Different approach: shorter sessions
Last time I wrote to you guys about problems when you start playing again after a long break. I can (modestly so) tell you setting low goals to get started helped me a lot. I've actually never had a healthier grinding pattern than I do now. I used to always think grinding for an hour was waste of time. I either wanted to play 10 hours or more, or not at all. Setting more attainable goals, and really following that plan. Showed me how much you can do in an hour. For instance last Sunday I had a spare hour twice during the afternoon and I thought, "why don't I play some Zoom". So I loaded up some PLO and had two very pleasant sessions. Felt like I played really well and I made 3k vpp I wouldn't have otherwise. These will add up quickly over a year.
I didn't necessarily win, but that shouldn't matter anyway. In a game where there is short term luck, the money will come when you put in enough hours. I use the Supernova Elite grind to make sure I make enough hours. I usually played in bulk, like I said, but this time I try to play small sessions too whenever I can. I also try to plan out how many VPPs I have to make per month. Divide them over days. Give myself days off when I know I have some party to go to or other stuff. This way it's easy not to lose track of the SNE pace and to also really enjoy days off.
When you play short sessions, I noticed that you can think more deeply. I used to think that longer sessions, get you in a better rhythm of playing. I think that's still probably true. But that rhythm could also mean that you're auto-piloting too much. I think I have very good stamina for playing long sessions, but now that I've been playing shorter sessions, I make better calls, I make more complicated bluffs. After teo hours I actually feel like I'm getting tired now. Even writing this now it seems absurd to me. But my brain is functioning on a higher level now, and it's more draining. I'm now beginning to understand that if you want to move up stakes and beat competition on every level, it's not just about playing the people a lot. It's just so important to be alert, fresh and thinking when you play them. All this time all these guys that come in and play me when they just woke up, showered and had breakfast. I'm sitting there going into my 9th hour, probably haven't eaten enough, etc.
It also leaves a lot more time to do a lot of stuff. After an hour or two , I want (and need) to take breaks now. So now I just watch a TV show in between, or go running, or play an hour of tennis. All this stuff I wouldn't do before because I wanted to play a lot. Now I still play a lot and all the fun stuff is beneficial to my poker game. I hope I won't be convincing myself 30-hour sessions is the way to go next week, but I think that won't be a problem. When you play short sessions you can bring a lot more intensity to the game, and that's what I've always loved feeling when I play poker.
Lex Veldhuis is a member of Team PokerStars Pro Online