Looking though my PT data after tonight's session (I now do this after almost every session thanks to the sage advice of HDouble & Iggy's PokerTracker Guide... if you don't have this guide, you're missing out on extra bets every session), I saw a few things that were quite interesting. One was in PT's "Misc. Stats" tab at the bottom: I ran at nearly 8BB/100 for my first 8k hands as a serious online player, and remained well above 3BB/100 for my first 33K hands. I was in the black 11 months in a row (with significant play in each month). That's just ridiculous. A great online player will earn no better than 2 or 2.5BB/100 over the long run in limit hold'em, and when I started out I was far from great. Better lucky than good, I guess, right?
My "Career Stats" -- Look at that insane slope over the first 33k hands!!!
The confidence (some misplaced) this initial heater instilled in me has been a key to my growth as a player, but also an inhibitor. I probably took success too much for granted, and stopped learning at a decent clip after 50K hands. I got frustrated when I stopped winning as much as fast. This year, and particularly the second half of this year, I've reflected more, taken some time off, played more live, and I think really taken a step forward in terms of my poker skills and mentality. I'm playing more aggressively, meaning I'm prone to greater swings, but getting more out of the game... even when I temporarily decide that I'm not trying to move up or learn or any of that (which I've done as recently as 8 weeks ago).
Again, while looking through the PT data I realized another thing: I've played 1/3 of all the ring game hands I've ever played (online) since June 1st 2005. I've probably played more than 1/3 of my live game hands since then too. Fifty thousand hands since June 1 in cash games alone. Am I 50% more experienced than I was at the last WPBT event? I doubt it. Am I 50% more skilled? Definitely not. But there I do feel an appreciable difference. Most of the last 50K has been flatline in terms of winnings... in fact I'm only up about 180BB in online play since June 1 (2/4 through 10/20 limits), a figure that pegs me at 0.4BB/100. In fact, if you look closely right around 29K hands, you'll see back to back 200BB swings... the first one downhill and the second uphill, both within a stretch of less than 1,500 hands. That's crazy, but it happens. Any you know what? Results-based analysis won't give you anything worthwhile here or most anywhere else in poker. HDouble taught me that, but the experience of playing seriously for a year and a half has really reinforced the lesson.
...And my results (in BB) between June 1 and November 30.
The -EV that is showing up in Vegas next week is a lot more prepared to play the game well and enjoy it however things are going than the one that showed up last year. And for that I'm quite thankful.
Oh, and by the way, bags are packed for AC. Word has it AlCan'tHang might be in the area... I smell some LIVE STRADDLE bets in the not so distant future.