Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I was due a bad day at the tables and yesterday was it. Sort of.

I think one of the more interesting aspects of poker is the psychological nature of it. Especially in the way that it constantly presents a challenge to maintain a certain equilibrium in the face of chaotic opportunities. There's the obvious offshoot of that, as far as tilting, bad beats, and what-not, but the more interesting aspect is the ability (or lack of ability) to maintain a path that one knows is the correct one. Even when it's a boring, boring path. Because the gentle slope upwards will inexorably carry you to that peak, way up there. It'll just take awhile. Unlike that dodgy, dangerous short-cut over there, that'll get you there in a tenth of a time, but that's littered with thigh bones and skulls for a reason.

So, umm, yeah. Session one yesterday was the normal grind, one .50/1 table, one $25 NL table, and one $1/2 Omaha hi/lo table. Played for an hour and half, ended +$73.25. Nothing dramatic, just solid aggressive play. Bet cards when you got 'em, occasionally bet cards when you don't, play nothing but premium starting hands.

Session two was a disaster. And the sad thing is that it was a self-made disaster. I was planning on cashing out my Pacific account, but I wanted to give it one last shot to double up my original buy-in (which I was about $50 short of). So what do I do? I play some $3/6 Omaha.

I have absolutely no idea why I did this. Not only do I not have the bankroll for that but Omaha isn't my best game. My thinking was all I needed was a couple of good pots and I'd be done for forever at Pacific. The sad thing is that I know exactly how loserish that thinking is. But I felt like I was on a roll, yada yada yada.

It started bad and just got worse. Then I got stubborn and kept trying to recoup my losses. I wasn't exactly tilting, and was even laughing at what a fish I was, but I also wasn't able to avoid breaking all sorts of poker laws etched on stone tablets (thou shalt not play simply to try to recoup losses; thou shalt not play at a higher limit than thy can afford; thou shalt not play when acting like a dumbass, etc.)

By the end of the night I'd managed to play the bankroll down from $350 to about $85. Sweeeeet.

But wait, there's more.

So then I decide to hop over to Paradise and play a couple of $30 SnGs. I can't even remember now why that seemed a good idea, other than a way to salvage some money from the session. Again, stupid. Non-sensical. Not following my plan to slowly build a bankroll in any way.

I bubble out in 4th in one. Nothing too remarkable. Cold, cold cards and ran into a monster when I tried to steal. The other I go out in 5th, when my top two pair gets called all-in by a guy with a pair of 4s (lowest possible pair on the board), who catches a 4 on the river for a set. Which is bad enough but he then proceeds to lecture me about what a bad play it was for me to push all-in when I "only" had two pair. I almost never go off on people via chat but I couldn't help it. I still had like T 300 left so I just hung around to vent for a bit. Pitiful, I know.

So yeah, bad night. I managed to completely wipe out a couple weeks of gains from solid play in about two hours. Not good. Even worse is that I compromised myself as far as deviating from what I know is solid +EV play. Not good.

That said, it could be much worse, and it's a good lesson learned. It's obviously a lesson I already knew, but sometimes I'm a dumb monkey, and can only really learn something when administered enough nasty electrical shocks, repeatedly, when I do something dumb. Stay within thyself. Don't deviate from the plan. Slow and steady wins the race.

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