Sunday, December 31, 2006

I resolve to play better poker

That’s my poker score from
  • this Web site
  • . That’s pretty good. It was better than
  • Smokkee's
  • after all, and he’s a much better player than me.
    But you wouldn’t know it from my December results.

    Everyone has variance, and I suffered an incredible amount of suckouts this month, probably more than average (although everyone would say that), but I also didn’t play as well as I should.
    My results showed it. After averaging $300 a month this year, I’ll be lucky to make $100, and there’s a chance I’ll barely break even.
    High speed Internet and a new laptop.
    Now I'm driving a Ferrari after playing poker with a station wagon for many years. And when you’re handed a Ferrari, you want to go fast. Fast means action, and action means multi-tabling.
    I realize
  • some of you
  • probably play 25 tables at a time, with results that will help you pay off your mortgage by next year. But I’ve discovered that I can’t do it and play as well as I should.
    I thought about the reasons why I love live poker. There are many. I love talking to people while I play. I love the atmosphere. I love live tells, which I’m better at picking up than I gave myself credit for initially. I love holding the cards. I love chips.
    But most of all, live poker FORCED ME TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE GAME.
    I could put people on a hand (or at least have some idea as to what they have) by the first hour. I could play each person differently. I could even play hands in different positions based on what person raised, if any raised.
    I was playing poker. I loved it more than I thought I did.
    Only when I got the laptop first and high-speed Internet in December, I became an action junkie rather than a poker player. I played three tables at low limits and an SnG all at the same time.
    I was playing bot-like poker rather than the kind of poker that wins you pots.
    I was not playing my game.
    And it showed.

    That brings me to my New Year’s Resolutions.

    • Play only one table at a time — I’ve started this week, and I won $100 for the week. I’ve made some concessions regarding this. I’ve moved to .50/$1 NL. I’ll stay there. No more playing .10/.25 or even .25/.50. I’m bored at those levels, which is another reason why I wanted to play more than one table. I’m going to watch the players and make adjustments according to the way they play, regardless of my cards.
    I’m not criticizing others who multi-table.
    It just doesn’t work for me.

    • Play more SnGs/Control your bonus chasing — They are fun, and they’ve always been profitable for me. But when I chase after bonuses, I play exclusively cash games, and cobwebs eventually start to grow on my game.
    SnGs help me play more aggressively, make a little money and experiment with some moves I’m learning from fellow bloggers.
    I’ll go after an Ultimate Bet bonus, and then I’ll stick to Full Tilt and Poker Stars, and I’ll play at least one SnG a night.

    • Don’t take suckouts to bed — Suckouts are the worst part of poker. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting your money in with the best of it and getting punished for it. And this month, especially, it seemed to happen to me every night, hair-curling, gut-wretching, mind-tearing suckouts that knocked me out of tournaments instead of giving me chip leads. I don’t even want to think about how much money they cost me this month.
    And yet....
    They were bothering me far too much. At times, I’m ashamed to admit, they cost me some sleep.
    No more.
    I finally realized what can get me past them.
    Every good player, and I think I can call myself that, even if I do have holes, must take their share of suckouts.
    When we do that, WE ARE DOING OUR PART TO HELP THE POKER ECONOMY. That’s what keeps the bad players from playing and giving us money. If there were no suckouts, poker would not only be unprofitable, it would be boring.
    Sorry, but everyone has to do it.
    I’ve done my share.
    Time for you to step it up.

    • Be aggressive, be be aggressive — In their excellent new book, “Why You Lose at Poker,” Russell Fox and Scott T. Harker say this the biggest reason why people lose at poker, other than playing too many hands, is they aren’t aggressive enough.
    What an eye-opener.
    I play tight/aggressive. I hardly play like a nit. but sometimes I play far too solid. I knew it was a hole in my game. I just didn’t know how lmuch money it was costing me.

    So I’ve taken that to heart. I’ve bet at practically every orphan pot last week and taken most of them. I’ve bluffed more than I should, and most of the time, it’s worked. I haven’t bet big to push players off a huge hand, but I’m not sure I’d be successful at that anyway, given my limits are still fairly low.
    And when I have a hand? Pot-sized bets. Raises. Overbetting the river in certain situations. And No. Free. Cards. No more thinking about Monsters Under The Bed.

    • Have fun — Yes, poker is about making money, but if I want to play three SnGs at once, I will. If I want to play Triple Draw, I will. If I want to play Omaha. I will.
    Just at small stakes.

    Tonight I’ll play solid, tight/aggressive poker at Harrah’s on the Missouri riverboats for New Year’s Eve.
    I settled on $3/6 limit poker. My bankroll is still limited, and a $400 buy in for $2/5 NL poker is a lot for me to swallow because you have to play like you don’t mind losing it.
    And I would mind losing that.

    Have a safe New Year’s and good luck at the tables.


    JL514 said...

    Loved the post. Best of luck tonight and happy new year!

    Veneno said...

    Sounds like a good plan! Best of luck to ya in 2007.

    Love_elf said...

    I hear ya on 2 things:

    Suck outs and be Agressive!
    I used to get soooo mad at the suckout artists, that I once killed my computer - literally. From then on, I let it roll off my back. Oh well, I say, it's just another f-in hand.....

    I'm trying to be more aggressive, too. Not Smokkee agressive, but somewhere btwn him and me (I'm not agressive at all).

    This year, I hope I just getting my betting right.....ugh

    Drizztdj said...

    I wish I cleared that much.

    At least I'm getting a cool Full Tilt Jersey for my multi-tabling!