The thing about a blog is that it's now a bit dated. But I still think that by recording your thoughts, you get to ruminate over them and further process them. To that end, here are a few updates on poker progress...
First off, I skipped the WSOP this year. I felt like I was not playing well, and my league results reflected this. I didn't finish in the top 10 in either league. I cant say I am overly disappointed as I DETEST re-entry/re-buy MTTs and that seems to be all the rage in Vegas now (I suspect because they can rake over and over again per player. To me, this is the beginning of the end, but that is how it goes). But my important take away was that I still needed to improve my game. Something was amiss.
So, what did I do? I took Japanese I with my daughter. Ok, those are not technically related. I wanted to do this with her and not going to Vegas meant I was home for those 8 weeks in summer and was able to do this with her. I am really glad I took this class because it taught me something. I have NOT been studying poker worth a damn. I mean, I had to pour hours into studying each week just to keep up in class and I thought to myself how much harder I was studying Japanese than I was studying poker... and yet, I somehow thought my poker study was good enough. It was NOT. I now understand how hard I have to study to improve vs. just going through material and hands.
Cue "crossed paths"...
Last year, I played in a WSOP event (we were ITM by now) and I got moved to a table with Mike Sexton and Ryan Laplante. Mike was very serious and I could tell was bemused when people (including me) looked at phones, or talked about things other than poker. As a contrast, Ryan was gregarious and talkative. I found it interesting that you could almost see him processing information at some incredible rate. I started talking with him (I didn't know he was a pro when I landed at the table.) and was very impressed by his poker acumen. Quickly his pro status become quote evident... Then I found out he did coaching. Now I have a coach and I doubted I could afford Ryan, but started following him on Twitter (@protentialmn). He posts these interesting spots which I could compare to what I was learning to see what the thinking gap was. (Over simplifying, I am not playing my value RANGE strong enough.) Anyway, when he opened a training site, I jumped on the change to get in early. The videos are really detailed and broken down into logical chunks. I have watch the first dozen twice already, taking notes and comparing to how I would play without the insight. The gap was intimidating. But that means I came to the right place. These lessons were going to be incredible valuable. If you are also interested, its over at Learn Poker Pro.
Lastly, to complete this set of thoughts, I also gave myself way too much credit for understanding GTO. There is an expression, "Explain to me like I'm 5". Simply stated, walk me through something slowly and don't assume I know anything (much less what I say I know). Then I saw that Andrew Brokos (@thinkingpoker) published his teaching (he is/was a teacher by trade) GTO book. At first I thought it was at too simple of a read... Then I realized that I was picking up all sorts of new information. The book is Playing Optimal Poker, and I highly recommend it for today's game. It lays out not just how GTO works, but how to apply it. Seems easy? Well, I was surprised how much context I was missing in terms of applying GTO to playing a hand.
(In neither case do I post this for any considerations or compensations other than passing on a couple of impressive resources.)
Next up for me is to digest this material and become a better player in this upcoming 2019-2020 season.
(I'll try and post more updates)