2009: The Year of Running Good

I cant believe its been almost a month since I last updated this thing.

Just about to get ready for a New Years party and I cannot wait to get 2008 done and dusted. I know tomorrow will be the same as any other day but we humans do think of things in terms of months and years and, while by no means an awful year, 2008 is one I will be glad to see the back of.

The dog died, my old man was ill for a bit, my missuses grandparents the same and even my missus was worryingly ill for a while (all more than fine now thankfully). Most of my mates had some form of bad news or other in 2008, in the case of a few some very grim news indeed, so generally it wasn't the best year. I did have plenty of fun too, went to Vegas which was amazing, had a really good year with the girlfriend in general so it wasn't all that bad.

As a writer I had a truly fantastic year. I really love the stuff I do with Pokernews and wrote some stuff for magazines I really truly deemed 'proper writing n that'. I also got a lot of kudos in the industry and have even started a regular stint on Sky Poker as a guest, which panders to my ego very nicely indeed. If 2009 can be anything like 2008 in this regard, I will be a happy man.

As a player, its been a bad year. A winning year, a nice winning year I guess (I have more in the bank now than ever before), but way below expectation and had lots of long frustrating break even spells. I only had one bad losing month (which might have actually been break even when you add rakeback) but the 2nd half of the year contained too many just-better-than-break-even months, which was frustrating but again, thank god for rakeback.

Which was all funny, because this was the first year I had a coach, Stuart 'Balloo' Menzies, which coincided with the bad run when you think it would do the opposite. Stuart has really massively helped my game, and made me realise that I wasn't as good as I thought I was and a lot of my success in the past has been a result of raw aggression (Which ain't a terrible thing). Its good to have the wind knocked out of your sails like this and I think I am a much better player this year than I was 12 months ago for it.

But unfortunately, the coaching has also coincided with some real bad luck at the cash tables. The last 6 months I have ran really bad at the cash tables, not getting massively outdrawn all the time (Although that did happen plenty and I am about significantly up on my 'Sklansky Bucks' graph, though not on my real bucks graph lol) but simply constantly running big hands into bigger hands. I get queens, they get kings, I get kings, they get aces, I get aces, they hit a set, I get a set, they hit their flush etc etc.

I hate moaning about it, I hate people that moan about bad luck, but apart from occasional weeks where I would run like god, this was the story of May to December for me. My coach, who sweats my sessions, made the comment to me that he has never seen anyone run big hands into bigger hands as much as me and I must say, his support has been what has stopped me from quitting the game this year.

But, one big leak of mine that I cant blame luck on (though it is a catalyst for) is that when I am tilted, I play very defensively and don't value bet enough. As much as I moan about bad luck, I'm pretty certain the tilt factor amplified the bad luck and I could have got myself out of these runs had I played better.

Live tournaments were a huge flop for me too, which was lucky in a way as I was sponsored for the vast majority of the events I played and didnt lose much of my own money at all. I didn't cash in a single ranking event and only got my money back in one saver deal. I cant really blame luck on this, every tournament I played went like this:

Build a big stack early
Go card dead when the blinds start to get big
Blind away and shove with rags at the end of day 1, get called, lose.

Obviously I say there that I went card dead every time in the middle stages, but the leak is mine because I clearly have no clue what to do in that scenario and better tournament players will have emerged from those spells better than I did. Thankfully, I did do really well in the small handful of Online MTTs I played, I reckon I only played about 15 MTTs online this year and I won 4, which is a great return I should probably think more about making the most of next year.

So 2009 looks pretty simple for me. I want to carry on my writing work and any other poker opportunities that come along. I want to get a dog with my girlfriend, that should be easy enough. And in 2009 I want to run well and play well. Obviously I cant control the luck element, but I can constantly improve as a player and I think that if I have a positive attitude and stop whining about running bad, then it will only have a positive affect on my winnings. (Cashing in a live event would be nice too).

So happy new year and may 2009 be the year of the run good!


Steve H. said...

Good luck in 2009 mate, hope you have a successfull year at the felt.

Amatay said...

gl for 09 Barry

Ten Buy-ins is NOT overrolled....(apparently) said...

good luck in 09 mate.

I'll link you up once I figure out how!

Anonymous said...

Good luck in the coming year Sir, everything turn’s around just make sure you’re at the felt with plenty behind when it does.

Can I ask a question? Do you ever think the writing might have slowed down your development as a player?

Barry Carter said...

You always ask very good questions Kev.

I'm not sure to be honest, in the first instance, it certainly helped my development as a player. Writing about poker meant that I thought about poker more, got involved in more poker opportunities and generally was exposed to the game more - which can only be a good thing.

But, maybe it did in a way or too. I've never had the 'fear' like most straight up professional players have because I've always had a steady income to reply on from writing.

The time I spend writing also at times has stopped me from studying more and going through hand histories, which I really need to do more of.

Writing also means I read less strategy articles, because I must have read a thousand in a short space of time and its hard to filter the good ones from the bad ones.

I certainly could make the argument that I am too exposed to poker at times, not to a David Benyamine sort of level, but one way or another I am around it a lot every day and cant take a step back like a lot of players do.

Overall, Id say the writing has been a positive affect on my playing, but as you suggest, perhaps not so much recently.

Blame the writing.....I like that

Anonymous said...

LOL, got to have something to blame Sir! I usually blame the wife myself.

I find my own little bit of writing help’s me order my thoughts on certain aspects but I do very little of it, think is though I always write for myself regardless. It always occurred to me that it must be hard to immerse yourself in your own game because of the number of commitments you have and that you might find yourself thinking in a sort of holistic approach so that you can write about them later for a wider audience rather than devoting time to thinking about things in terms of your own game and level you play at?

Barry Carter said...

That is one hell of a long last sentence.

I think you might be right, a lot of my writing is either about someone or something else, often players way above my level of play OR it is writing strategy for players quite a few levels below me - rarely do I write for me so to speak.

I think that really showed itself when I started getting coaching last year, actually having someone much better than me, scrutinising and supporting me at the same time was a weird experience, one that I am just getting used to and really pushed me out of a comfort zone I was in for a long time.

Any extensive writing I am doing that might be harming my development is certainly being compensated for by having a coach, I think its the quickest and most effective way a player, of any level, can improve (after reading WPT strategy articles of course).

Anonymous said...

I see where your coming from with the coaching but I still think that the act of clarifying my thoughts by commiting them to paper is one of my greatest self improvement tools.

Alex Martin said...

gl in 2009. must be nice making more from magazine articles than milkybar kid made at 50/100plo imo.

hope to see u soon.

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