Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Playing Like an Emu

(I agree, there has to be a better term than donkey, due to its massive overkill these days, but man, it's hard to find a good dumb replacement animal.)

Poker baffles me sometimes. Or, more accurately, I baffle me sometimes. Got deep in a PL Omaha 8 tourney on PokerStars yesterday, about ten spots from the money. I only had one rebuy and an add-on invested, so it was looking like I would make a little scratch. I usually do pretty well in these once I survive the crazy rebuy stage, and I was sitting in 15th or so, with plenty of chips.

I forget exactly what the blinds are, but the biggest stack at the table (who had like $50,000 in chips and had been bullying relentlessly) min-raised, everyone folds, and I call from the BB with As Qs 10h 8h. I've got about $20,000 after calling.

Flop is Ad Qd 8d. Big Stack Bully bets $1,000 into a $4,000 or so pot. I raise, he calls. Pot is $10,000.

Turn is 10c. I bet $5,000. He calls.

River is 3c. I check, he puts me all-in.

I sit there and stare at the screen for awhile. Granted, all I have is three pair, no low, and there's three diamonds sitting there. If I fold I still have $7,000 or $8,000, which is enough to still make some noise. Gotta fold. Definitely. Definitely fold. Wapner at 7. Definitely.

I click the call button, he flips over Ks Jh 2c 9d, takes the whole damn pot with his turned straight, and IGHN.

My monkey reasoning for the call was that based on the way he was playing the hand, he likely had something junky like A 2 x x, and was limping along for the low, plus the A and maybe a second pair. When I checked on the river his bullying instincts kicked in and he knew his low was good, so he took a shot at pushing me off the high. If he did indeed have a big flush, he'd have played it slower, or come over the top of me when I showed strength, wanting to take it down there and not let me draw to a low, if I was drawing.

But all that's beside the point. The point is that there's absolutely no reason to call off all my chips there. None. It doesn't matter what he has. I have two pair, no low. Fold. I spent two hours playing patiently and intelligently and suddenly my brain implodes and I take ten seconds to dwell on a decision that undoes all of that work.

Reading BadBlood's post shortly thereafter made me wonder, too, what it is in our nature that leads to impulsive decisions like that. Because, honestly and truly, I'm not that impulsive and rash. There are many character flaws and outright jagged, gaping defects that I possess, but impulsiveness isn't one of them. That said, I still haven't been successful (obviously) in eliminating bad, impulsive calls like the one outlined above.

The interesting part is that there's sometimes an inverse relationship of sorts, based on the difficulty of the call. If I have a painful, difficult call to make, I'll just quickly make a decision, as if to somehow ease the pain by committing myself to a course of action. Which is reasonable enough, I suppose, but can be very injurious to your poker game. Instead of stepping back, taking time, looking at the average chip stack, looking at how many spots it is to the money, etc., I just acted, for absolutely no good reason. Bad monkey.

Wasn't able to get much going in the ring games yesterday, either. The Prima fishies started biting back, with a vengance. Jebus bless the fish but sometimes it can frustrate even the most patient amongst us, when they continually draw out, again and again, with their 96o and their Q4o. Managed to salvage things a bit later in the day, but had my first significant losing day in quite awhile.

Liking Harrington Vol. 2 a lot more than the first one, especially the sort of formulaic approach to the end stages of tournaments, as far as when to shove, what to shove with, etc. That's something I always struggle with, especially with seemingly crappy hands, and I'm more than happy to lean on a crutch there, if it's a solid enough crutch.


Drizztdj said...

I've done similar things late in an Omaha tourney.

But when the board flops a flush and you're getting bet into... let the monkey/chip bully have his money and save yours for when you nail the flop.

Granted he turned the straight and you were leading on the flop, but that's results-based thinking. You only had re-draws to the board pairing.

I do like how you put him on the low draw based on his betting pattern. Good read, but maybe wrong timing.

Nick Christy said...

Enoy your blog, first comment! This situation happens to me all to often in hold'em. It seems more online then live though. You have spent a good four hours getting yourself to the end of the tourny and then boom, stupid call leads to short stack leads to being busted. I think this also comes from a lot of people playing really conservative towards the end of the tourny, and a few being bullyish. You note that quickly, and feel that you can bust the bully in the nose and take his chips and you can run from the ober conservative who comes over the top but push him when he doesnt. This is walking into a trap often, because if you get a real smart person who has been playing really conservative they can make you think you can push and end up raising after the river, same with bully who will usually throw chips at you with no regard to his hand. Oh well, play live more and online less seems to be the only remedy for me ;)

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Felicia :) said...

Drawing for a FH with two pair is not usually a good prospect in PLO8. How could you be getting your 11:1?

Also, you don't have any backdoor draws at all, really.

Sometimes the bully can be your friend. He sits and takes all of the chances, knocks people out, while you slide into the money and can double through him when you have a lock. Feed off of the bully, don't butt heads against him.