Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday Morning Quarterback

Sort of a frustrating weekend, as far as poker/gambling goes. On the bright side, I basically broke even (if you count football bettin'), so I guess it's good that a "frustrating" weekend is a break-even one. But I've gotten spoiled with the poker bankroll rolling inexorably higher of late, and it actually took a slight dip last week.

More annoying is that I still can't rid myself of the mini-tilt tic I still have when I'm down, trying to recoup it from SnGs. It's not a bad tic to have, in and of itself, but it can be damaging when I stubbornly keep firing up one after another. Especially when I'm not in the best state of mind, after having AA cracked on consecutive hands to go from 1st to 4th, out on the bubble, in the previous SnG. In this case it worked out okay, as I ended the night with a 2nd and a 3rd, getting back to even, but I really need to make myself just shut it down when things are running bad, as I definitely wasn't playing my A game after that.

PokerRoom is officially kicking my ass, too. I'm not playing badly, not tilting, playing tight, aggressive poker, but I just can't get a hand to hold up to save my life. Sets keep losing to rivered straights, straights to rivered flushes, etc. etc., blah blah blah. Honestly, though, a good measure of it is my own fault, as far as being slow to re-adjust to the 3/6 full ring games. It's been a little over a year since my last journey up the limit ring game ladder and it shows, especially with all the time I've put in of late at 1/2, clearing bonuses and rebuilding the bankroll.

I folded two large pots last night where I had the eventual winner, scared off TPTK by nothing more than a re-raise on the turn with a scary board (flush and straight potential). In both cases the raiser (who had limped pre-flop) was holding nothing more than middle pocket pairs (99 one hand, 77 the other). Yeah, I know, pitiful. One of the drawbacks to playing so much micro-limit with players who will play any two cards for any amount of bets is that you start seeing monsters lurking everywhere, especially when limpers suddenly wake up and raise in the face of strength and a scary board. When advanced/tricky play is generally absent (as it ofetn is at micro-limits) the above play usually means one thing: a big hand that TPTK with no redraws isn't going to beat. At higher limits, though, it can obviously mean all sorts of things.

Feeling relatively good about my play overall, though. Went through SSH again, a bit slower this time. I still can't get myself to play middle pair/decent kicker as aggressively as they recommend but I definitely picked up some other useful nuggets.

I also had one of those idiot epiphany moments, where my thick head finally grasped something that had been eluding me, which was, umm, pretty simple to begin with. On the first read I'd had a bit of trouble buying into some of their arguments about protecting vulnerable hands with a check-raise in situations in which the check-raise would swing a call from chasers to slightly -EV (whereas calling one bet would be slightly +EV for them). I understood the concept and the underlying maths but kept thinking, "Umm, dude, that's only the case if they're savvy and doing the same equation and calling or folding based on the math. If they aren't you're chunking money in, in a vulnerable situation, where most players will simply call anyway, flying by the seat of their pants. You can't eliminate someone with a mathematical equation if they're not doing the math."

Which is obviously a pretty dumb thought to have. It makes absolutely no difference what they're thinking, whether they are thinking, what they're capable of thinking, etc. All that matters is that their money goes into the pot when they don't have the necessary odds to make that action profitable. When that happens, you win. End of story. Part of the difficulty (for me at least) is separating the fact that while you often want those chasers to fold, the odds-destroying nature of the check-raise doesn't rely on the fold. It presents your opponents with two choices, a right one and a wrong one. All that matters is which they choose, not what is running through their heads.

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