $12 range. At first glance this might seem like a major jump since I'd have to increase my profits by 43%, but when you include the juice I'm actually beating the other players by $13.42. So a jump of another $3.58 is really only a 27% increase and given the fact that $3.58 is only 6% of the buy in I think it's possible. Even at $8.42 I should be able to make 8 grand a month which is just fine with me.

On a completely different note I was playing against a guy who's name was FishNBarrel today and I had the thought that the expression "as easy as shooting fish in a barrel" is totally ridiculous. First and foremost why is anyone SHOOTING fish? There seem like much easier and less expensive ways to kill your fish (bullets aren't free you know). The first two that come to mind are sharp objects or removing them from water. Now we have to ask ourselves is there water in the barrel? If there isn't, then the fish are going to die on their own so there is no reason to shoot them. It seems like it would make even less sense to shoot dead fish in a barrel so it's fair to assume that there is water in the barrel. Do you know what water does? It refracts light. This makes the fish appear in a slightly different position then they actually are. This means that if you shoot directly at the fish (which should be moving by the way) you'll actually miss. The shock wave from the bullet might be enough to kill them anyway, but I think shock waves are pretty far down on my list of ways to kill fish (I'll publish the full list upon request). If we're going to use analogies to express how easy thing are let's stick with taking candy from babies. After all that ends with candy and not a leaky barrel filled with bloody fish guts.

Getting back on topic. I've worked about 36 hours so far this week and I can't see making it to 10 tomorrow (my brain is turning to mush faster and faster every day), so it looks like I'll be facing at least a 5 hour Saturday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

EWC Day #3

My campaign to get fired doesn't seem to be working. I came in to work an hour late wearing no shoes and a checkered tie that had no business being worn with the wrinkly striped shirt I'd chosen. I also left an hour early because NBC's The Biggest Loser is two hours tonight. I guess my insanely intellegent and charming boss doesn't care about those things.

As a result of my shortened day, I "only" played 57 tournaments and despite a streak in the middle where 9 out of 10 of my finishes were either 4th or 5th I had a solid day. I won just under $600 which puts me pretty much back where I was after EWC day #1. This is just fine with me since my goal was to make $2,000 for the week and I'm only $173 short after 3 days. I've also earned about $310 worth of frequent player points which should not be overlooked. If I could make it to $3,000 (including FPP's) by the end of the week I'd be very happy.

Another thing I have working for me right now is a deposit bonus. I talked a little about deposit bonuses in a previous post and today I started working on the best one I've ever seen. I deposited $2,000 and pokerstars is going to give me $1,000 after I earn a specified number of FPP's. It will take me 600 $55 SNG's or 333 $100 SNG's to earn the number of points I need, which at the rate I've been knocking them out shouldn't take me too long. Of course over the course of 600 $55 SNG's I'll be paying pokerstars $3,000 in juice so it's not like they're getting screwed. But I would be playing and paying the juice regardless so it's as if they're just giving me the money out of the kindness of their hearts. With that said it can make you sick to think about the amount of juice I've payed them in the past year. After all they've made $1,110 off of me in the past three days!

I've come up short of 10 hours the past two days, but I'm going to make up that time in the next two days or on Saturday. My real goal has been a 50 hour week. I'm still thinking I'd like to shoot for 100 SNG's in a day tomorrow or Friday, but I've discovered that once I hit about 75 it gets VERY hard to continue and it should take me about 12 hours to hit 100. I'm not sure I have a day like that in me, but we'll see. If I don't do it this week I'll give it a go next Monday or Tuesday after I've had some time to recover.

EWC Day #2

Day two of my Executive week didn't go as smoothly as day 1. The big problem was a lack of 1st place finishes. All of the money is at the top and it's almost impossible to even break even without a healthy supply of firsts. Traditionally I've finished in 1st about once in every 7 tournaments, but it took me 34 attempts to get my first outright victory yesterday. I ended up losing about $650 for the day after playing 81 tournaments.

My businesslike approach also took a small hit as I ditched my shirt and tie about half way through the day and left work 45 minutes early. I thought my boss (that handsome bastard) didn't see me, but on my way out the door he made me promise to make up the time later in the week or on Saturday. Sorry for the half assed update, but fatigue is starting to set in a little.

Monday, November 06, 2006

EWC Day #1

Although I was pretending to be an executive, I wasn't quite as professional as the real thing. I set my alarm for 8:00 and after 5 snoozes, I crawled out of bed at 8:45. I expected it still to be completely dark outside at such an early hour, but to my surprise it was light outside. At first I figured that one of my neighbors was shining a light on our bedroom window, but after further investigation I determined that it was the sun! What is this the freaking arctic circle? I thought 9 a.m. was the crack of dawn?

I was supposed to be "at work" by 9 so I had to rush through breakfast. I gulped down a few bowls of cereal while reading the paper. I actually didn't get much reading done because it turns out that I'm unable to see through cat and one of ours decided I should be paying attention to her and not the recaps of Sunday's football games.

I arrived in my office at 9:05 unshaven, in jeans, with no shoes on and wearing the wrinkliest shirt known to man, but I did managed to squeeze a tie around my neck in the 20 minutes between bed and work. I took a timer from the kitchen and set it to count down from 10 hours. Instead of playing my normal $100 SNG's I decided to drop down a limit to the $55 level. The only thing worse than working 50 hours in a week is working 50 hours when you're losing. I definitely wanted to book a win to start the week and this seemed like a good way to ensure that. I planned to play for about 6 hours but after 5 hours and 19 minutes I decided to break for lunch. In this first part of the day I was right around even most of the time. I played 47 tournaments and ended up with 20 money finishes, but eleven of them were 3rds with only three 2nds and six 1sts. I was ahead about $200 at this point and feeling ok.

I had a bowl of soup while I watched Around the Horn and Pardon the Interuption (a pair of sports talk shows) on ESPN. I have a daily routine where I always eat while I watch Around the Horn and I've noticed that if I TIVO it and watch it later in the day I always get a very pavlovian craving for my lunch time staples. I went for a 30 minute run following lunch and after a quick shower I was ready to get back into the action.

In my second session of the day I had tremendous success. I had two sweet streaks of money finishes. To start I made the money in 10 of my first 13 tries and I had another streak where I made the money in 9 of 10 tries. In the second set overall I had 24 money finishes in 37 tournaments with nine 3rds, seven 2nds and eight 1sts.

On the day I ended up winning a few dollars short of $1,900 and I set a few records. First of all my previous best for tournaments in a day was 62 which I eclipsed with my total of 84 (I'll shoot for 100 tomorrow I think). Secondly I made the money in the fastest time and the fewest number of hands that I can ever imagine. It only took 7 hands and 8 minutes to make the money in one tournament. I hadn't won a pot or seen a flop and wasn't even paying attention to that particular game when I noticed that there were only 3 of us left and one player had 10,500 chips! It typically takes about 35-40 minutes to get down to 3 players and the fastest I can remember making it to the money is about 13 minutes so I was really amazed by this turn of events.

Another thing I saw for the first time was a guy playing in 18 games at a time! The most I'd seen before was 12, but I noticed this guy in all of my games so I did a search for him and saw he was playing in eighteen $55 SNG's. This is TOTALLY insane. I've played 9 games at a time before and I think I could handle 10 or 12 for a few minutes, but nowhere close to 18. And he was playing like that all day. You need at least 2 and probably more like 3 or even 4 thirty inch monitors to run that many games comfortably. It didn't seem like he was doing very well which is not surprising.

If tomorrow goes anything like today I might have to make this work all day thing a habit. I feel pretty tired, but I'm hoping after a good nights sleep I'll be ready to get back to work. Tomorrow I'm planning on wearing my tie that has lobsters putting tobasco sauce on themselves which I love, but never get to wear because it is ridiculous. I'll let you know what happened.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Getting Ready for Some 10 Hour Days

On Monday I'm going to start my executive week challenge. Some people thought it would be this past week so you're not alone if you're confused about the timing. I'll be playing the part of a hard working, nut job executive and working 10 hours a day for 5 days straight. This will be 10 hours at the computer clicking away and I won't be counting any lunch or other breaks towards my total time. Check back for daily updates.

In other news, in the time between my last post and today I have been getting totally killed. It was nice in my last post to deliver some good news for a change, but since then, things have turned really sour. I've been spending my time playing $100 SNG's which is supposed to be the thing that I'm best at, but it sure doesn't seem that way. My results haven't been marginal or even bad; they've been horrific. It's not like I've been winning in the mornings and losing back my winnings plus a little more at night. Everytime I sit down to play $500 evaporates from my account. I'm trying to stay as positive as I can, but when all you do is lose, lose, lose for a week straight it feels like you're cursed.

Even worse, the last thing I feel like doing is playing poker. It's painful to lose hand after hand no matter what you do and it has a cumulative effect on your emotional well being. If you get a 4th place (the most frustrating result in a SNG that pays three spots) when you're ahead even a little or right after you get a first or a second it's no big deal. On the other hand if you've gone 8 straight tournaments without a money finish with two 4th's and three 9ths during that stretch and then you get TWO MORE 4th's when you were WAY ahead in both of the hands on which you were knocked out, it will make you scream "FUCK" at the top of your lungs. Even this kind of thing is tolerable under normal circumstances, but when it happens after things haven't been going well for a few days and there are more very similar stories from the preceding days, it makes you feel terrible. You keep thinking "when the hell is this going to stop?"

It makes me feel bad for professional athletes that get slammed in the media. Sometimes you just can't get it done. It doesn't matter how much you want to win or how hard you try. Sometimes you're just not good enough. I'm starting to worry that maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe I just don't have what it takes.

Even though that's how I'm feeling right now, it's not like I'm going to quit playing. I just have to keep doing my best and hope things turn around. There's a certain security in knowing that you're going to be playing 50 hours in 5 days. Even if things go poorly for the first 25 hours (which is an eternity in online poker) there are still 25 more to be played. Hopefully I'll be able to knock out a few winning days and get myself back on track financially and emotionally.