Sometimes I start wondering if it is possible, however impossible it seems, that my thinking influences the cards that are dealt. When I first started playing, I would make an all-in call on the flop with nothing but a nut flush draw, and I would have every confidence that I was going to hit my outs and take down the pot. What’s more is that I generally always did. If I ended up in a pot with Kings where I had an ace kicker and the other guy had a queen kicker, I had every confidence that my hand would hold up until the river. It was good to be so naive.
Since the horrible beat that I put on Hoy (who had a horrible beat recently in the WSOP, making my lost buy-ins look like so much chump change) in a blogger tournament a couple of weeks ago, things haven’t been going my way all that often. Sometimes I will just make a horrible call, which is bound to happen since I am so new to the game. But all too often I am making the right call, getting my chips in when I am favored, and still losing the hand. I understand that this is the way of poker. If I am a 65% favorite to win the hand, that means that the other guy is a 35% favorite to either win or tie. The thing is it would seem like that 65% should be holding up at least half of the time, and it just doesn’t -at least not right now (variance sucks).
After losing so many favored hands my confidence is just shattered. I am finding myself extremely reluctant to make an all-in call pre-flop, regardless of what I am holding. Sure, I’ll still take a stab at it if I am holding a pair of Kings or Aces -very rarely with Queens, I have extremely bad luck with them- and I do win some of them, but I go into the pot almost expecting the miracle cards on the flop, turn, and river to come and bail the other guy out. So now I find myself slow playing hands out of fear. I have to at least see the flop before I commit a sizable chunk of my stack to a hand, not that it seems to matter since the last two cards always find a way to fuck me over anyway.
The last hand that I played is a microcosm of the way poker is going for me right now. All I could do was get my chips in when I was ahead -way ahead- and stare on in shock and disbelief as the poker gods saw fit to bend me over and take it to me donkey show style. I think I may still be in shock.
This was in an FTP 20k event as it was nearing the bubble. I had about 8,000 in chips, the big stack at the table had about 25,000. I found myself with the black kings on the button, and the hand was folded around to me. I raised 1,500 (I don’t remember exactly what the blinds were at this point, but they were still three digit), which pushed out the small blind, but the big blind insta-called it. The flop came up K-J-J with two hearts. Big blind thought about it for a minute, then pushed over 20,000 chips at the pot -which the more I think about it was probably because he thought he was behind and didn’t think I would call if he pushed his whole stack-. This should have been an instant call for me, but I thought about it for a long time. What could he possibly have? There was almost no way that he was ahead. The best hand that he could have was K-J for a lower boat, unless he happened to have a pair of Jacks, in which case I would really be fucked. No way he has Jacks, so I eventually call it. Since I didn’t take a screenshot, I will show you one that I recreated with a nifty odds calculator:
Huh. He only had queens. I guess he must have been putting me on a mid pair or something. Anyway, when he saw my cards, the guy said, “um. What were you thinking about?” Since it was on FTP, I became an observer faster than I was able to type in a response.
Now, I have been in almost this exact situation before. The last time I was in it with Aces, flop was A-J-J, we got all in, he showed kings, then hit the 10 and miracle queen to win with a royal flush. This time, he was out of suit for that to happen, so I was golden. I mean look at those odds for the kings to hold up. 99.8%, that is about as close as you can get to a sure thing. Well, by now you probably know that I didn’t win the hand, so I will get right to the next odds generator produced image:
Well, I am still almost 98% to win it, and he only has the one out… Which he hit, of course, to send me home. The flopped boat loses to the rivered quads. *sigh*
Just the luck of the draw, right? I will try to find solace in the fact that since I lost it this time, the next 99.8 times I get that hand it should hold up. Comforting…
Well, with that I am gonna take a step back from poker for a couple of days. Not that I am going to quit playing based on one horrific beat, more that I am going to watch from the sidelines for a couple of days after losing a lot of races where I was ahead on the final straightaway. This one was just the shitty icing on the crappy cake.