Friday, November 17, 2006


Although our lives are slowly, painfully, being unpacked from our cardboard boxes — if I need something, there's a 3-1 chance it's actually available now, although still more often than not, the object sucks out and I can't find it — I still don't feel comfortable.
It's exactly where I am in my poker game.
Poker, as in life right now, isn't automatic anymore. Calls have become tougher, bluffs seemed forced and my range of starting hands now appears to wider than the average American's plate at a Western Sizzlin buffet.
It's been a year since I started playing poker online for real money, and in that year, I quickly developed a tight, occassionally aggressive game. It's certainly not a bad game to play when you're starting out on the .25 NL tables and the $5 SnGs. But in the last month, as I've moved up in SnGs and played the cadre of rocks at Full Tilt, I've come to realize that I wasn't outplaying the others in the last year as much as I did outlast them. I never made any moves, bluffed only in tournaments and sporadically at that and rarely played anything beyond the top 20 percent range. And I'm ashamed to admit it, but I rarely thought about position.
I know that I'll never be an aggressive player, nor do I want to be. But what I don't want to be is predictable, and I'm afraid that my game, to anyone not playing three tables, fantasizing about Hiliary Duff and chatting on Yahoo, is far too predictable.
So I'm trying to change that. Occasionally (but not enough), I raise in position with a speculative hand. Occasionally, I bluff when no one wants to take the pot. Occasionally, I'll pretend I have an A, when in fact, I may not! How sneaky!
Results have been mixed.
Unfortunately, playing looser, apparently to that inner poker player who tells me what to do, means making looser calls, and while I've caught more bluffs lately, I've also made some eye-rolling payoffs.
Thanks to Fuel, who has helped me think about things other than the cards, and to Iakaris, who is providing more than enough inspiration on how hard work pays off (and having the brain of three journalists like me don't hurt neither), I'm trying to improve my game.
At times it's paid off. At my home game last week, a game filled with good players, they had no idea where I was for the first time in two years and I won a lot despite an overall lack of quality cards. Other times, suhc as last night in the DADI, results have been not all that impressive.
I know that in three months, I'll be grateful that all that work from the move gave us a better life.
I just hope that in that same time, I'll feel the same way about poker.

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