Stuck in a rut

I have been doing a lot of thinking… about poker, life, and where my journey is taking me. The mental part of poker I think is and always has been important. Something that I focused on from the beginning was on how I would balance it all with my home life. For me it has always been extremely important that I don’t sacrifice my mental happiness so that I could be present for my family. The problem is that my year hasn’t been so great, and I was starting to get disappointed in myself. I was stuck in a rut.

Even though I have a roll, I started to get concerned about my downswing. It can’t be normal to be in the negative for so long, can it? Maybe its because I am focusing on the calendar year. If I expand my statistical data to include more than just 2022, I am in the positive. I kept telling myself that things would turn around and soon I would be back in the positive for this year. These things happen, its just the variance. My coach told me that I am a solid player and will go far in my career. It was just a matter of time.

Things would turn around for me during the WSOP. Cash games are great during the series, and I would be able to easily win enough to get me into the positive for 2022. The games were awesome, but the results were not what I had been hoping for. I won a few games but then I ended up having a couple big losses that messed with my mental state. I wasn’t sure what should change. Was there something about the way I was playing? Was it something that I needed to study to improve on? Perhaps I was not handling the loss the way I should have been and needed some meditation to get myself into the right frame of mind. I started to work on my game, my mental state, and focused on what I thought was best for me.

A couple months later, I felt like I was in a good place and started to have more consistent winning sessions. I was on the path to having another winning month and taking my year out of the red. I was extremely pleased with myself. I had played my way back to within $200 of getting back in the positive. I had made some changes to my schedule and had started to play more consistently. It seemed to be working.

It felt like any other night when I went to play poker. I arrived at Caesar’s Palace and was given a seat at a table. As I made my way to the table, I recognized one of the players from the previous night. A young kid who had been playing aggressive, this table would have some action. The kid greeted me and informed me that the table was playing a mandatory straddle and bomb pots at every dealer change. Not a problem, this just meant that this was going to be a good game.

The first hand I was dealt in, I looked down at pocket Kings. I was sitting in middle position and the player to my immediate right opened. I three bet and the action folded back around to the original raiser who then four bet me. I five bet jammed and he called, he had pocket Aces. I pulled out the cash I had and bought back in; it was a cooler there was nothing I could do there. Exactly two hands later we got a new dealer, it was time for a bomb pot. I look down at pocket Kings again! The flop was King high with two spades. I had flopped top set! What was even better, was that a player who had to act before I did, was betting into me! I called hoping to bring along another caller but no one else called. The turn came an off suit Jack. This didn’t really change much. Its possible that the player who had bet on the flop could have some straight draws, but I thought it was more likely that they were on a flush draw. This player led out again but this time I raised. We ended up getting all the money in on the turn. I knew I needed to avoid a spade on the river. It was a spade. My opponent tabled Jack-four of spades for a turned two pair and rivered flush. Once again, I pulled out my money and bought back into the game.

I was now in for three buy-ins. I wasn’t worried; I could make my money back. It was going to be a long night, but it was a fun table. It was starting to get late when some guy accidentally came to our table looking for the $2/$5 game. As he turned to leave, some of the other players began to tell him who the table captain was. When he heard this, it was like someone flipped a switch in his head. You could see it in his eyes that he wanted to prove something, and he sat down to play. The very first hand he played; he jammed all-in without looking. Of course, the table captain called him. The $2/$5 guy backed into a straight to win the hand. He continued to play hands this way and soon was in for multiple buy-ins. I decided to stay and play longer, the game had gotten better!

I managed to get a double up from him and soon after that, I got it in with him again when I was dealt pocket Queens. Luckily, he had not topped off and I only had to pay off a small amount. It was late and I had started to think about leaving. Just as I had decided that I should leave, this player managed to convince everyone to change the game to Pot Limit Omaha. I didn’t think this would be the best idea, but I wasn’t going to keep the table from having fun. I agreed to play but I knew I would have to be careful. This guy had been talking about Omaha the entire time he was there. Fortunately for the table he continued to play in a similar fashion as he had been. He was just potting it and juicing it up. It was challenging and by the end of it all I had managed to come out of it with some money. I was going to have to take a loss for the night.

Our new friend shows us he had a good night

As everyone was racking up, the $2/$5 player looked at me and asked if I wanted to flip for my remaining chips. I wasn’t going to say no, but he quickly made me an offer. He said he would lay me about two to one on my money, it was a little less than two to one, but it was enough that I had to seriously consider it. I agreed and we quickly decided what the rules to the flip would be. Each of us would be dealt five cards and then a flop, turn, and river would be dealt out, but the river would be left facing down. Then we would turn over our cards one by one, no peek style. He ended up getting a full house and winning. I thought that was it but for some reason I pulled out a few chips I had in my pocket. He asked if I wanted to flip again. He gave me the same offer except this time we decided to do black or red, I won.

A few of the guys from the table were going to go play Baccarat. A few others were going to stay playing poker. I was going to go home to get some sleep. Even though I had lost that night, I went home feeling good about the session. Sure, it wasn’t what I wanted but compared to where I had been mentally, I knew everything would be okay. I had managed to meet some cool guys and had fun.  Later that morning after I had gotten some sleep, I woke up to a text message from our $2/$5 maniac who had to prove that he was the table captain. He sent me a pic showing that he had won all his money back. I smiled because I knew eventually, I would win my money back too, I just had to keep playing smartly.

Bizzy’s Gains 2022: -$2769.15

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