Putting The Pieces Back Together
I'm at the point now where my bankroll is secure enough to play at least two 45 player $5 SNGs. I will probably do these tonight. If I can money in either one, then I will probably be able to stick to that limit level. Otherwise, I'll need to money in a couple more $1 games.
Believe it or not, I think it was a Good Thing (TM) that I hit my bad run when I did. The following things have come about as a result of playing close to the bust out line:
1) It has forced me to play nothing but my A game, which is what I should have been playing from the beginning. I don't know why I wasn't. I was probably either being cocky, being stupid, or underestimating my opponents. It was probably a combination of all three.
2) It has also forced me to learn more, to make myself pay more attention and pick up reads on other players. This is something I've struggled with online, but I have gotten a lot better at it recently.
3) It has forced me to drastically improve my short-handed play. I've learned to drastically widen my hand ranges once the final table is down to six or less. I've also gotten better at reading others in these short-handed games and stealing when I can.
4) My first goal in MTTs is no longer to just make the money. I used to be happy with just making the money, satisfied that I'd beaten so many others for a little profit. Sure, I'd want to win, but finishing in the money was the most important. No more. This simply is not going to give me the ROI I need at the limits I currently play. I can't be happy playing for four hours and just making $2. My mindset has changed in terms of MTTs so that my first goal is going deep. I played a limit MTT about a week ago where I was on the bubble with a semi-short stack. I had a really good drawing hand (12+ outs), but I knew I was behind after the flop. I could easily have folded into the money, but that was no longer my goal. My goal was to go deep, so I went for it. I missed my draw and bubbled out, but I was very happy with my decision. If I had won that hand, I would have been set to go very deep into the money.
To sum it all up, I think I'm playing the best poker of my life right now. Granted, I've only been playing for a year, but I think that I have learned a lot. I know that I'm nowhere near where I could be; there's tons of room for improvement. I think the major difference between now and a few months ago is that I'm really ready to learn. We'll see how it goes.