Sunday, June 04, 2006

It's not always your fault

Poker is hard on the competitive, Type-A personalities like me.
Whenever I lose, there's always something I think I could have done better. I could have been more aggressive. I could have been more paitent. I could have been, er, playing Doom 3 and avoided playing all together.
This weekend, after a horrible weekend of live tournament poker, I've changed my mind. A little.
So Friday night I played tournament poker at our Relay for Life in Weld County. Relay for Life is a really fun charity event that is all night long for cancer. The fun comes from all the different tents and "teams" who pick their own theme. We were Tour de Cure and pretended we were bike racers for the Tour de France.
We walked a little. Mostly we ate and played poker.
We found a Bank tent offering Texas Hold Em on the hour, every hour, so we started playing at 11:45 p.m. If you have the most chips at the end of the hour, you get a free beer mug.
So the stakes were high.
So two friends of mine and I played against two 11-year-olds, a fat guy who "likes to play those bar tournaments" and a loud, screechy 22-year-old woman who liked to raise and then talk about her raise (I gotta raise, I can't leave it there, I can't just not call) until the flop hit.
In a 10-hour cash game, I know I would have come out ahead. But the time limit, and the horrible play, beckoned variance.
On a table like this, the results can either be very good (see my post about my first time in a live casino playing limit, when I came out $200 ahead in three hours) or very bad (see my writing after this sentence). Really, it depends solely on luck. You can't raise with nothing because you'll get called. You can't bluff because you'll get called. And sometimes even these people wake up and find, say, AK, usually when you are holding A,Q.
Well, in the first game, it was down to me and 11-year-old #2, who had a huge stack after winning a three-way all in with a,9 (the other two had A,2, egh). And I had K,Q with a Q-high flop, with 4 and an 8, so I bet, bet and finally pushed, and the kid called me down with...
Oh. I forgot to mention he hit his 9 on the river.
Three hands later, he won after calling another all-in with K,J and flopping two Ks after the dude had A,Q.
He didn't really understand why I was laughing so hard. And I didn't want to tell him.

Saturday night I played a home game with a $20 buy-in. I have no bad beat stories in this one. I got no hands.
Now, I"m looking for suggestions here. I had 9,3 all night. If I raised preflop I got 5 callers. So I could never bet. It was the perfect situation, all I need is a few solid hands and I'm winning it. Only the hands never came. A,10 never came. Nothing came. I was clueless. If you can't bluff, and you get crap, really, what can you do?

You lose.

The experience has made me relax a bit in the low-limit SnGs I play now. I've played hundreds of SnGs now, and every time, I always think I could have done something different if I don't cash. That's a good exercise to go through. It's how you improve. I have, for instance, improved my position play as a result of this.

But sometimes you just lose because sometimes those SnGs aren't much different than Relay for Life poker.
But that's OK. Poker, after all, is just one long Relay.

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