Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Are You Kicking The Can??

I read a lot of economics and global finance type blogs (when not updating the network of poker sites!). One phrase which seems to come up again and again is ‘Kicking The Can Down The Road’, referring to putting off the really difficult decisions to another day / month / year.  It struck me that this phrase can also apply to us online poker fans, not in terms of avoiding problems… more in avoiding those important steps required to take your game to the next level. After all its easier just to play, right? It is simple to blame your lack of progress on a few suckouts at critical times than it is to analyze your own game for leaks… it is easier to sigh and fire up another set of SNGs than it is to make sure you did not miss any +ev ICM situations.This post is posted in the hope that some readers will stop kicking their particular can down the road, and take some positive steps over the holiday season and into the new year which could see their poker bankrolls really benefit. I’ll put in a link to further reading where applicable… remember these are just a few ideas! 

1)      Find a fishier site… I know, you started playing at site X and kind of got used to it. Everyone tells you that site Y is easier to beat and will boost your profits, and you keep meaning to move some of your roll over – it is just never convenient at this particular moment…. STOP! You are having a can kicking moment which could easily be the reason your bankroll is stagnant! Take a look at our interactive Fish-o-Meter now for some ideas and suggestions on the Fishiest Poker Sites for you!  

2)      Focus on one game until you beat it! This is my own personal ‘can’,  I tend to jump around… playing: PLO Rush, SNGs, larger Poker Tournaments, 90 Player KO SNGs, Mixed Games and so on… My (poor) excuse is to test out strategy for you guys!! Really though, if you are serious about breaking through then you should be focusing on one game at a time, working out how others play and how to beat them and becoming the shark at your table. With some good bankroll management it is easy to move up levels as you gain confidence and insights. For SNG fans I put together a little comparison of the best SNGs to build your bankroll. Personally I’m going to drop the Rush and Mixed games in 2011 (a good start at least!).  

3)      Analyze Your Game! If you are playing SNGs and not analyzing your push / fold bubble play then you are literally giving money away every time you play. At the lowest levels you can get away with a theoretical knowledge of ICM… as you climb then people who have done their ‘homework’ will have an edge on you every time you play. Even if you start with 1 hour for every 6 you play using a tool such as SNG Wiz you will be in a position to grind up that bankroll. For cash game and tournament players work on ranges, situations and bet sizes can be invaluable.  

4)      Get Training! One difficulty with finding leaks is that it is not always apparent where to look. You can now be trained by the best players around in video format for around $20 to $30 a month. I recommend very highly for both cash games, PLO and SNGs. 

5)      Avoid the ‘regulars’ in your games. To start with you will need to identify who the regulars and winning opponents are... this is vital for long term profitability and should certainly form a part of your anti-can strategy! For cash games this means getting Holdem Manager or PokerTracker and building your database (or taking a shortcut with the largely unapproved Poker Edge’s huge existing database!). For tournament and SNG fans the awesome Pro Poker Labs can help with their (approved) Tournament Shark program – this attaches to the tables and tells you who the winners / losers are. It can help with decisions in hands and also highlight the regulars to avoid next time you fire up a set of SNGs… Well, hopefully this will be a fantastic year for you. One final thought, if you are ‘kicking the can’ by waiting for a big tournament score then be careful when you hit it… you could easily move up levels an find out that so many more of your opponents have put the work in on their games that you are now running with a negative expectation. The same applies to heaters in cash games and SNGS... I’ll keep it positive – a little effort can go a long way, stop ‘kicking the can’ now and take action that will repay itself many times over!!  

GL at the tables, Mark

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