Wednesday, 9 January 2013

2012 review/looking toward 2013

Where does all the time go, another year down. At the start of 2012 I didn't really have any concrete goals. I posted in this blog that "I just want to focus on improving the small things, because in time, that's what leads to the big things.". With such a general goal, I think it's impossible to say  whether it was a success or failure! Overall, I guess I'm pretty happy but not ecstatic with 2012. There was no one moment so big that it ensured it was a great year, but on the other hand, there wasn't too many bad moments either. It depends on what way you look at it I guess. Compared with 2011, I didn't win as much money. Compared to my expectations, it was probably a little below par in some areas. Compared to how bad it could have been, it was pretty good. Comparing my year to years of other people of similar age, demographic etc. I have to think I was pretty lucky. So I guess there's lots of ways of looking at things, but overall, I have to say I'm reasonably happy with my 2012. It's my third winning year in a row from poker so I guess that's the main thing!

Live Poker


I suppose the bread and butter game this year was live cash. All in all, over the course of a year, I have to be pretty happy. Of course there were times I wasn't playing at 100% or not absolutely focused, but I think on average, I was very happy with my play. The biggest difference with 2011 has to be the variance. This year, the graph is a lot straighter. It's only inevitable that you have losing nights in poker, but when I did, my aim was to minimize the losses those nights and hope to come back stronger the next night. 

I don't really like discussing specific € figures (esp in relation to cash games, tournies I feel are a bit different since there's more of a 'public' feel about them) but in 2012, I played 66 cash sessions in Limerick and only had 19 losing nights. My biggest 'losing streak' was 3 nights in a row which happened only once throughout the year and my biggest 'winning streak' was 7 nights in a row which happened on two separate occasions. With regard to €/hr, I was very happy with what I managed to average throughout the year. As I said, I don't like talking money, so here's my graph with the cash figures removed (I've decided to that with all the graphs in this blog. Money is obv on the Y-axis, just not labelled):


Bottom line, I won more money than I lost at live tournaments. However, my ROI left a lot to be desired. All told, I only played 21 live tournaments in 2012 - I cashed in 3 (1 heads-up chop and two 3rds) and had an ROI of 15%. My largest buy-in this year was €1100 and the average buy-in was €332

Statistically, it's very hard to draw any conclusions from such a small sample size but such is the way with live tournaments. The big changes from 2011 are that I didn't manage any 5-fig scores and my results all came in the slightly smaller buy-in tournaments. That's partly unlucky and partly natural. It's true, you can't choose the events to run good in, but it's also true that generally, the higher the buy-in, the tougher the field, the lower the ROI, so the higher the variance. 

Overall, I was reasonably happy with my play throughout the year. I certainly made a lot of mistakes, but I also feel I learned from a lot of those mistakes. You always have to be improving as a poker player and one thing I can say for certain is that I'm a better player now than I was at the start of 2012.

If I was to make some changes for 2013, they would be 1) to go into every single tournament with absolute focus and 2) go with my gut more. I did make a conscious effort to really focus for every tournament, but there's no denying that some days I just felt more on my game than others. It's a lot easier said than done, but for 2013, I want to replicate this kind of focus every time I sit down. Then on 2), I just think I should trust myself and my own judgement a bit more. The more you learn, the greater number of factors are at play in a hand. There's been times where I've 'felt' I should pull the trigger on a big bluff or make a big fold, but I thought about it, and based on other factors, I talked myself into not making the play. My gut wasn't right every time but on balance, I think it'd be a +EV move to listen to my gut more. I remember reading one of Doke's blogs where he said something to the effect of 'the standard spots (esp live) aren't always that standard'. This is definitely true, and there have been times where I've made what I thought was the automatic play, when my gut told me otherwise. 
And also, what's a poker player when he can't even trust himself!?!

Online Poker


Online cash is a leak and I may aswell play roulette any time I sit down to play cash. There have been times in the past where I've attempted to grind cash or take it seriously, but pretty much every session in memory this year was just 'ah I'm bored let's play cash'. Online cash seemed practically non-existant in my poker playing this year but that was of course until you see how much money you lost playing it. So as a reminder to my degeneracy, my 2012 cash graphs:



Obviously I'm taking solace in the fact I totally ran below expectation in NLHE. 

Seriously though, no comment. Analyzing this is about as much use as analyzing my roulette results. Aims for 2012: practically no online cash (or roulette for that matter). The only exception would be if I somehow decide that online cash is where the soft money's at and I put a lot of work into study, game selection, my hud etc. etc. But that's not going to happen, so...


Graph excluding Super Turbos

Graph including only Super Turbos
So should probably stay away from the super turbos.

In 2012, I played online tournaments pretty sporadically. According to SharkScope, I played 273 (everything included; SNGs, MTTs etc.) tournaments in 2012 with an ROI of 16.8%. I guess to be up money at the end of it is good so I'm happy with it.

Online MTTs aren't my main game, but unlike online cash, I feel some bit confident in my online tournament game (evidently though, I need to work on my super turbo strategy!). I never really went out of my way to play tournaments during the year and I can only really remember depositing to play the odd Sunday or satellite to a live event. 

Playing online consistently is something I've always wanted to do but never really succeeded at. I'm not sure what I want to achieve in online MTTs in 2013, but there's a lot worse results than playing sporadically and making a profit. In the few times I did play in 2012, I did learn a bit more about what structured games I prefer, what's softer etc. 

Looking toward 2013

Start of year goals, new year's resolutions etc are not something I fully believe in as things can change so much in a year that a lot of goals end up being defunct by the year's end. That said, I do enjoy the 'goals oriented-ness' of it all. Writing something down and coming back and saying 'yeah, I did that' is a good feeling. I think for the sake of a blog, it's better to have a tick-the-box type list of goals, so for the craic, my goals for 2013:

1. Maintain or improve on my hourly rate at cash games
I suppose you should always be looking to improve, but to be totally honest, if I got the same hourly rate next year that I did this year, I'd happily take it.

2. Have an ROI of 100% in live tournaments
Depending on what live tournaments you play, I think this is a very achievable ROI. I don't know how many tournaments I'm planning on playing though, so that's why I won't be making any volume goals etc. Also, the variance could be huge, so with that in mind...

3. Be totally focused in every tournament
As I said earlier, it's easier said than done, but it's in writing now so gonna give it my best!

4. Play 500 online MTTs, positive ROI, profit
I debated on this one, but I decided to go for having some sort of a goal. 500 is only a weeks worth of MTTs for some players, but again I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to spend at them. For profit and ROI, I decided anything above zero will be good enough for me. If things change, and I decide to dedicate more time to online MTTs, this goal will change.

5. Continue to study, improve etc.
I actually made the decision this year to focus less on the theory in poker and more on practical applications. I drew a parallel with chess here; In chess, you can study theory (opening theory, rook endings etc.) or you can study your own games, and analyze where YOU went wrong and what YOU can change to get better. Often it's the studying of your own games that improve you most. In poker, it's somewhat similar. For 2013, I hope to shift the focus back to theory a bit more and improve my overall game.

6. Vegas
I turn 21 in May so all roads hopefully lead to Vegas. If I end up going to Vegas underrrolled, lose everything I have, and come back with nothing but experience, how can I honestly say that's a goal achieved? I've heard plenty of stories of inexperienced people going to Vegas and basically having a good time but coming home with no money. I'm not going to totally over extend myself just to get to Vegas to 'say I did' but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't probably my number one goal for this year. I'm hoping to be in America one way or another this summer, either on a J1 or in Vegas. If I'm there on a J1, I'm sure we'll make our way to Vegas at some stage, but for the sake of this goal, I'm defining 'go to Vegas' as staying in Vegas for 1 week+ and grinding. I guess being able to make a bit of profit in Vegas would be nice too :-)

7. Win a live tournament
Beggars can't be choosers, I'll take any live tournament win.

8. 5 fig score
Beggars can't be choosers, I'll take any 5 figure score.

9. 6 fig score
Hey, you never know...

10. Continue this blog
Should be the easiest one on the list. I think the key to blog writing is to just write when you feel like it. For 2013, I'll think I'll follow that advice and just write when I feel like writing. It's often the posts that you write for the sake of it that end up being the worst. Sometimes, I do want to write straight after a tournament, whereas other times, I just can't bring myself to write anything decent. In these cases, I think it is better to wait (even if it is a few weeks) until the mood strikes to make a post.

I'd also like to thank everyone that does read this blog. Hopefully it manages to serve as a mild form entertainment to some people and I do appreciate it when people enjoy it!

Here's to 2013!


  1. Really nice honest blog, I like it;)

    Best of luck with your goals for the year ahead.


  2. So can we expect a Vegas blog later in the year, or will you be following the old rule of 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas'? :P

  3. "Mild form entertainment" was ur aim for readers May I say I was mind boggled and ur Blog was a truly wonderful experience for me both internally and externally...Ur wording is quintessential of a poker genius and as a human being..How can I thank u so much for aiding my game.C u at the tables I hope 2013 and U are my hope,inspiration and focus for year ahead..P.S, May i also take this opportunity to wish u a wonderful new year to u and ur family

  4. haha don't worry, if I make it to Vegas there will be daily diary updates omitting no details!

  5. A good page about poker blogs. Thank you for the reviews and hope 2013 offers a lot more of poker wins. Cheers!