Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bonus whoring, suckouts and a site that isn't the Absolute

Got a bonus for me?
I'm there.
As I've said before, my new Mac notebook now runs Windows, and that's led me go nuts on Poker Source Online.
I've cleared in the bonuses on Party Poker (instant bankroll) and Full Tilt ($50 Best Buy card), and while I continue to work off my $250 deposit bonus at Full Tilt, something that I figure will take me a couple of months, I figured I would work off another quickie at Absolute Poker.

My first, instant impression of Absolute is "eh." This is only after playing maybe 25 hands last night on my neighbor's hijacked wireless connection before I went back to working on my movie of Jayden's first year (I know you're all DYING to see that), but I guess my standards are pretty high, given that I've seen ads on national TV and Mark Seif and others endorse it.
I was shocked to find only one table with 9 players for a $50 NLHE cash game. I had to settle for a six-person ring game, and it's going to be difficult to clear 400 hands at those (.50 or more rake equals one hand). It was late, granted, but it was also Saturday night.
Do you Absolute players notice this or was I just drunk and didn't know it?
The interface seems confusing to me, too. It's possible that I'll clear my PSO bonus and maybe $50 of my deposit bonus and then just skedaddle. I'd rather play on Full Tilt, and there's too many other Web sites I haven't tried, like Poker Stars.

I didn't look, but it's possible Absolute has more games at $1/2 limit, which I could try. I prefer NL. It seems to me that limit takes a lot of the essential elements out of the game, including bluffing, betting and pushing drawers off their hands, but that may sound to you like the comments of an inexperienced limit player. It's also possible that my extremely tight game is more suited to limit and I just don't know it yet.

Speaking of my game, I am paying more attention to position and attempting to bluff more than ever. I'm attempting to switch up my game, which is solid, effective and winning but far too predictable to move up to the higher limits, as I hope to do one day. There will be growing pains, but the other day I did win a hand I shouldn't have with K,A, and there's something about bluffing a player off a hand that gives you satisfaction, as the Stones would say. When your AA holds up, you're more relieved or vindicated, not thrilled.

And speaking of my game, it's been a frustrating three weeks. I don't want to sound whiny, but I've been mostly card dead, and when I do get a monster, my patience is rewarded by having my opponent hit his two-outer on the river. Waaaaaaaaaaa, I know, I know, but when it happens a lot, poker loses its luster a bit.

I'm proud of the way I've handled the losses, however. In the past, I would stew about suckouts for days, bitching about the unfairness of it all. Now I realize that suckouts and bad luck are just part of the game. Dan Harrington mentioned in one of his brilliant tournament books that we tend to forget about the times we're extremely lucky. I've learned more from Harrington than any other pro, and he's right. My suckout to sucked-out ratio is still unfairly high, and yet that tells me I'm playing well for the most part and getting my money in with the best of it. If I keep playing like that, ultimately I'll win, even if I lose money in a three-week period (maybe more, the losing streak, however mild, ain't over yet).

It's helped me keep a clear head. When I had my full house lose to a higher full house because the guy hit his two-outer on the river in a cash game, in the very next hand I was dealt A,Q and a guy to my left when all in for his last $30. Some would look at this as a "golden" opportunity to get your money back, but I folded, and I doubt I had him beat. Medium-sized losses don't have to become big ones.

And speaking of clear heads (I'm speaking a lot, aren't I?), I went for a 10-mile run today, and that really helps clear the head. It was wonderful, and I'm in good shape for the half marathon in November. I'm not even tired. I'm thinking about doing a marathon, actually, but geez that's a long way to run.

And speaking of suckouts, my fantasy team just lost a 50-point lead when my opponent had two players going and I had Carson Palmer. Santana Moss scored three TDs, LaMont Jordan got a TD and Palmer sucked and fumbled twice, meaning he cost me about as many points as he scored.
Now THAT'S a two-outer.
Suckouts just don't happen in poker.

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