Mid-year review

It’s funny, whenever I walk into a card room these days, so many people ask “Where have you been?” A perfectly natural question to ask as many of these people are regular poker players who had been used to seeing me on an almost daily basis. It still takes me a little off guard though as I told pretty much everyone that I was going to have a baby last November, and that I would be staying home with him. I also announced on this site, that my number one goal for the year was to spend more time with my family. Well, goal accomplished. I have really enjoyed the first 8 months of my son’s life, as well as the added time with my wife and firstborn son.

Speaking of goals, as the year is now half-over, now is as good a time as any to review the goals I set for the year. This allows for me to check in on my progress, and make any adjustments necessary to accomplish the goals I set forth. Exciting I know 🙂 but I already know a change that I am making, and will announce at the end of this post (foreshadowing).

On with the goal progression:

  • Spend more time with my family As already mentioned, this has already been accomplished. Last year I traveled a lot for poker, which brought me away from my pregnant wife. Now that my second son is here, I do not want to repeat the same mistakes I made with my first son. When Brady was born, I started working in the auto industry, and did not leave the business until he was 6. I was averaging about 70 hours every week, which meant that I missed much of his early years. I have always felt terribly guilty about this, and since leaving the business, have fought to have more and more time with him. With the birth of Beckett, I could be a more regular & consistent presence in his life, as well as Brady’s. I feel that I have been very successful with this, and it has brought me incalculable joy. While my poker game has suffered, it has been more than worth it, and I will continue to choose family over poker.
  • Write more Well, I suppose that technically, this goal has been accomplished as well, but it feels like I still have work to do. I did write an article for MN Poker Mag, (which can be found here) but that is really all the writing that I have done. I only posted once on my own site, and nothing else, clearly not good enough. I really wanted to post some hands in the Hand Analysis page, but I never got around to it. I had two really pivotal hands against Kou Vang in the MSPT event at Canterbury that I thought everyone would really enjoy, myself included. But now that so much time has passed, I don’t remember all of the exact specifics of the hands. I do remember most of the specifics, and why they were pivotal though, so if you all want to discuss them, let me know, and I will post what I can about them. Otherwise, I will be posting a hand from the Running Aces Anniversary Tournament. This hand didn’t have nearly as much on the line as the 2 against Kou, but still a pretty interesting hand nonetheless. Ok, so now I know I am going to post at least one more time, but that still isn’t enough…never fear, I have something new in the works, and will announce below (foreshadowing again 🙂 ).
  • More MSPT Live Broadcasts I really appreciate everything that Bryan Mileski and the MSPT has done for Minnesota poker. As such, I enjoy being a part of the MSPT in any, and every, way I can. I have enjoyed a little success in the tournaments, 2 final tables, 3 cashes, but I found even more enjoyment from doing the live broadcasts with Bryan. I have now done 2 of these, one last year at Canterbury, one this year at Running Aces, but would love to do this more. Once again, my schedule with family has really hindered me in this category as I have limited my travel availability, but I hope to do some more of these in the coming months…as long as you all enjoy my commentary, and I don’t make it to the final table 😉
  • Support my fellow players I really do enjoy being a part of the larger MN poker community. Minnesota is one of the toughest places in the country to be a successful live poker player, and I think we should all be proud of that. Last year, I was able to sweat a couple of our players while they were at WSOP final tables. This year, my timing was off. Every time we had a player at the final table, I was here at home. This did not lessen my joy though at seeing 2 members of our community come home with bracelets, including what I feel is one of the toughest, and most coveted bracelets of all, the $10,000 HORSE event. Chris “Fox” Wallace has been an extremely solid and successful player for a long time, but I think that many people felt he is overrated. Well, try making that argument now. I have known Fox for a number of years, and while he is not one of my closest friends, I feel that he could be. He is a man that I respect fully, and one of the nicest people around. Additionally, part of his past contributed to the impetus of the new adventure I’m going to launch at the end of this post…did I mention that I would have an announcement at the end?
  • One 5 figure score The one truly poker achievement goal on this list is the one that I have fallen the most shy of. I did mention when I listed this goal that I thought it would be the toughest to achieve. A combination of not playing as much, plus playing in some of the toughest fields in the country (MN) is a recipe for failure. I did come close though. In April, I final tabled the MSPT at Canterbury for the second straight year. I came in to the final table 4th in chips, and felt pretty confident about hitting the 5 figure mark, since I only had to get to 8th place. This is not a slight against anyone else at the table, just a statement about where I thought my game was at. Well…2 hands in, I was out. If you watch the stream of the event (here), you’ll see that I 3 bet with [Qc][Qs], and called a shove, losing to [Kh][Kc]. Many people have called this a cooler, and they’re right, though I feel for a different reason than most. Here’s some mini hand discussion…normally with QQ, I am probably going to just call an early position raise from a fairly tight player, when I am in the BB. The biggest reason for this is to prevent exactly what happened. Many people will disagree with me, saying that I should re-raise for information. This argument has merit, but what do you do when you get shoved on? Granted, there are really only 3 hands that you are truly scared of, AA, KK, and to a lesser degree AK, but your opponent doesn’t necessarily have one of those 3 hands to shove versus a BB 3 bet. Many opponents will make that same move with JJ, 1010, AQ, maybe even more. While this means that you are probably ahead of most of your opponents range, that doesn’t mean it is the right play. I argue that seeing the flop, and verifying that there is no scare card, is more profitable in the long run. It insulates you from losing your stack against AK, and allows you to play the hand for information against lower hands that may have hit the flop. Which brings me to why I feel this particular hand was a cooler for me. The villain had been raising pretty light for several hours before hitting the final table. Every time he made a raise, I was unable to play against him as other action prevented me from getting in the mix unless I had a big hand. I was just biding my time until I had something, and there was no other action after him, before me. His early position raise was not out of character at all, and action folded to me in the BB. All I heard in my head was “Let’s do this!” I must apologize to everyone that saw my reaction when he turned over KK. I pushed myself away from the table in disgust. Not my usual demeanor, and I am not proud of it. Anyway, weren’t we talking about my failure to hit a 5 figure score? There is still time left in the year for me to get there, but my family schedule will limit the events I play in even more than they did for the first half of the year, so we’ll see.

So, all in all, I’m not doing that badly against my goals, but definitely there is room to improve. There are other things which have occurred this year worth celebrating, but now is not the time. I want to focus on my goals, and how I can achieve them. The biggest, and easiest, gap to fill is writing more. I think I have found a way to increase my writing, while still spending time with my family. Drumroll please….

I have decided to start playing online, and writing about my exploits!

Really?!? That’s what all the foreshadowing was about? Well in a word, yes. However; I am adding a couple twists. I think that just playing online and posting about results seems awfully boring for both the reader, which there probably wouldn’t be any, and the writer, which means I wouldn’t do it anyway. I have decided to put my friend Chris “Fox” Wallace’s bankroll management article to a little test. I have created a new page on my website called Experiment. On this page, I will lay out the details of a micro bankroll management experiment. It’ll go something like this:

  • Post rules of experiment
  • Create new account on an online poker website
  • Create new Twitter handle
  • Deposit funds into new poker account
  • Follow bankroll management guidelines in Fox’s article and play online
  • Post via Twitter when I am playing, and the table(s) I am playing at
  • Post results on an ongoing basis to the website

I’m not really sure how this will go, hence why it is called an experiment, but I am looking forward to whatever comes of it.

I hope you enjoy this new feature on the website, it should be live in the next couple days. I have already created the page, the online poker account, the new Twitter account (@YayMeGrothe in case you’re wondering), and have made the first deposit. Now all I have to do is lay out the rules of the experiment and start playing. As for seeing me in the card room? As always, whenever I can be there, I will, but I’ll always be pulling for my friends to succeed. However; the Midwest Poker Classic is coming up at Running Aces again, and I hear they are having a ladies’ edge event again…