When will I ever learn?

I really need to remind myself that when I am losing at poker I need to just quit playing for a while instead of playing my way back to a win. In my experience, if I am on a losing streak, I will continue to lose. Not only because the cards aren’t falling my way, but also because I make bad decisions in what seem (at the time) like decent positions to try to steal my way back into it. That never works.

Yesterday I played in three tournaments (well four. I also played in the blogger championship and finished 1,024th out of 2,400 entrants, though I was not actually even here to see it. Had I been here, I am sure I would have donked out long before that.), and I performed terribly in the first, which carried over into the second and third. I was playing in all three simultaneously, which I have found to actually improve my play since I am making my decisions based more on my hands and actual odds than trying to pull sneaky moves and the such. Unfortunately, when my full house went down to a higher full house on the first table, I tilted. But since I was playing in three different tournaments, I tilted in all of them. I actually lost the very next hand in one of them (which was not the one I had been administered the bad beat in) when I decided to go all in with a 47 offsuit (I think emotion might have played a small role in that one…). After that, I refused to be patient and wait for a hand to play, and started trying to play hands that were far from premium; sure I would always like to see the flop with a 10-J offsuit, but actually betting 3x the big blind, then calling an all in raise with it isn’t something I would normally do with that hand -especially not when it is the chip leader that pushed. That is the kind of boneheaded crap I do when I am losing; I make myself lose even more, then try to blame it on the cards. Of course when I look back on it it is pretty clear that the cards were just victims in my rage induced play.

Thankfully I realized that I should stop playing then. I could see myself pissing away a lot of money being foolishly aggressive in that situation. That hasn’t happened yet, but I can certainly see myself doing it. Tomorrow is another day. Which is actually today. Because that all happened yesterday.

Today I played in five tournaments. Two 45 person, one 27 person, and two 18 person. I played the 45 and 18 person ones at the same time (during two sittings) and the 27 person one sometime in between. Today I did pretty well. I finished in the money in four out of five of them, and even won one of the 45 person ones. I have been playing pretty much only multi table games for the last week or so, just so that I can continue to buy in with a small amount for a chance to win a large amount. I am getting a lot better at this type of play now that I have gotten used to waiting for good hands, and recognizing when I am in a really good position to bluff or steal.

The thing about these tournaments is that the buy in is low enough that it seems a lot of people really don’t care about the money. In the 45 player ones, there are usually at least two or three people that go out on the first hand. And I am not talking about only the dollar buy in tournaments. It happens on every one of them up to ten dollar buy ins, which is the highest I have yet to play. Some of the people will just risk it all to double up on the first hand and if they don’t get it they just try it again. That seems foolish to me, but then playing for such small stakes probably seems foolish to a lot of people too, and I play exclusively in the small stakes games.

Anyway, my finishes for the day look like this: 4/45, 9/27, 4/18, 1/45, 1/18. I am pretty happy just to have made the final table in each of them, but it takes very little…I have also found that I play like absolute shit when I am trying to take screenshots. I think it has more to do with trying to figure out what I am going to say about why I made a move than with the move itself. But I am quite superstitious, and my wins seem to all come when I am not taking screenshots, so if you want screenshots you will have to go read someone else’s blog. Try Hoyazo’s site. Not only does he take screenshots of damn near every card dealt, he has also won a seat in a World Series of Poker event…Which makes me think that maybe, just maybe, someday I will be able to actually do that myself watch him on television. It would be funny as hell to watch him pull his patented Reverse Hoy on someone on national television.

There were actually two hands that I wanted to talk about when I started writing this, so here goes:

The first hand was in the second tournament that I played in today, which was actually a lot further along than the first tournament since it was a turbo, not that it matters a great deal for the purposes of my discussion. There are 27/45 people left in the game right now, I am second in chips at my table.
Anyway, this was a hand where I had the absolute nuts on the flop, but was able to induce two other players to actually push ahead of me (at least that is the story I am going to go with. The reality is that they may have done so anyway, but that hardly makes me feel any better about myself, so I am going with the “it was all me” theory). I have a pair of tens in the big blind. I really want to make sure and get a raise in to eliminate as many people as possible, ideally to get rid of people who might be limping with Q-8 or the such. 10’s are a dangerous hand since there are four over cards and it is all but guaranteed that if someone has one of the over cards they are going to be playing it. The button actually pushed to 4x the big blind which I called, and it was folded around to someone in middle position who also called. The pot was enormous at this point. The flop came up 10-7-10, I flopped quads for what I am sure will be the only time in my life. Of course every instinct in my body said to push ’em in right there, but I wanted to try to milk some more chips out of them. So I bet 2x the minimum, which I was hoping showed some weakness, both of the others called it. The turn was an ace, which I absolutely loved since I was figuring at least one of these guys had an ace and would be willing to stay in it to at least see the river. I bet the minimum this time, hoping someone would push. It got raised, which I called, but no one pushed. The river was another 7. I bet about half my remaining stack (which put one guy almost all in) and not one but both of the other guys went all in, which I quickly called. I took down a HUGE pot. But what were their hands? One had pokcet 7’s, the other pocket Aces. I almost felt bad about beating the Aces over Tens full house and the quad 7’s, almost. Like I say though, it is entirely possible that they would have both called if I would have pushed all in on the flop. I am pretty sure that the guy with the 7’s would have called it, not so sure about the guy with the aces, but they are awfully tough to lay down, especially so when the board has only an underpair.

The other hand was absolute luck. In an 18 player field I was on the bubble with 1745 in chips in the big blind (blinds 800/400 and going up in two minutes). The blind put me to 945 in chips which probably didn’t actually pot commit me, but it was damn close. It was either this hand or the next one, and this hand I happened to have a J-5 spades. The button doubled the bet, so I pushed my last 145 chips out knowing full well that this was not an ideal hand to live or die by, but at least I had a face card, might not even have that next hand. He had Kc Jd, so I was in fact way behind. Pokerstars gave me a gift on this one, the flop:8s 4s 3s. I wish I could repeat that kind of luck.

I didn’t repeat that kind of luck, but I did continue to have some pretty amazing hands. The next hand was absolute crap, but the hand after it I took down almost 6,000 in chips with pocket Kings and the very next hand I got pocket Jacks for another 4,500. Four hands from the bubble to lead. Once we were heads up, I had 6,000 in chips to his 21,000 just as the blinds went to 3000/1500. I called a hand when I had J-4 offsuit and said “may as well end this”. For unknown reasons, he then called, raised three thousand on the flop, and Folded (why?) when I pushed my remaining 1,400 in chips. That brought us to almost exactly even, when he really should have just called to put me out of it. Even if he lost the hand it was only an additional 1,400, I just don’t understand why he didn’t do it. He was betting into the next hand, which I called and eventually won with a Q-2 offsuit (no pairs, just Queen high). The next hand put him all in and I took it down.

I know I slow play a lot, but do I do it so much that people really get nervous if I just continue to call? It seems like when I actually bet at it now everyone will call it, but when I am just checking for the first couple of cards, they will quit betting and fold if I do actually bet. Not that it is such a bad thing, hell any time I win a hand I am a happy man, if my not betting actually scares them out of the hand that is just a bonus.

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