Monday, July 14, 2008

The AK is dead, long live the AK

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:26 am
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Hello dear friends.

Another overnight at the casino. Rented a room this time, although I can’t say I slept very well.

I arrived at the casino about 5 pm. There were no 1/2 tables open yet there was a lengthy list so I figured there wouldn’t be too long of a wait, so I went and played some video poker and the one cent slots. I’m going to start calling the slots a different name, that of an old girlfriend, thereby making it easier to avoid them. 2 1/2 hours later we were seated.

The table was mostly old guys. I figured they were regulars. They were fairly easy marks. There were also a few younger guys. One was a squat mouth breather dressed in quasi-gangsta sports gear who went through about $600 in two hours. The other, sitting to my immediate right was a calling station who limped almost every hand and called nearly every pre-flop raise. He smelled like dead fish and had a wallet full of $50 bills. Finally, there was one more young guy who was a good player. Being to my left two seats, I proceeded with caution in hands with him. As a matter of fact, I was playing what my poker buddy Alfonzo calls a “trench warfare” strategy. If I’m gonna stick my head up above the top of the trench, I’d better be firing a Howitzer. At any rate, after about 3 hours of play, I was up $150. this without ever getting a piece of the two younger fish.

Eventually, the dead fish guy left and was replaced by a well-groomed young guy. He was an aggressive player, and although I had never played with him, he knew the dealers and they him on a rather personal basis. First hand, he came out firing and showed pocket Qs. With him on my right and the other solid player a bit to my left, I folded most everything.

Guy to my right raises $12. I look down and see AK off and re-raise to $24. He makes it $50 and I call. Flop comes with a K and low cards. I bet enough to just about put him all in and he goes all in. Pocket Ks. I know, I know. I misplayed that hand horribly. But why? I was impatient and arrogant. The $50 reraise should have been the tip off that I was beat from the get-go.

I had about $80 in chips left, so I bought another $100 and dug in again, or so I thought. The table started to change players. The guy to my left racked up a nice profit and was replaced by an Asian guy. His friend sat to the right of Mr. GQ. AK again, mid position. $12, two callers. Nothing on flop, all low, so I make a continuation bet Asian guy to my left calls. Nothing on turn but board looks like a str8. I slow way up and by the river I’m out of the pot and out about $50. The rest of the night is very similar to this, I buy another $100 in chips, and new players come to the table late and hit with hands like K6 off. I’m down to my last $45 bucks and lose it when my KQ suited, top pair loses to 9 10 off, two pair.

I have a hard time sleeping because I wonder if I just shouldn’t go home in the morning. I wonder if I should give up poker. I don’t, and get a table about noon.

Again, the pickins are easy. In no time at all I’ve doubled my buy-in of $200. Incredibly clueless players. Husband and wife tourists come sit. I figure them to be moderate players, as they seem to be slightly bleeding for a couple hours with $100 stacks. Husband is to my right two seats and raises from mid-late position and I’m in the small blind with AK off again. Flop brings an A and he goes all in. I call. He has AK suited and narrowly misses a flush. We split. A bit later I raise from early position with AK off and he calls. Flop comes K Q x, I bet the pot and he goes all in with about $45 left. I call, knowing full well he has KQ. Of course I’m hoping to spike an A. Again, I’m just a bit too cocky for my own good. I leave shortly thereafter, down $200 for the $600 I brought with me.

Hindsight. What is the issue? I’m playing too fast, not considering what the possible outcomes of hands can be. I’m reacting, not analyzing. Is it because this trip was the next day after I wrote my little rant in another post. In fact, I was still processing the previous night’s Poker Academy fiasco as I was driving to the casino. I knew it might be a factor and also knew that I had to somehow rise above it in order to play effectively for the real deal. Plus, I still am trying too hard to increase my bankroll. Tilt is sometimes a subtle thing; right now it wasn’t wearing any disguise.

With the first round of play, when I was making money, the previous night on PA was out of my head. With the first bad call, I was back to tilt because my bankroll was being threatened. I was unaware of the spiral that was to follow, I had JJ UTG and after my $10 bet, an old guy at the table announces to everyone that I have JJ. WTF? Instead of getting nutso all-in, I’m weak tight at this point. Pocket Qs are also no good…or are they? By the end of the night, I really don’t have a clue.

I am reading Feeny’s “Inside the Poker Mind.” My game may need more than that at this point. I may have to reassess my skill level for it seems that I am too aggressive and not loose enough…

OK, I have to remind myself that I have been playing poker only for a year and a half… that’s all. The mistakes I am making are those that any new player makes. The trick is to not make the same mistakes over and over, or go broke anytime soon. There is so much about this game I do not yet understand. Each week there is a new problem, a new set of circumstances that I must analyze, either in the way I played a hand, or the way I presented myself at the table. And dammit, that’s what makes this all worthwhile!

Such a quick turn-around in attitude? I always come back to the fact that I love this game. In a way, it’s like staying with the old girlfriend, sticking it out until I get it right, until it works. Yet, I cannot put poker and the slots in the same category. The slots give nothing back, or if they do, persist and they will take it, and more, away again. Poker is different. I can learn how to have a better “relationship” with the game, and as I have seen on numerous occasions, it will reward me for the effort. And should I misstep, it will let me know in no uncertain terms, and then forgive….say “I know you can do better” and give me a second chance. No, poker is more like my dear wife (the poker widow).

Study and meditate, bastin. Study. Meditate.

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