Thursday, September 4, 2008

Swings, Part 2

Last night after chores had all been taken care of and I had closed down the Republican National Convention (Yes, this old progressive hippie watches The RNC too.), I poured a cup of coffee and played some 25NL at Stars. Ever patient, I waited for the right hands or the right spots, and managed to lose about $26. The final blow was cracked Aces against a set of Kings on the flop. A little voice said, “set” but I was too busy praying AK to listen. And, of course, he let me do all of the betting until he was all-in.

Today during chores I thought about the hand. Four out of five times, I’m good against Kings, right? The most immediate problem that came to mind real was that the $20 I lost on that hand represented 12% of my existing PS roll. Not so good. I gave some more consideration to moving down to 10NL and made a mental note to look around for one of those games tonight.

I’ve looked at the 10NL games before. Yesterday and today weren’t the first times I thought I should be more prudent with my roll. Yet, today, as on other days, I couldn’t find a room that registered as being loose, nor could I find one that wasn’t heavily peppered with people playing $2 stacks. No set mining allowed when the shorty pushes. No implied odds. Not prudent. Yet, I was determined to try, so I found one that had only a couple shorties and took a seat… for about two orbits.

I couldn’t stand it. It just wasn’t worth my time or, perhaps , more honestly, I don’t have the patience to grind any lower than 25NL. By the end of the second round I was looking for a move up.

I had to wait a bit, yet there were a couple stacks that looked to be in their final throes, so wait I did. (See, I can be patient.) However, my bladder was feeling a bit overwrought. Could I wait it out? Yes, a seat! I bought in, sat out and ran upstairs.

By the time I returned the blinds had just passed. “Wait until the big blind?” the program asked. No, I’ll play the cut-off. Pretty. QQ. An early position player raised 3 x BB and the player to my right called. Knowing full well that no one believes someone could possibly have a good hand when coming in like that, I popped it to $2.00. The first player folded and the second called. The flop was 388. Bet, raise, call. The turn, another Q, was sheer beauty. The guy puts in the rest of his initial $24. He has A3 off and immediately reloads for $10.

The next hand he pushes all-in and everyone dutifully folds. Same with the next hand and about 75% of the rest of his hands, increasing his stack to $17, and then he ran up against someone’s pocket Kings. Unfortunately, they weren’t mine. The best I saw was snowmen, and they weren’t worth $15.

With the donkey vanquished, it was time to move on. To make a long story short, I made another quick $7 in another room with 10s against 9s, leading the whole way after calling an early position 5 x BB preflop bet.
Then the phone rang. It might be my dear wife checking in, so GL folks, until tomorrow.

Very early on, when I was just learning how to play poker, I learned that money seems to disappear a lot faster than it comes in. Even today it seems to be the case. One can rationalize it away by blaming the big downward swings on bad beat and suckouts. Yes, they happen to all of us, and they are painful. Yet, they don’t happen every single time one loses a big pot or goes on a bad run. So, I have to look for holes.

I know my losing sessions aren’t caused by chasing. I simply don’t do it. If I have odds to a draw, I’m there; otherwise I fold. If I have a pocket pair and don’t hit a set on the flop, without four to a straight or flush, I’m gone. Where, then, do I lose it? Primarily with top pairs or TPTK hands. I push with them despite evidence that I may be beat. It’s almost as if I feel that I am owed the pot. Wow, what a huge flaw! What a newbie!

This is actually a much more complicated problem than being relatively new to the game. (Almost 3 years now.) It may have more to do with what Mr. Gumpo was talking about in his comments to my last post: bad players believing they have the best of it, when in fact they don’t, and me looking for a cooler draw behind every Bush. So, when the board looks favorable, I push it along with pot-sized bets, looking more to discourage players from staying in a hand than actually considering what winning hand I may be up against. I’m reading the players wrong, or rather, my approach is more reactionary than it should be.

I suspect, forgive me for saying this, that it has something to do with Poker Academy. Not with the software, and not with a majority of players who I play with day-in and day-out. It’s the ones that play as if it is play money. The same type of players, or so I imagine, are playing the micros at the cash sites, and $1/$2 at the casino (albeit fewer at the casino). Play money. $25 is play money for some, just as $100 is for a few others who can afford such a thing. They are either giving it their (not so) best or gambling for fun. (At the casino the loose players may be straight out gamblers, playing poker like they would roulette. Who knows? Sounds like a future post.)

I should be glad that these players are around, right? Over the long haul… right? Ultimately, it is my attitude that needs to shift. And this, dear friends, may be a more daunting task for me than doing algebra. Is it purely another manifestation of the bankroll issue? Is it an ego thing? I shall think upon it and, with the hope that any insights I gain might help other players, report back.


PAPro_SandMan said...

When you figure it out, my dear friend, let me know. As in many other areas, we share this attribute. Same problem. Same attitude. Same frustrations.

Forrest Gump said...

I suspect, forgive me for saying this, that it has something to do with Poker Academy. Not with the software, and not with a majority of players who I play with day-in and day-out. It’s the ones that play as if it is play money.
I think most that go to the bother of find, installing and playing PA are serious about their game. But ask yourself, has every decision you've made on PAO been the same as you would for real money? Can you ever truly imitate playing with real $? I do think PAO is as close as you can get though.

I know I can't cast the first stone because my biggest problem was paying off almost every time. In a learning environment for play money, I need to see if my read was right. But it's damn hard to break that 'curiosity' call habit and trusting that you were right most occasions.