Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It takes time to get better

Well, after a successful start to playing poker rings at pokerroom.com 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.

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