The first two months of 2007 have been incredible. Despite cutting back my hours playing (still not enough, I will really not be able to play much at all until the of April) I am on by the biggest rush of my poker career. In the past, whenever I moved up in limits I tended to get greeted by big losing streaks. Lately, every shot I've taken has been hugely successful. I've been killing the 25/50 games I'm shortstacking, I've had some tournament scores, and this week, filled with confidence, I decided to move up and take a shot at 10/20 NL with a full stack. Other than losing the biggest pot of my life today I've run insanely good and am up a substantial amount. Obviously this can't last but I think that as long as I exercise good game selection I'll be a winner in these games. I've even sat at 25/50 NL with a full stack a couple times when I noticed there was a really big fish in the game while shortstacking (though I had people take half my action). I showed my tournament player skills by getting all-in preflop and winning a $9000 coinflip.
What makes this even more ridiculous is that I've been close to some huge tournament scores the last two weekends but fell short. If I'd been able to close one of those... wow, isn't online poker supposed to be dying? I had probably my best Sunday ever today in terms of tournaments despite my inability to finish. First, I finished 3rd in the $200 on Paradise for $3K (the same as I did 2 weeks ago). I had a big stack in the 2:00 100r on Stars also but lost a big pot to ocrowe where I got caught making a move with a flush and gutshot straight draw on the turn, and then lost all-in preflop with K7 vs K5 for the chips I had left to finish 14th, instead of doubling back into contention.
I then had a huge stack in the $215 Mulligan on Full Tilt and was in good shape heading into a tough final table (w/ Scott Fischman and some other top online guys). Things were going well until I lost a big coinflip, and then lost more when a shortstack pushrf over my raise and I was committed to call with a dominated hand. With 5xBB left I picked up KK and shoved it in, only to get called by 22 and QQ! Several bricks rolled off and I was about to triple up and get my stack back when a deuce rolled off on the river. 5th paid $6600.
Finally, I had the chiplead in the $200 rebuy on Stars, which has a huuuuge prize pool, with 2 tables left. I basically treaded water until we were down to 10 players and I was in the bottom half but with a very playable stack of 100K at 3k/6k blinds. I was in the BB with A8o, and it folded to the SB who raised to 18K. He had me covered and given the final table bubble situation it seemed like an obvious spot for him to be raising basically any two cards, even though he had been playing fairly tight. So I made I think is basically a no-brainer all-in but he happened to have a big hand this time and his AK held. Overall I cashed for around 13K in tournaments on the day to show probably a 6Kish profit, but it's always somewhat frustrating when you're that close to the big money. Still, counting the cash game winnings I booked a huge win today.
When I started playing poker I never had any serious aspirations of playing for these kinds of stakes. I figured if I could get good enough to make $20 or $30 an hour it'd save me from ever having to worry about getting a crappy job and let me put some extra money in my pocket to do something fun from time to time. Maybe I could get lucky and satellite into the World Series one year. It'd be fun to play in one of these big tournaments on the TV. On the other hand I always thought I was exactly the type of person that could be really good at this game. I had a sharp analytical mind, I had always been good at games and math. It was always fairly easy for me to be detached from the value of the money I was betting at the table and just make the best decisions possible. There's always that bit of hesitation when you move up limits and start losing money faster then you ever have before, but I adjust pretty quickly. On the other hand away from the table I had good money management. I rarely ever tilt, and when I do it's not in a major way. I'm in very good control of my emotions (maybe too much so at times?). I protect my bankroll and don't play over my head (underplaying my bankroll may well have slowed my progress). I'm also really not interested in a lot of material things so almost all my poker money stayed in my bankroll. When I get out of school in the summer I'll probably find something fun to blow some money on though. I'm not sure what the point of this paragraph is, just some reflecting I guess. It may have something to do with the fact that I won and lost $9K and $10K pots this weekend respectively and my only real reaction after the momentary "holy crap dude you just lost a $10K pot" was to make sure I was happy with how I played the hand (I'm still not entirely sure, I'm not exactly used to playing with 440xBB effective stacks).
Anyways that's a lot of rambling, it's time to shut this down. Hopefully there was something insightful or interesting in there.