I just went through a maddening circle that wasted 3 weeks of my hard work, and nearly washed my entire bankroll down the drain… Hopefully I can give a little insight to prevent someone from going through the same thing… Just a side note, I play the 6 max 25 or 50NL tables almost exclusively…

Phase I: Let’s test my new knowledge…

So you discover FTR, spend your entire workday reading through the entire site (when you should be working), and can’t wait to test all all of the new tips you’ve learned. How to find the best tables, starting hand requirements, being aggressive, you’ve got it all down. You sit down in your first game, pay attention to all of the details, and bam, you’ve doubled you’re initial $50 deposit in a couple of hours. It can’t be this easy, can it?

Phase II: It really is this easy!

For the next four days you play your tight “A” game, and you’re raking in the dough. That $50 bucks has turned into $400, and you’re beginning to realize that you may have just stumbled on a way to make some serious extra cash, and have fun while doing it. Forget cleaning the house, studying for that exam, or playing with your son… you’ve got money to make.

Phase III: I am the shit.

I am the poker master. I eat, sleep, dream, and shit Poker Chips. Every drive you take goes by in a flash, cause all you think about is poker. There is some serious money to be made here. Who even needs a day job? That kid Ilikeaces has made 17k in a few months and he’s not even 21! Even if I only make $100 bucks a night, that’s looking like a pretty nice side job to me!

Phase IV: I want more…

Let’s see here, how can I make even more money in the same amount of time? Everyone talks about multi-tabling. Let’s give that a shot. I know my bankroll isn’t up to ‘rilla’s standards, but let’s move up in limits, see what the next-level players are all about. Let’s try to squeeze in a few hands while I wait for the wife to get dressed. The money continues to pour in for a couple of days, but the variance is getting a bit larger…

Phase V: Here come the swings…

Since my skills are so awesome, I guess I can see a little more flops. I will just fold if I don’t hit 2 pair or better. Didn’t you just see that 722 flop? Sometimes you gotta play garbage just for the slim chance of hitting that monster… I mean it only costs some change so see the flop anyway. Everyone else and their momma is limping in and catching miracle cards. Aren’t I wasting a ton of opportunities if I’m folding 70% of my cards before the flop? You play on for a few days, winning some, and loosing some, but your bankroll isn’t growing anymore. Oh well, it’s just that variance thing. The poker gods will be back on my side in no time.

Phase VI: What the hell is going on here?

Gah, I’m stuck in neutral! What’s wrong with my game? My bankroll has almost been cut in half, and I’m playing every available second of my free time to build it back up. Oh lovely, KK!! Finally caught a break, can’t loose this one, I’m all in. What is up with that!!! That’s the third time my kings were busted today! Alright, let’s stop and slow down… No more multi-tabling. Let’s get back to the basics. I’m too good to be losing like this.

Phase VII: Do I really suck?

JJ under the gun. Ya know, I would usually raise here, but with my luck, I’m probably up against kings or aces, so I’m just limping. Another lost pot. Another hand, hit trips on the flop, yes! I’m getting paid! A third diamond appears on the turn… aw crap, ya know ACR Poker gives out flushes like there’s no tomorrow, and shit, he just re-raised me! Is he bluffing? All my instincts are completely gone out of the window. No more confidence. The slide continues.

Phase VIII: I was good, I promise!

How did I turn that $50 bucks into $700 in the first place? I can’t believe I’m back where I started. Panic is starting to creep in. I guess poker just wasn’t meant for me, but it sure did play with my emotions. I didn’t think I needed a break. I mean, how does a break affect how you play the next hand anyway?

Phase IX: Rediscovery

My last $25 bucks. This looks like the end of the road. You have to play super-tight. I’m not calling an all in even if I have rockets. Lets re-live that first week when I built my bankroll so quickly. K10s on the button, fold. QQ on AJx board, too much action, fold. Ah-ha! It’s slowly coming back to me… but don’t get cocky you dip-shit, stay focused and tight.

Phase X: Realizing the big picture, getting back on track

No, it’s not easy. Never was, never will be, no matter how long you play for. The only thing that can beat this game is extreme focus and discipline. You’ve got to play the same no matter how much money you have. You can’t let it take over your life either. Poker will always be there, at the click of a mouse button. Treat it like a game, and you will get played. Treat it like a job, and you could be onto something.

I’m still learning lessons everyday. And my bankroll is on its way back up, thankfully. Sorry for rambling, but it’s been a tough two weeks. I’m sure many of you have gone through this cycle before. Hope this helps someone before it’s too late…

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The Newbie Circle of Death
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