NLHE: The woman who beats me, but I always come crawling back

Several weeks ago I made mention of my quest to turn my $1.36 on pokerstars into some serious cash. Admittedly, I thought the odds of doing it were pretty grim, but with the future of online gambling (money transfers specifically) currently up in the air, I wasn’t about to transfer any more funds into it (in fact I had transferred my money out of all sites but pokerstars and full tilt prior to this).

When I started trying to build up my buck, it was exclusively in stud hi-lo, simply because winning there (at micro levels) was fairly simple. It took a couple of weeks, but I was able to build the initial $1.36 to over $50 in low limit stud. At that point I started risking portions of it on NLHE tournaments. There is just something about the atmosphere of the NLHE tournament that just isn’t there in a cash stud game. Of course I was still playing those at low levels as well, with just enough success to keep the bankroll slowly going up.

Last week I also bought into the MATH and WWDN tournaments, which have a combined buy-in of just over half of my total bankroll. I managed to donk out of the MATH early after making simply a horrible call that I don’t want to discuss (the short story is just because someone is playing like a maniac and raising every hand doesn’t mean that they don’t have the cards to back it up -at least some of the time). The WWDN went notably better. I was playing well and getting some cards when I needed to. I managed to also donk out of that one after min-raising from UTG with AKo. It got a call from the big blind, who also happened to have a King, but when the flop was a King and two rags I never put him on an 8 to make two pair. Should have raised it more to push him out preflop. Noted. That cash (sixth place I think) put me right back at 50 bucks.

I am still playing the stud for a while each day, and I am still winning overall, but I am having more losing sessions than I used to, and after an entire week of nothing but stud I am only up about 4 bucks. So I needed to switch gears. Too much of anything can be detremental to my game (as evidenced by my play in NLHE when I was playing it daily). So I decided it was time to try out some HORSE.

I am pretty good at Hold ‘Em (hey, it’s my story), I can hold my own at Omaha, and Stud Hi-Lo has always been my best game. That leaves only Razz and Stud Hi to try to fake my way through, right? Well it turns out that I am not nearly as good as I thought at Hold ‘Em (see, it’s limit Hold ‘Em, a completely different game), and Razz likes to deal me an A23 every hand only to deal four consecutive kings afterwards. Omaha has quickly become my strongest game, and I just try to avoid getting into the hands at all in Stud hi. I have done pretty well so far. In four HORSE games (single table sng), I have finished on the bubble twice, second once, and third once -noting that the bubbles were back to back, followed by third, then second.

So I am having success -at least in the form of not losing any money- at every form of poker except NLHE. So all of the meager winnings from the other forms of poker end up going back to buy ins in NLHE. I do this even knowing that I will need at least a few premium hands, I will need to play solid poker for a couple of hours, and I will have to get lucky at least three times (luck in the form of winning coinflips, though suckouts help too) to have a cash finish. It takes a lot more work, a lot more time, and certainly a lot more money to play in them, but it is so much more gratifying to do well in a NLHE tournament than to stack someone in a stud cash game. Why? You got me.

But all the stud play over the last few weeks has afforded me the ability to play in the MATH yet again. This time I was able to make some plays when I needed to, pick up some cards in good position a couple of times, and, yes, even get lucky a few times. It took two hours to finish the game (I think there were 16 entrants), and I only came in second, but the $84 payday puts my current bankroll at just over $112.

$1.36 to $112 in just over a month. Now if I can just keep increasing it 80x every month I should be golden with a year…

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