Wednesday, March 15, 2006


When we’re in a losing streak, we’re far too anxious to blame our misfortune on bad luck.
Bad luck is always part of a streak (oh my God, is it ever), but last night, I had several opportunities to pull myself out of the ditch.
And I didn’t take advantage of them.
Poker is a game of situations. If you have a straight, and there are four hearts on the board, and a tight player pushes all in, sorry, but you fold. Learning how to fold, even when I have a pretty, pretty, pretty hand, because the situations calls for it has saved me a lot of money and made me a winning player.
But now that I’m well versed on folding (good laydown!) and waiting for the nuts at my full-table .25 NL cash games, I’m looking for ways to improve my game and maybe add a little more aggression to my life, without the whips, chains or various scented lotions.
I need to rely on the old standby.
I’ll go through a few hands here last night to see what I mean.
• OK, so I get Q,K in early position, so I just call the .25. A guy two spots to my left raised 8x the BB.
I fold automatically and regret it almost immediately.
The guy was a pure donkey, one of the worst players I’d seen, and though he hadn’t been at the table that long, he’d already dropped a buy-in. I had a good read on him. Normally I would never call a raise that high with only K,Q, even soooted. You’re only asking for trouble.
But in this case, it would have been a good time to call. He was making raises much higher than that. It turns out the flop was Q,4,4, and a guy who called won with 9,9. The donkey had A,7.
The situation called for me breaking my rule. I ignored it and failed to scoop a big pot.
• I have 7,7 in MP and the guy to my right raises 3xs the BB.
Now, this may seem tight to you, but I have never understood why so many people fall in love with pocket pairs. It’s a pair, people, and once you’re committed to it, it’s hard to improve it (7.5 to 1 chance of hitting a set), and without improving it, you are vunlerable to overcards, draws and small little donkey two pairs.
Of course I shove all in with AA after a couple re-raises and usually with KK, but after that, I treat them like a normal hand and will fold them many times. Hell, two weeks ago I folded KK preflop and the guy showed me AA.
So I normally fold little pocket pairs, up to 8,8, to raises.
But in this case, the guy was a habitual raiser. I pegged him as an OK player, so he wasn’t raising with junk, but he could be raising with any pocket pair, or J,Q or even something like A-x.
I folded the 7s when it was a perfect time to call.
4,7,3 appears on the board.
Another 7 appears on the turn.
I’m never one to regret a fold. If the miracle card hits, well, so be it. But in this case, again, the guy was a raiser, and you let him scare you off. As it turns out, he folded to action, but two other players pushed all in.
Another great opportunity passes me by.
• Finally, I have K,10, and I throw a quarter out there, with the intent to play it cautiously.
I get an OESD, but there are two hearts out there.
Now this play might take some debate. Why not raise to get the flush drawers out of the pot and protect your draw?
I thought about the play later. It has two sides to it.
The good side is the play is an aggressive one, which may allow you to take down the pot right there, add money in when you do hit your draw and throws your opponents off a bit.
The bad side is I play .25 NL, and at that level, most players pay no attention to pot odds. While this is a good thing most of the time, as it allows us to get paid, it’s tough when they hit their draws. If they have one heart to go, they’re calling, even if they’re getting horrible odds for it.
I have been very successful staying within myself and just playing the cards.
The hand played out when I got my A. But it was the A of hearts, and of course, that made the guy’s flush. I ended up down for the night, not by much, but down nonetheless, after the crying call on the river.
He was playing suited connectors, and no one raised him off them, so he really wasn’t even being a donkey.
I doubt he would have folded to a raise.
But I’ll never know.
That’s exactly the kind of thing that many players would say was typical. They were up for the night, playing well, and then, OF COURSE the guy hit his flush and ruined your great hand. They can’t win, they say, and when will this losing streak end?
I was chirpng that a bit, but I realize, bad luck, last night, was only a small part of my current woes.
Losing streaks start when you take a few bad beats. They hang around when you get scared and fail to take advantage of situtaions that may help you dig your way out.

1 comment:

TripJax said...'s been one of those lives lately. No time. But I'm glad I came by. This was a very good post. The biggest part of it all recognizing the table and playing it, not your cards. You were starting to see the people instead of see there bets. I like it.