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.

1 comment:

cmitch said...

Ride the positive variance wave. It is definitely fun while it lasts.