I used to have a standard bad dream when I was in a downswing. It very well still might come back but I haven’t had it in a while. I’d be driving a car, sometimes my car and sometimes some other random car, and suddenly the weather would get really bad. There would be super high winds, and sometimes a tornado would make an appearance. (They used to scare the crap out of me as a kid growing up in Michigan, even though I never saw one. I think it was mostly the extremely daunting warnings on TV and the shrieking siren a few blocks over that the city sounded.) The winds would get stronger and stronger, and I’d slam on the brakes, so hard that I’d be fully standing on the brake pedal, and there was nothing I could do to stop the car moving towards the tornado and directly into certain peril.
There couldn’t be a clearer metaphor when that dream would arrive. The downswing was the wind, the tornado was bustoland, and stomping on the break was my useless, but fully devoted and dedicated effort to work hard and play my best.
I had a different dream recently. A little less perilous, but unfortunately still falls under the “bad” dream category.
I don’t know about you, reader, but I used to fucking love rollerblading. So, there I was in my dream, rollerblading like a boss. Until I got lost. I knew that I was trying to find my way back to my car, but I ended up on a road in the forests of Oregon or something. I’ve never been to Oregon, which means I don’t know my way around Oregon… especially the forests. I was rollerblading my ass off; sweating, skating hard, but getting nowhere. Just skating and skating and skating.
Lately I’ve been playing 2/5NL (3/5 and 5/5 when I’m in LA). I have a temporary deal with a friend that protects me from a losing month while sacrificing some of my winnings. I think the deal has replaced the tornado with the forest. I guess it’s an upgrade, exchanging a windy death for an aimless, pointless wander without progress.
Of course, that’s only a mere one way of looking at it. I feel like I’ve turned a corner with my play recently. While there are some tough players to be found in the 2/5 games around Vegas, the only real difficulties in moving up from the 1/2 and 1/3 basement stakes are:
1: Understanding what the leaks in your game are and actively working on fixing them. In 1/3 games, you won’t get punished for mistakes nearly as often or as severely whereas when you move up, you get away with less.
2: Dealing with new betsizes and larger monetary swings. The standard deviation for my 1/3 sessions on the year is about $500 (yours is probably lower; I just can’t help myself sometimes…). For 2/5 to 5/5 it’s about $900. That means every day you’re swinging a very large percentage of your monthly nut.
Having friends who are eager to work on #1 together has been massively helpful for my game, despite their never ending stream of annoying text message disagreements about the merits of 3betting for value vs flatting to keep in dominated hands. #2 simply comes with more hours at the table.
I might still be in the thick of the forest, but I think there is progress.