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!

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