Monday, February 27, 2006

What should I do in the long run?

I am a goal-oriented person.
Others might refer to me as "anal," but that's a little harsh.
Yes, instead of occasionally climbing a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado, I had to finish all 54, and not just all 54, but all of them in five years.
Yes, instead of jogging off some weight and getting in shape, I decided to run a mini-marathon less than a year after I took up the sport.
And yes, instead of just taking up poker, I decided to read many books, watch a lot of ESPN and the Travel Channel and read blog after blog for ways to improve my game.
As I said, goal-oriented.
Not anal.
In many ways, I've accomplished far more than most because I can't be satisfied with just having a hobby.
On the other hand, poker, by its nature, was a tough hobby to take up because you will fail at times. Even the best players fail. It took me a long time not to obsess over hands, even when someone sucks out on me, convinced I could have done something to avoid it. I still have problems letting bad hands go. It took many posts by even the best bloggers talking about their losing to help me past it.
Yes, even all those bad beat stories were worthwhile.
So now that I'm a successful poker player at the .25 NL and $5 SnG level, I'm wondering where to go from here.
I want to start setting some long-term goals.
I have some immeadiate goals that I believe will be reached fairly soon or, at most, by the end of the year. The big one is to buy a new computer with my poker winnings. I purchased a running GPS and now am convinced I can save my money and cash in for a brand new puter that I otherwise could not afford, unless I wanted to pimp Jayden, the cutest 8-month-old you've ever seen, out to some Huggies commercials.
Believe me, I've thought about it.
I've made $450 just this month, just by sticking to my level and playing smart poker, and though I know that won't happen every month, I have posted winning months every month since I started playing for real money in October. I am convinced that will continue, even when variance rears her ugly head.
Those numbers aren't huge, but I'm thrilled with them. All that reading apparently is paying off.
See? Goal-oriented.
Not anal.
But beyond that, I'd like to learn more about playing real poker.
I want to learn how to bully a table in a tournament. I want to bluff like the big boys. I want to take advantage of scare cards. In short, I want to be somewhat of an aggressive badass, instead of the accountant, straight-laced, none-for-me-thanks poker player that I am.
At my level, knowning when to fold is, unfortunately, your biggest weapon. In other words, play tight-aggressive, and don't play stupid, and you'll win. Don't try anything fancy. You don't need to, after all, and it will only be lost on dumbfounded players.
It's solid. It works.
But it's not very exciting.
It, of course, has it downfalls, too. What do you do when you don't get solid starting hands for the night? Well, you limit your losses instead of attempt to bluff your way to wins. What do you do when your top pair with great kicker gets re-raised? If the guy is any kind of a solid player (yes, they do exist out there in .25-cent NL land, many more than you think, actually), you grit your teeth and fold. What do you do when you get sucked out on over and over? You quit instead of trying to win it back and hope for a better night tommorow.
You rely too much on the cards. But, usually, you'll get your share of hands, so it doesn't matter.
The problem with poker at my level is I could stay at that level for years and probably remain a profitable player. I could buy lots of computers, maybe that brand new X-Box system, or a trip to Las Vegas for the family.
And I could never improve.
I could never play in big tournaments. I could never play, and win, at the larger tables in Vegas. I could never play in the World Series of Poker. Maybe I'll never get there anyway, but one day, just once, wouldn't it be fun?
I am wondering when to move up. And I'm wondering if I should.
I hold a good hand. Given the brutal, honest statistics on winning players, some might say I hold a great hand.
I'm just wondering how far I should push.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Karma Connection

It's an online playa's worst nightmare, but I"m sure more than one of you has lived through it. We're like all the kids on Elm Street, except our biggest fear is a connection that goes south as soon as you are nearing a cash in an SnG.
Last night I was the chip leader in a 10-person SnG and coasting to a cash, just waiting for one of the three to get knocked out and also waiting out a bad run of cards, when my computer froze.
I have OS X, so my other programs worked (a friend who was railbirding me chatted merrily away on Yahoo) while my table acted like an episode from the Twilight Zone. No one was moving. The time bar stayed on yellow. Time had no meaning.
The blinds at this point were 400-800, so it wouldn't take long for the sharks to agree to fold and knock me outta there and steal my chippies. I quickly said Fuck. Then I logged out, quit my browser, logged back in, dialed up again (listen, all you cable users, I will advance my Internet as soon as we move into a new house, which requires that we sell ours first, I know dial-up is lame but it's all I have right now, I don't want to pay two installation fees) and waited for my 500 MhZ processor to bring back up Safari. I waited, I have to say, rather inpaitently, punching a pillow on the bed in the basement. I would have been able to erase the national debt if we had a swear jar in the house.
I came back to find myself in the BB, with an automatic all-in, less than 500 chips.
And A,A was in my hand.
Praise Jesus.
I won the hand, of course, but that still left me with 1,060, or about one-fifth of my stack pre-fuck-up and an M of less than 1, which Harrington says is, to put it bluntly, not good.
So I had A,6, everyone folded to me, and I push all in, just hoping to steal the huge blinds away from the BB.
He calls.
With A,4.
OK. 2100 now.
Next hand.
I push all in again. I don't mind a call, but even if I don't get one, I'll be up to a somewhat comfortable level again.
Same guy calls.
With K,9.
A,Q flops.
Three hands later, I get AA.
I push.
Someone calls.
He's out.
No, wait, he's not, he has 300 left, in the theme of this SnG. He quickly comes back.
But I'm at 7,200 and back in the lead.
I continue to steal at this point because the others think they need a monster to call with those blinds, which are now at 500-1000. I don't blame them, but ty anyway.
Once the fourth guy finally goes out (finally, did I already say that?), it takes us two hands to get to heads up.
First hand, I have A,J. Guy calls with 10,3.
He gets his 3. I get nothing.
OK. Second hand, he folds, third hand, he folds, so I'm back.
Fifth hand, I have A,J again. He calls after we trade raises and an allin with 8,9.
He gets his 9 on the river. I get nothing.
OK. We're even now.
I have him covered by 15 chips.
He immeaditely goes all in.
I have Q,Q.
I smile and call.
His A,9 does not improve.
I win.
Karma is beautiful.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Am I good or am I lucky?

Last night I had one of those nights when I could have probably played 80 percent of my starting hands.
I saw K,K three times and more Aces than anyone playing Pete Sampras in his prime. A,Q and A,K came at least six times each in an hour, and I also saw A,J. I saw pocket pairs, although they were usually low. My only complaint was I never saw A,A.
But, despite all that, I managed only to book a $18 profit, or 72 BB in the hour session.
I'm certainly not complaining. I'm clearing a bonus at Hollywood Poker (one of many, by the way, that site is really good about reloads), so any profit is well, bonus. But I felt a little guilty about the good fortune, that anyone could have at won something, given those hands.
In fact, I won most of my money in one hand, when I re-raised a dude with my second K,K and he raised me all-in. He had $15, so it was about half my stack at the time, and a third guy I had already pegged as a donkey stuck in his $8. I considered it, figured I was getting good odds on my money and called.
I will fold K,K - in fact, I did earlier last week — when I've pegged the guy as a good player and he has a big stack and bets most of it preflop. It's just a feeling I'll get. The guy wound up having A,A.
But I called this time. My heart sank when an A hit the river, figuring I was doomed because the guy probably had an A. The $15 guy had 10,10. The other guy? K,9. Ha.
So I got lucky.
This is what I struggle with. Am I lucky or am I good?
Wouldn't a good player, with those hands above, make a lot more money? Sure, the flops didn't really match the cards, but still...
I know the cards don't play themselves, but without luck, I'm no good. Does that make me good or just lucky when I get them?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Plans for Saturday a month ago: Climb Crystal, a Centennial, one of the highest mountains in Colorado, via a snow route near Breckenridge.
I'm going for the top 100 mountains in Colorado now that I've climbed all 54 14ers in Colorado. I have about 40 left.
Average temperature a month ago in Greeley: 50 degrees.
Overall attitude toward the climb: Good. I'm in great shape and the weather, although very snowy in the mountains, has been great.

Plans for Saturday a week ago: Climb Crystal.
Temperature last Saturday in Greeley: 30 degrees but sunny in the mountains.
Overall attitude toward the climb: Good. I'm looking forward to it.

Plans for Saturday as of Friday night: Poke my head out of my hole and shiver and scurry back in.
Temperature as of Friday night: -8. Wind chill of -25. (Which, by the way, is 8,000 feet lower than Crystal).
Overall attitude toward the climb:

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Full or half-empty?

I used to love shorthanded tables. I was fairly successful at them, especially at 5-person SnGs, and they were a great way to cut my teeth into real money.
Now I'm wondering if I made it harder than it needed to be at first.
When I switched to playing full tables full-time, I made more money in one week than I usually make in a month (and I usually make pretty good money for low-limit poker in a month), both in tournament play and in rings.
I had cards, sure, but more than that, I had action on them whenever I did have a monster.
And that brings me to my post.
I"m now a full-time, full-table ring player.
And I'm loving it.
It's intimidating for a new player like me to sit at a table with nine other pokerites. Almost every hand, someone seems to have a whopper. I mean, if there are 10 strippers, one of them has to be hot, even if the others all have C-section scars and don't believe in trimming down there, right?
But I realized that I was already playing for a full table when I was playing five-table hands. A-10 in early position? A limp or a pitch. Raise up to 9-9 and then play passively. Only call a re-raise with the big three, AA, AK and KK (I probably even pitch QQ).
You can call me weak/tight if you want, but I'm very picky about my starting hands. They make my decisions easier after the flop, as Harrington advocates.
The only problem with that was at the 5-person tables, the blinds come around fast, so many times, I found myself down even if I had good hands and wasn't calling much.
Not only that, but when I would have a monster, I wouldn't get action, either because no one had anything or they were afraid of my squeaky-tight image (understandably, by the way).
But in a full ring table, not only is it pretty certain that someone else will at least have something, they rarely are able to pay attention to individual players, so image isn't nearly as important.
I can see why Willy Wonka had trouble with the full tables in the higher limits, as tables full of good players are hard to overcome.
And in a tournament, well, the payoffs are simply bigger. Yes, I don't cash quite as often, but I cash far more than I thought I would with a full table, and therefore, my profit is much bigger.
I always thought peite was the best package, but now, I'm starting to appreciate full sizes even more.
Just in poker. Not in my choice of strippers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A little luck never hurts...

NO_LIMIT TEXAS_HOLDEM $2+$0 (Real Money), #126,930,594
**Bonner Ave Single Table Tournament, 14 Feb 2006 6:23 PM ET

Seat 5: -FTA- ($7,765 in chips)
Seat 8: Pokerpeaker5 ($7,235 in chips)

-FTA- posts blind ($300), Pokerpeaker5 posts blind ($600).

-FTA- bets $7,465 and is all-in, Pokerpeaker5 calls $6,635 and is all-in.

FLOP [board cards 4C,5C,6H ]

TURN [board cards 4C,5C,6H,5D ]

RIVER [board cards 4C,5C,6H,5D,8H ]

-FTA- shows [ AC,AD ]
Pokerpeaker5 shows [ AS,5S ]
-FTA- wins $530, Pokerpeaker5 wins $14,470.

Poker is not a job

Hobbies, in the hands of Type-A personalities like myself, can become obsessions.
I have to be constantly viligant about the time I spend with my family over the timeI spend with myself. Unfortunately, there are many, many things I love to do, and most of them involve spending time away from my family.
I love video games. I love playing online poker. I love reading. I love watching independent films that my wife thinks are weird (and I suppose they are). I love running and, when the season calls for it, climbing mountains.
I also love eating dinner with my wife, playing with my son and cuddling with my dogs, so they can't take my hobbies personally. And yet, sometimes, they do.
I always try to wait before Kate puts down Jayden and then goes to bed herself before I go down to the cave, the basement where all my fun, like the computer, the books and the X-Box, are located.
But even then, occasionally, I'll hear murmurings of, oh, are you going to play poker again? When I smirk, occasionally I get the rolling eyes.
It's a tough balance. We don't have as much free time anymore, especially now that Jayden is around, and so the minutes are precious before I have to go to bed and recover for tommorow. And yet relationships also seem to need daily maintenance, and I enjoy oiling them up before we rest.
Poker, especially, can be tough, because you usually have to play a while, unless you get lucky right away and pull off a hit and run, and even if you do get lucky early, bonus clearing can take a while too. And you have to study poker, so you have to read and read and read. And you have to watch it on TV and talk about it with friends and...
Oops. See what I mean?
Wouldn't it be great if we could stretch time beyond the 24 hours? Until then, I have to constantly find that balance, or else I might as well be living by myself in a cave.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Just so I don't get too cocky:

The Poker Gods have a way of making sure you remain humble.
I still was up last night, so it was a good night, but I played a $2 SnG, full table, over my dinner break at work.
I was in third place with six to go, with about $3,500 in chips. You start with 1500.
These hands were, amazingly, all in a row or close to it.
• I'm dealt 10,10. I raise 4x because I tend to raise more with the lower pairs, if I do at all, to increase my chances of winning.
Guy goes all in. I'm tempted, but this guy has a large stack, almost has me covered, and he seems like a really solid player. I fold.
He shows me A,A.
• I'm dealt J,8 in the BB. No one raises, so I check,and it's a J-high, trash flop. I bet half the pot because the blinds are worth taking and I hope, with two other callers, no one has a J. I plan to pitch if I meant resistance because I don't like my kicker.
Guy puts me all in again. I fold.
He shows me J,A.
• I'm dealt Q,Q. A guy with about two-thirds of my stack goes all in. I have to admit, the previous two all-ins influenced this call, even if they were good folds. I call for two reasons: It's a great hand, the blinds are getting big, and if I win, I totally dominante the table and insure my self of a cash. OK, those are three reasons. My fourth is typically in these games, people will go all in with ANY pocket pair, he's getting low, so his standards are decreasing, and most people would call with Q,Q anyway. It's not like I'm facing a double re-raise. Everyone else folded.
He has K,K.
• Now I'm crippled, with only 600 left, but I'm dealt J,J and I push.
No one calls.
• I'm still crippled, and I have Q,J. A weak player does the minimum raise, and I push, thinking that my cards will probably be live, at least.
He has K,K.
I'm done.
One reason I love NL Texas Hold Em, and the reason I can hate it, is you can play hands perfectly fine and get knocked out in a short time. I don't think I misplayed any of those hands (although I'd love to hear from you if you think I did).
I'm always reminded when I think I start to figure out this game at how dangerous it is.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

In the zone

The light is not only on, it's burning bright.
I hate braggy poker posts, and posting them, it seems, is a great way to invite the poker Gods to slap you down (as I've felt before).
But I want to talk about my progress.
I made $150 last week playing, at most, .25 NL and $5 tournaments. I am already, after one day, ahead $60 this week.
And I have not sucked out once.
Part of this, I think, is my move to full, 10-person ring tables. You're almost certain to find a donkey or two, and you get action on your monster flops. You have to have more discipline and patience, but that's not a problem for me, especially because I'm probably too patient anyway.
But most of it is just making great reads, great calls and even better raises.
I'm starting to know what people have, or, at the very least, I know when I'm beat and when I'm not beat.
Last night I had K,K in mp and raised 4x in a ring game. Four callers, and a flop of 7,10,3,6 rainbow. I bet half the pot, and all call. Shit.
Again, I'm first to act. I check and the other guy checks. A small bet from the third, and I raise. The two others fold, and the guy calls.
OK, I'm not worried by the board anymore, and if there's a two pair out there, the guy, a tight player, would have had to of called me with a lame hand. I have $18 of my buy-in,and I push all in.
He calls quickly.
He has QQ
Just like I thought.
If he had A,A, he would have re-raised me. If he had a straight, I don't think he would have contained himself. Most players at my levels don't.
But that's what I mean. I know when I"m beat now. Another time this week, I had J,J to an underboard, and a guy pushed all-in with his last $15, and I folded. He had two pair even though I knew he had 10,9. He was BB and would have called it with my raise, I thought. I was right.
Last Thursday, I had QQ and folded to KK.
And I had KK another time, and I re-raised a raise, and he re-raised me $10.
So I folded.
He had AA.
For many of, these seem like academic moves, but for a new poker player who is starting to see the light, they are starting to shine my path to poker semi-goodness.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Drinking too much from the well of luck

Phil Gordon, in his brilliant little book on poker, says it's bad luck to be superstitious.
I agree with him for the most part, though I do have a card protector, a rock from the summit of the last 14er I climbed to complete my goal, called, appropriately enough, Holy Cross, that I consider to be my little talisman. I clutch it at times even during online tournaments.
Though I've always believed luck is how you make it, and that poker is still a game of skill despite all the suckouts (on both the good and bad ends), I do worry about variance, probably a little too much.
My question is, is there such a thing as too much good luck?
After a horrible week in tournaments, when I was more card dead than a loving grandmother (OK, I don't get the analogy either, just stick with me here), this week I've gone 6/6 in cashing, including three firsts and a second, making my bullimic bankroll, for the moment, fat, happy even.
I would love to say that it's because of my brilliant skill at the table. And that is true, in some part, although you could argue that it takes no skill to sit back and let all the donkeys kick down each others barn doors while you sit idily by and collect a third-place cash in those $2.25 tournaments.
But it's also because of luck.
I've seen more AAs than a flight attendant and anxious, eager and willing callers, ready to hand me their money when I show it down. Strangely enough, those are the only pocket pairs I'm seeing, but if you're gonna go, you might as well go gold, right? Or even platnium?
I've only had to suck out once, with A,K on the button, I raise and J,10,3 comes down, and I throw out a continuation bet after my raise, and a guy pushes me all in, so, OK, my stack is too small to fold now, and he has J,9, well, shit but not terrible, and then, a beautiful A comes down.
He hated me for that.
Deal with it.
I find myself, however, worrying about my luck in these $2.25 tournaments. Too often, I tend to think of it as the dollars in my wallet. Shouldn't I spend my luck, I figure, in those $5, 30-person tournaments, when the pot at the end of the rainbow is much bigger?
Luck, I figure, seems to be budgeted, and sooner than we like, variance comes, cold bitch that she is, to wipe out those warm feelings of I Heart Poker.
What's even better is Ring Games are going well too. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I lost a hand, and yes, Mike Caro, I AM calling lots of hands, even a couple I called only because pot odds demanded it (including 6,2 versus A,9, you gotta love that).
Luck is a fickle thing. When I look at my records, it seems that bad weeks, losing weeks, are always followed by good weeks or even great ones.
My worst week ever in poker, in December, I lost $125, which is a TON considering I play .25 NL. I honestly wondered if I was going to be able to continue poker. I know now some of my calls were questionable, but back then, all of two months ago, I really thought I might lose it all. And even in what I considered good calls, I lost when the guy would hit his runner.
The next week I promptly won all but $5 of it back.
And the next? I won $100, most of it in one night.
Maybe just by posting this, the Poker Gods will think I'm being cocky and smack me down again, but I'm really not. I understand that this can change with the flip of A,K versus 2,2. I know how it goes. Believe me, I know.
It is possible to catch lighting in a two-liter bottle. I'm just wondering how long you can keep it around before it loses all its fizzle.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Good game but commercials lame (and poker rocks)

Man, what a good game, better than many of the blowouts that haunted the Super Bowl throughout the 80s and 90s.
But boy, those commercials were horrible.
I liked, like, four.
• I LOL at the Budweiser "streaking" sheep commerical. That was my favorite.
• I liked the Hummer being picked up by the two giant monsters, namely because I loved all those monster movies when I was a kid. Godzilla rules!
• I liked the woman saying, "I'm surrounded by jackasses" line as a take on all those monkey commercials.
• And I liked Kermit the Frog selling the car, but only because I'm an outdoors person myself and could relate to his adventures. Hey, Kermit, if you ever want to climb a peak together, look me up.
Now, onto the lame commercials:
• Burger King and the huge production? Are you serious?
• That Jessica Simpson cover of "These Boots Were Made..." was horrid enough, but did she really have to make a Pizza Hut commercial with it? Does she have any pride at all?
• The Diet Pepsi machine commercials were bad enough. Really, do we need another ad campaign featuring a can or a soda machine as the centerpiece.
• I know it's only a movie preview, but does anyone want to see that new Shaggy Dog movie starring Tim Allen? Is this what parents are reduced to, two hours of crappy cinema to give their kids a good time?
Sheesh. I'm taking Jayden to the park.
• Could the NFL be any more pretentious? Its NFL Network commercial basically stated, through glossy photos of families and good, wholesome people, that the Super Bowl was the most important event in American history. It was like watching a tribute to WW II vets or something.
Better luck next year, ad agencies.
• • •
In my last post, I talked about how the cards were improving, but they went sour again, and last week was probably my worst of tournament play in my life. I cashed 4 of 17 SnGs. That's just sad, sad, sad. It makes me question my whole game plan of being patient and playing good starting hands. If you don't get good starting hands, what can you do in that case?
Well, Saturday, it took a live game at my buddy's to turn things around. My biggest hand of the night was an Omaha hand, of all games, when I had K,K, trash, trash, and the board came K,J,A rainbow. A very scary board, especially for Omaha, but the guy bet only a quarter of the pot, so I hung with it. These are not experienced players but they do have some tricks up their sleeves and are getting better all the time.
We checked it around when a 4 fell, making me think that maybe my hand was good after all.
On the river, another 4 fell, eaning the only hand that could beat me was if someone was holding A,A. Again, no one raised, and even if they don't raise much, I knew they would with A,A, so when my friend bet the pot plus some, I raised him the pot back.
He paused, paused, paused and then showed me J,J and folded.
Wow, good laydown. See, he's getting better all the time.
The other friend called me nothing.
Ah, well, he beat me last week in Omaha, so justice is served.
So after a very good night at the live felt, our game broke up at 12:30 a.m., early, so I went home for some late-night Saturrday night poker, usually when the drunk fish are out swimming. Sure enough, I doubled my $25 buy-in in about a half-hour and then went to bed.
Sunday I won one tournament and took second in another.
Poker gives you such a good feeling when things are going well. Ahhh.
I just wish it went this well all the time.
Don't we all.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Notes to self

• If you are ever card dead, write a blog about it, and your luck will change immeaditely. I won a tournament today and won $40 in a ring game last night, which is a pretty nice night in a .25 NL game (I was pleased), mostly because three pocket pairs hit their sets on the flop.
Ironically, I won with K,K, 5,5 and 10,10 but lost with A,A when a fish called me down and hit her inside straight on the river.
• Thank you, Poker Gods.
• I have cut down on poker a bit since I was playing it basically all the time after Jayden and Mrs. Pokerpeaker went to bed, and last night's successful session, an hour-long, focused sit-down, was probably the result.
I need to pay more attention when I'm a little tired of the grind and do something else. There's lots of books to read, for instance. Stephen King's new one is fun.
• I also re-read Harrington, and he's not advocating that you sit back and wait for good starting hands the whole tournament. He's saying to play it smart and play the Gap Concept but steal when you can in the later rounds. I acted accordingly and won the tournament. I had gotten away from being more aggressive and I hope this is a return to form.
• A,7, for instance, is a great hand to raise on the button when there's only one caller.
• Or 8,5, for that matter.
• One hand was interesting: I had K,K, one guy raised 4x, so I pushed all in with my stack lead, either thinking I had him beat or I would just steal his raise. I was fine with either result. Short stack called, 2nd place calls, the original raiser calls.
Short stack had K,8, 2nd place had A,8 and original raiser had Q,10.
Flop comes A,A,3, two diamonds, but I hit diamond, diamond to get my flush (ha, I had best hand anyway) and I ride the big stack to first place.
• Harrington advocates aggression a bit. He does not advocate stupidity.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dead cards can kill your confidence (and your patience)

I'm starting to see 9,4 in my sleep.
2,8 floats through my brain, giving me cold sweats.
I'll even jerk awake. "Ahhhh!," I shout. "Another 7,4?"
No, I haven't lost to these cards.
I'm holding them.
Way too often.
I can't remember the last time I was so card dead. I've played eight $2.25 tournaments and cashed only four of them, and all of those were third places, mostly because I was simply one of the last men standing after all the carnage of players going to war with K,9 versus A,3.
I'm seeing more monsters than a 3-year-old, only I'm not the only holding them. And now I'm wondering if I'm really one of those rocks I hear so much about, a predictable, namby-pamby player who refuses to call a raise, who has M&Ms for testicles, who goes pale when someone calls my bet.
Jesus, I hope not.
There is something equally as frustrating as someone beating your A,K with J,8 (more on that later), and that, I believe, is watching all the donkeys have all the fun with K,Q and scooping huge pots from tards who call raises with 10,9, when you hold a limp little 9,3 in your hand. You can't take the tards' money because you'd be a tard yourself if you called with your junk, and by the time all the easy targets have been picked off, you're left with a puny stack to battle the giants.
Folks, I'm serious. In the last SnGs I've played, I've had Q,Q twice, A,K once, 10,10 once and A,J four times and A,Q a couple.
I have forgotten what K,K or A,A looks like. Can you remind me?
That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Most, then, I've lost my stacks when I do raise with one of these hands, and the flop misses, and my continuation bet gets slapped down.
Then I get nothing else, and I basicallly get blinded off.
I have a game plan for the tournaments I play online. Play few hands and raise with them, limp a few times on flyers (small pocket pairs) but pitch them to raises, occasionally bluff at small pots (but only when pots have two or less players) and never, ever call a raise with a marginal hand. Complete all small blinds. Play your hands aggressively if you do play them.
Would it win the World Series of Poker? No. Does it show profits at my level of online tournament play? So far, yes, yes and yes.
Unless, of course, I don't get my starting hands.
Then I go limper than an 80-year-old.
Does this make me a bad player? I don't know. This is my internal debate right now.
And that's what going card dead can do to you. You start to question your poker-playing skills. I should raise more. I should be more aggressive. I should steal more. You forget that, hey, your formula, while not very fancy, works pretty well, and that when, in fact, you do have to push because your stack is low, your A,8 always gets blasted by A,Q.
And so, of course, last night , during a ring game, I had A,K (so pretty) and raised 4xs with it. A caller. 8,8,A comes down. I put the somewhat tight player on an A, and he bets $1 and I call. A K comes down. Now I think I have two pair, and I think it's good.
Eventually my last $15 goes in.
The guy has J,8.
I should have recognized that, but I was so happy to have a hand, I got carried away.
Being card dead can also turn you into a donkey.
Patience is never one of my strong suits, but I've been remarkably patient through this.
I just need to remind myself to stick with the plan.
Stick with it, stick with it, stick with it...
Oooo! A,10!