Thursday, March 22, 2007

np, sir - lololololololol

Oh yeah, poker.
I've gotten away from writing about poker, given that I have no real stragety tips to offer here that you haven't read AQ other times, with Q being the number of books you've read and A being the number of blogs you've read, minus Waffle's rants and the OMGYOUFKINGSUKs you've seen in the chat box.
And if you haven't read me in a few days, or you're over here from the twins blog, sleep deprived and wondering why someone would devote hours of their limited time to playing cartoon characters on the intertubes, then I encourage you to scroll down and read the last two posts, as those are much better examples of my writing ability, such as it is.
Onto the Mookie. Well, I was smoking the Mookie like a ham last night. As it has the last few times I've played the Mook, the deck was slapping me in the face, as if I was making ill-timed passes at it, like the "arm stretch over the couch" move. The Mookie loves me for some reason.
But I finished 11th. That's right. I did not make my fourth final table in a row. I did not cash for the third time in five tries. Why? you ask. I thought you said the deck was slapping you in the face.
Well, I was an idiot.
I had a nice chip lead and probably could have coasted to the final table, despite the blinds that were eating up the smaller stacks, Pac-Man style, and snacking on timid players on the side. I had 7,7. I just call. I get raised in the BB.
So. What do you do. I have the guy covered by 2xs the amount of chips. Just call? Not a bad play. But I re-raised him all in. He has KK and suddenly I'm in sixth and fading fast. I have no choice but to push with A,Q, not my favorite hand to push with, and I lose to QQ and I"m out in 11th.
Yeah, yeah, Gordon Pair principle, equity, attacking chip stacks that can afford to fold (which he could), blah blah blah. The bottom line is I made a play that I normally would never make, and it cost me dearly.
It's bothered me quite a bit. But, thankfully, I have learned a few things from it:
• Playing big stack poker is an art. It's an art that Smokee and Lucko and TripJax and others can do so well, it looks easy. Hey, it's not easy. You have to know when to push and when to back off. I'm learning how to play with a big stack, and I'm doing better at it, but I'm much more comfortable with a medium to smaller stack. I've won many SnGs, small MTTs and The Mookie by hanging around and then going on a rush at the end to win.
• The reason for that is I am a solid, tight/aggressive, Harrington-like player. And you know what? It's a successful style. I'm not a rock, I bluff, blah blah blah, but the one thing I do well is I almost always get my money in when I'm ahead. I almost never suck out. I'm a winning player because of this.
That's harder to do than it sounds, but that's what I do, and I should appreciate my style more, rather than get all enamored with fancy-play syndrome.
But when you do play that way, you usually aren't going to have a huge stack, unless the cards are just too kind, as they were last night. I mean, I had AA five times, and I had action on them. Five times. My golden retriever/lab mix could probably make the final table with those kinds of cards.
The bottom line is I don't have a lot of experience playing with a huge stack and it shows. I'm getting better, and my MTT play has improved a ton since three months ago.
I really respect Lucko and players like him who can get a big stack and use it to push people around. I'm not there yet, and I've got a long way to go to learn how to effectively wield one without running into trouble. Poker, as always, is a work in progress. I'll continue to experiment and tool my game, but if I'm ahead, as I was last night, I'll still be cautious.
I did not have a monster, monster stack. That's a different thing all together. But even so I had a stack to play with and I blew it.
I've learned that if you play too far outside your natural style, without the proper studying and experience, you'll fail.
Good job to those of you who made the Final Table last night. I wish I could have been there. Congrats to you all for staying within yourselves. Maybe next time I'll join you.

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