Finding a way out of a poker tournament slump

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Poker Tournament

Submitted by Dungbeetle, this article belongs to the Poker Tournament series.

 Dungbeetle has had a rocky start to 2009 mostly due to losses in live cash games. Unfortunately good tournament results have yet to come in  2009 so the struggle continues. Perhaps our readers will be able to give some advice…..

I played the online Sunday majors yesterday with fairly dire results, resulting in another heavy loss. Something isn’t working at the moment for me in all forms of the game, and I need to figure out what it is. I still continue to build 2/3/4 times starting stacks early on in tournaments (rarely being all in), but somehow just can’t convert these promising starts into deep cashes. In the previous two years, I had a decent conversion rate of final tabling once in the money spots, but that doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.

I can’t put my finger on what has happened, but I am extremely stressed about job security at the moment, and I wonder whether I am a little too desperate to get that big score which would secure my poker bankroll, at least in the short term, and thus making bad decisions. I’m almost certainly playing too aggressively at the moment as well, again possibly due to my desperation to get right up the pay scale. Clearly this over-aggression costs me dearly after making strong starts. Perhaps I just don’t flip well at the moment – I dunno.

Anyhow – I made some tournament notes before I got hacked off, so I’ll just stick them down as I wrote them. I played a further four tournaments after the ones below with zero success, although I remember losing 4 races in a row. One thing I would say, is that the late Sunday tournament structures aren’t a patch on the early ones, so in future I’ll play a trimmed schedule:

PokerStars Sunday WarmUp
“10k starting stack, down to 5k, up to 15k after an hour. I shove with 5d7d from BB when a frequent cutoff raiser makes it 20% of my stack to call. This is the first time I made this move. He snap calls for 80% of his stack with KQ (very questionable – how often is he against AK/AQ there?). I lose.”

PartyPoker – 300k guaranteed
“Play really well – quickly up to 19k from 5k start. Continue to be amongst leaders for the first 2/3 hours before easing up a little. Bust in 82nd spot when sitting about 50th. The serial table raiser makes it a 2.5 raise as usual, and I shove for 7 times that amount with 10s6s from the SB. However, he has JJ this time and I am toast. Cash for $480″

PaddyPower – 250k guaranteed
“Play well – build big above average stack in the first two hours. However, tournament gets trappy with many people on 15 big blinds or less with 125 remaining. I have been shove stealing frequently, as players are playing tighter than they should be. I steal with J2 from the button and the BB wakes up with 99 to bust me 25 out of the money”

Full Tilt Sunday Brawl
“On fire for most of the early tournament, winning a huge amount of small pots, often with bluffs when I can see that players aren’t quite committed enough to play for their stacks. I am on a stack of 25k, and sitting 40th with 400 remaining and 200 get paid. I then make a HUGE blunder. This is a bounty tournament, and I’ve already picked up $160 in bounties ($40 a pop) when I notice that the BB is so short stacked that he is all in. UTG limps for 500, UTG+1 makes it 2000, I find AK in the cutoff and shove for 25k with AK to secure the bounty, but UTG+1 has KK and I am down to 8k. Idiotic trying to chase the $40 bounty, when the raises are from such an early position. I get back up to 10k, squeeze with AT for my stack and get called by 88 and K9 (?). I lose the multi-flip to get back to 30k and bust 317th.”

Pokerstars 125k guaranteed
“Double up early when a donkey gets it all in preflop with 22 against my AA but get distracted by the other tournaments. Dribble down to 10 big blinds and get caught stealing mid way through the tournament”

Crypto 35k
“Get lucky with AJ v AK to get back to average after 2 hours play. Bust shoving 66 into AQ who flops a house”

FT 50k guaranteed
“I’m below average, but lose a large pot to go above average mid tournament. Button raises I shove TT from big blind and lose to AJ”

Pokerstars Sunday Million
“I hardly play a hand in the first hour as I’m too entrenched in the later stages of the Party and Paddy Power tournaments. By the time I give it it’s due attention, I have 8k and blinds are 300/600. The blinds rise again, I shove A6 from the button and get called by A8 in the BB. I spike a 6, but he rivers a flush. Didn’t give this tournament enough attention”

So another hit to the P&L. There is a long way to go, but if I don’t turn things around soon this will have to be considered a “Fluke” style 2008 downswing, when looked at in conjunction with the last two months of 2008.

This week will see me take a few days off, before playing live somewhere on Thurdsay (probably the Cannon), before Saturday sees a trip to Castle Conway for Mike’s home game.

As Stuart Pearce once memorably said in an interview.

“It’s going badly, but I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel”

Amen to that.
P&L GBP 2009
Live Tournaments 30
Live Cash (600)
Online Tournaments (1,367)
Online Cash (164)
Poker Festivals 0
Rake (173)

Total (2,274)

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3 Comments to Finding a way out of a poker tournament slump

January 25, 2009

Keep in mind that my skill level is nowhere near yours, as I don’t have the BR or skills to try the tournaments that you mentioned. Having said that, here’s 2 things that came to mind when reading your article. First, your pushing hands, although from a decent position, are weak. I understand that at a certain point you need to steal blinds to survive, but stealing J2 from anywhere is tough. Secondly, it seems like you were multi-tabling some fairly big tournaments, that if you want to make it deep, you need to be paying attention to. So limit your big tournaments so you can focus on the action around you, which would probably make it easier to find spots to push with.

McTap03’s last blog post..Wicked Chops Poker Freeroll to Borgota Open

January 25, 2009

I also do not have a lot of tournament experience, but I agree with McTap on the part about multi-tabling.

January 26, 2009

I think you are right. While you are only discussing a few hands in the article, and some of them were short-stack shoves, you certainly seem to be playing far too aggressively in a lot of situations.

Also, you don’t always seem to be considering the chip stacks of your opponents when you shove. Sure, you did consider it against the short-stacks, but it sure seems you are pushing a lot against people who can take you out. While these people are a way to double your stack, they are also a way to lose it.


KC’s last blog post..What the #$%@ is AIOF?

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