Hey all. Been busy lately with real work so haven’t done a blog in a while. Finally had some time today to sit down and write one so hope you all enjoy this.

Before I start, I want to send out thoughts and prayers to a very dear friend that is battling for her life. Aida, we all love you very much and you are in God’s hands now and I know he will take care of you whatever happens. Please know all of your friends are thinking about you and what a great person you are. We miss you very much.

Now on to some pokerz.

If you follow my tweets, you have probably realized that I am not having a good year at the felt. Money wise I am not down that much, but after such a good year last year, this year has been hard to swallow. I have had some decent cashes, but overall haven’t had a 5 figure score and also can’t seem to get to day 2 with any kind of a stack to actually make a deep run.

Also, the other thing that seems to stick out is that I am jamming between 10-20bb stacks into QQ,KK, and AA. Obviously it’s pretty hard to double up against that range of hands. My timing has been impeccable this year (for the other guy/girl).

So what’s going on? Why is my brain feel like scrambled eggs? Am I playing bad? I am missing spots? I am the unluckiest player in the world? Have I taken 3 steps back in my poker knowledge? Do I suck?

These are questions us players ask ourselves when we are losing and trying to figure out what the heck is going on. We all know how bad losing sucks but I think it is even worse when we feel we have an edge in certain fields and we keep getting beat again and again by players we feel have less skill sets then we do.

So Merlin, look into the past and tell me what is wrong. If you do, I am sure I can fix it. Hell I can fix a lot of things in my game if I know what the problem is. I used to really suck remember?

Well after thinking about this long and hard for the last couple of weeks, I did come up with an answer. That answer is that I may be on the downside of variance, and the only thing I can really do is keep studying and trying to improve my game as much as I can. We all have leaks (except Phil Helmuth) so when variance seems to be against you, I suggest putting your nose to the grindstone and put in the hours to break down your game and try to improve it anyway you can.

There is an issue that I think a lot of players don’t work hard enough on and that is their mental game. They think “oh I don’t tilt” and they move on to the next subject and really don’t spend enough time working on that part of their overall game.

Well being on the worn side of variance like I felt I have had the last 6-8 months, if I was a mental donkey, I would have been broke and probably would have left the felt forever and I am sure the local LA casinos would lose too much rake if I did that.

I have read a lot of poker books in my life but one of the ones that helped me the most was Jared Tendler’s Mental Game of Poker (Yes he has TMGP 2 out and I just started it). This book is a must read if you take poker seriously. It does deal with a lot of tilt issues, but more importantly it tries to get to the root of your mental issues and not just put a band aid on the problem at hand. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. I promise you will be a better player after you finish it.

With the WSOP less than a month away, I really feel that working on my mental game will be the best preparation for that 6 week grind that is the Series. I am looking forward to not only playing some of the world’s greatest poker players, but actually enjoying the experience and seeing some friends I only see once a year. I encourage all of you going to Vegas this summer to try and do the same thing I am doing.

I will write another blog about what to expect when you get to the WSOP and what I feel are the best things to do once you get there in a couple of weeks.

To close this out, I have an announcement to make.

Big Game James and I have opened a poker training company. It is called Gravytrain Poker Academy. We are going to be training local poker players on how to play better poker and make deeper runs in the events they are playing. We opened last week with our first two students. We are both very excited to be helping other players improve their games.

Please check out the Poker Training page on this site for more info.

Before I go, the Color of Money is one of my favorite movies of all time. I used to play a lot of pool and I think Newman and Cruise were unbelievable in it. There is a quote in the movie that I think fit’s my current streak of so called bad luck. Newman said to Cruise:

The balls roll funny for everybody, kiddo.

I am hoping he was right and the balls for me will start rolling normal again in June.

Thanks again for reading this and please post comments if you would like.

Have a great week.


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