Sunday, March 23, 2008

Scrambled thoughts on poker, not the NCAA tournament

My wife would disagree with me, but really, I have thought about other things than basketball (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!) since the NCAA tournament started.
Like poker, for instance.

And, oh, making sure the twins don't crawl down the stairs.
(Really, what is it with a baby's propensity to commit suicide? The population would be much, much lower if babies were allowed to act on their own. Maybe that's why it's an issue: We really all are lemmings at heart and are just trying to control the population, and our parents, because they've spent a few months (make that 10) getting up three times a night, won't let us plunge off the cliff. Maybe if our wives gave birth three weeks after getting pregnant, this wouldn't be a problem, but then again that wouldn't be as much fun as four months of getting yelled at for cutting a grapefruit in front of her, three months of crying jags and two months of snoring loud enough to wake three states.
Dear Girls: The stairs are dangerous. It's also not wise to shove every throat-sized thing you see on the floor, like the dog food, down your throat. Love, Daddy).

Thought #1 - Don't go to bed angry. That's what our preacher told us during those pre-marriage sessions that the Catholic church requires (along with pledging your first born and promising not to use birth control, the last of course we did with fingers crossed). And yet I have had trouble not taking stupid plays and bad beats to bed.
The problem is you're probably going to have one or the other every time you play an hour or more of online poker. I never play a session perfectly, for instance, and suckouts always happen to me, as they do to anyone who understands that if you are re-raised and you are holding J-K os, you should probably fold.
After waking up still mad and frustrated, I've decided that enough is enough. My health is good and I'm in great shape, so it would be stupid to blow up my heart on stress related to poker. Besides, I don't play high limits and poker, ultimately, is about making a little money while having fun. It's not a job. Not even close.
Once I made that resolution - call it my New March Resolution - I had one of my best runs of the year today, almost 12 miles and feeling great. I hope there's a connection there.
I can't say I'll live up to the resolution - most people don't - but I'll continue to try.

Thought #2 - Usually when I have a big hand on the river, I'm having a hard time these days deciding whether to value bet, check and hope for a bet so I can raise, overbet for value (usually just jamming) or bet lightly and hope for a raise.
I'm usually failing on the side of overbetting because I figure the times they do call will make up for the times I get nothing out of the river bet. Skalansky advocates this as well.
I still believe this although lately I'm having a hard time getting my monsters paid, and I don't think I'm playing overly tight (plus I'm playing at the lemming level where they don't pay attention to table image too much), though that is always my nature.
Your thoughts?

Thought #3 - I have been more aggressive lately in cash games and it seems to be paying off, though I'm still jamming at the wrong times occasionally (on the river, when I have no fold equity) and just jamming with high pocket pairs instead of playing them better.
This seems to be making me money, though I've made two bad mistakes lately that cost me more profit, mistakes I would not have made, because I"m trying to be more aggressive.
I suppose this is what we call learning.
Like learning that crawling down the stairs is not a good thing. The trick is for it not to kill you before the lesson is learned.

1 comment:

Drizztdj said...

Letting poker get to you is something I thought I'd learned after playing this long, but I realize its not about keeping anger in check.

Its being able to separate yourself from the results. Good or bad.