Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dogging it without a game plan

I'm a planner, which is a nice way of saying I'm anal.
I think that's what Type-A really means. It measures your analness. I'm anal with an A.
I make to-do lists every day, make them out for the weekend and feel lost without a gameplan for the day.
And I think that's why I totally bombed out in the Bodog Bodonkey last night.
I finally had some good luck in that godforsaken tourney. I built a decent stack in the first hour, mostly with steals, bluffs and a decent hand or two. Then in the second hour I flopped a set and got top two-pair in another hand and suddenly I was sitting pretty with almost 9K in chips.
I was the big stack at my table and, with the blinds going up up up, with 24 left, I could taste the sweet sweet nectar of points for the WSOP freeroll at the end of the series.
And that's when things started to fall apart.
Kansas was blowing out UNC by 28 points when things got tough for a long while, and I remember what Seth Davis said at halftime: "Playing with a big lead is not easy."
It's always a problem for me because I'm not used to it, given my style of play. I'm always floating around the middle or even a shortie. So when I do have a big stack, I'm always thinking I should be bullying people with it, only I'm honestly not very good at that because I haven't had a lot of practice. Honestly when some of the masters do it, it never looks that hard, and yet it's a lot harder than it looks. Playing with a lead is not only not easy, it's really hard.
I lost a fourth of my stack on a steal attempt and continuation bet that was check-raised. I called a raise from a tight player with K-K, hoping to stack him on the flop or at least get more chips as my re-raises, given my continually tight image, usually only draws folds. An A hit the flop and I had to fold to a c-bet, as I didn't want to lose too many chips. A steal attempt worked, and then I check-raised a loose/aggressive player on the flop with air, and when he insta-called I folded on the turn.
At that point I stil had an average starting stack, around 5K in chips, and I could still probably fold to the points, but I look down at A-K, and when a fairly aggressive player raises in EP, I jam.
My thinking is I could win a really nice pot, my image was still fairly tight (maybe), and he only had me covered by 300 chips, so this is a really significant call for him. My fold equity, in other words, was fairly high, and if he calls, I've still got A-K.
After a long time, he called with Q-Q (hard to fault him there, he probably figured I would have just re-raised with Aces and Kings, and he was right), I lost the coin flip (shocking) and IGHN.
If this were the Mookie, I probably wouldn't have given that a second thought. If I win that pot, I'm the chip leader and in a great position to cash or even win it. But this was the Bodog, and I think my fairly random plays were the result of not really knowing what my goal was.
Is it to win or the get into the points? I'm not that far down on the leaderboard, and in fact getting some points probably would put me close to a money spot if not in one for the WSOP freeroll. But if I win I'm definitely there.
See why I'm confused?
I didn't have any sort of a goal.
When I do play, I've had them in the past, even if I didn't really know it. I've gotten more aggressive in the Mookie because the starting chip stacks are cut in half now and the need to chip up is greater and yet I don't make loose calls. That's a good game plan. When the stacks were 3,000, I'd take it easier and yet also make looser calls with speculation hands. That's another good game plan.
I've had no plan when I've played the Bodog.
That will change next week. I'll have a gameplan every time I play a tournament from now on. I am a planner, after all, and without a plan, I'm lost
And if I get chips once again next week, you'll see me creeping up the leaderboard instead of donking them away and extending Blinder's lead.


P.S. I'm playing in the Le Cheese Challenge Thursday. Thanks to rakebrain.com for inviting me. It's an honor!

1 comment:

Drizztdj said...

As I've stated before the number one rule of poker is:

Don't suck.

You did not CALL all-in with AK and folding to the points was not an option. Therefore you got unlucky, could have had a big stack, but did not suck.