Sunday, January 01, 2006

Tempted on New Year's Eve

The gods were tempting me last night, on New Year's Eve, one of the most dangerous nights of the year for temptation.
But I wasn't tempted by alcohol, or drugs, or women. When you have a six-month-old, the vice you crave the most is sleep.
I was tempted by cards.
I played my usual $5 SnG first, and I was hot, hot, hot.
Hot, that is, on the turn and the river.
I had 10,8,3, with the 8,7 in my hand. Someone bet half the pot, or about an eighth of my stack. I had middle pair with no draws and a weak kicker. That's when you leave, right?
So I left.
And the 7 came down.
OK, so what, that's a dangerous draw, I thought. Still a good fold.
Then the 8 came down.
It was that kind of night. Every time I folded bad starting hands or flops that didn't hit, the next card would come.
If I were a fish, I'd fish in the morning, and in the evening, all over this poker land, only last night, I would have been rewarded. Straights, full houses, two pairs and flushes all would have come my way. I would have cashed and probably took first. As it were, my one set of 10s wasn't enough to carry me when a fish called my all-in A,J and M of 7 with his Q,7 and caught his fucking 7 on the river.
Sessions like these tempt you. They cry out to you, "see, it's OK to fish. It's OK to chase. Fish always win."
Nights like these tempt you.
But when I moved to my ring game, I played solid, consistent poker, had no opportunities to bluff, caught no cards and left with a $5 loss.
That's right. Only $5 off my bankroll.
Had I chased, it would have been a lot worse.
Resisting temptation can not only make you a better husband, or prevent you from a lifetime of AA meetings.
It can also keep your bankroll fat and happy for the next big session.

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