Sunday, November 20, 2005

Letting the ones you let go go

I folded 3,4 and 10,4.
And I've been kicking myself all weekend for it.
In the first case, I played five hours of nickel, dime with some friends. I came out a winner, and yet, all I could think about was the pot that escaped me.
I had 3,4 and the flop came 2,3,4. I check-raised in the hopes that the two callers would have the straight just yet. I got raised back. The other guy insta-called. Shit.
I knew they had a straight, probably both, even though both were inexperienced players and would call with a pair at that point.
So I thought about it and folded.
And a 4 came down.
Had I given it some thought, I would have realized that I had six outs, giving me roughly 25 percent to make my hand, and the pot odds were still great, with $1 to call a pot of $7. But I didn't and I folded because I was spooked.
I would have taken down at least $25, I'm sure, with that hand.

In the second, I was on Pokerroom late at night, jumping around, when I was dealt 10,4 with the first hand. The guy raised .25 cents and I folded despite already posting my blind. Again, pot odds dictated that I call, but I didn't, and a full house came down for me. The guy went all in, and I would have taken down $75.

I believe it's harder for me to let these go than the bad beats. In fact, I lost $20 on another hand because I suffering from tilts far worse than a bad beat tilt.

You think too much about the money you could have had. It's dangerous, of course, to think that way because it encourages far too much fishing in the future.
But I can't let it go right now. Hands like that are old lovers, when we only think about what could have been, and the fact that most of the time things really suck. Like with 10,3.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It takes time to get better

Well, after a successful start to playing poker rings at for money, I took my first hard hit last night.
I lost $20 on a single hand.
I know, I know, boo-hoo, but that's a lot of money for me.
Yes, I'm a grinder who plays low limit. The sad thing is, I should have finished ahead.
I had pocket aces, re-raised and then when the flop came down, bet hard. The guy put me all-in, and without a pause, I called.
He had flopped his set with his pocket nines.
Bad beat? Sort of. But I don't want to just dismiss it as that. It was part of a disturbing pattern.
I figured because lately I had read all these books and really started to pay attention to the TV shows and read the Internet stuff, I should be able to dominate the players at .25 cent and at play money.
In fact, for the past few weeks, my play money bankroll has stayed the same after winning at least $50,000 a week. I've really improved so much - I used to consider $500 a good day when I started playing seriously back in April - that I figured the improvement should continue at that rate.
In doing so, instead of playing aggressive, I've played reckless. I discovered this the other day, after another day of losses in play money, and I finally realized that I was assuming all these players were far inferior to me and must be idiots. That's an incredibly dangerous assumption to make in poker. Hell, even the bad players get hands every once in a while.
Instead, I finally settled down and started winning again in play money.
When I started playing real money in rings (I had been playing SnGs for some time), I of course was nervous and cautious.
And I won $75 last week. I would up being more than $100 up with the tournaments.
That, of course, made me realize that I was better than the players and shouldn't take them seriously.
So, just like before in play money, I called the all-in without thinking that something was up, that maybe the guy flopped two pair or a set (no draws were possible) and just blindly called, waiting for my pot to come to me.
Well, play money can, in fact, teach us a few things. Mostly it's taught me that playing aggressive is fine, but you still need to wait for good hands to win. You're not at the stage of development where you can consistently push people off pots and bluff big. Hell, most players, even the pros, need good hands to win, unless they're playing a bunch of mes, and what I've realized is it's not like I"m a pro and playing a bunch of idiots. There are good players in .25 cent no limit. You just have to avoid them. :)
So...the game plan is people are betting hard, and you only have a pair, the guy probably has a better hand. Play smart, solid poker, bluff a few small pots, bet when you have a hand, and don't get reckless. You will lose, but the point is to limit your losses and take the big pots when they come.
We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Home game hell

Once you really start to study the game of poker, you tend to play better against better players.
But you also play poorly against bad ones.
I played a home game Friday with some friends, thinking with all my new poker knowledge, I was going to clean up.
Um, no.
Now, I ran into some historically bad beats - jack-high flushes getting stomped by ace-high flushes (with a Q on the board, and with only three suits out there), straights getting beat by flushes (again, with only three out there), full houses getting beat by higher full houses, etc.
But I was the big loser of the night.
Why did I face all those bad beats? People don't know when they are supposed to fold. No, you aren't supposed to keep betting on your flush draw if I bet huge on my straight. No, you aren't supposed to stay with your two pair in the hopes you will draw a full house if I bet huge on my full house. And no, you aren't supposed to hope you hit your inside straight.
Raises? Sure, let's call with 10,5!!!
They also beat me with good hands, too, meaning it was impossible to put them on a hand. Maybe I really was playing with a bunch of Gus Hansons and I just didn't know it.
To prove it, I played on Pokerroom on Saturday night for money and totally cleaned up because they were acting more like players should play. If they raised, I could usually put them on a good hand.
Home games are fun, but they are frustrating as well.