Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Step Away from the Computer with your Hands in the Air

I have not played much poker lately and therefore have not been posting much any content at all.

I am in a waiting period.

First of all, I am waiting for my $150 of seed money to load back into Neteller. I refuse to give them my 8% or whatever they charge for “Insta-Cash”. I loaded it on payday last week, so it should be up there now.

Secondly, I need to reassess myself and my poker goals. I don’t really know what has been going on with me lately. I think that I want to play at levels beyond my bankroll and I fear that a certain sense of entitlement is plaguing me at the tables. Perhaps because I read about poker a lot (blogs, books, etc.) and I know how much more I know now compared to how much I knew when I started… I think that it should automatically make me a winning player. There is the rub. I know that I am a better player than I used to be, and I am a more knowledgeable and aware player, but it has not translated into a constantly winning player.

There are many reasons for this and I feel that I need to explore them and understand them better so I can get past them.

Here is a perfect example. I decided to dedicate my last $50 on PP to $10 SNGs two weekends ago. I am down to that measly $50 because of my previously posted self destruct on PP BJ. (On a side note, I wish I could uninstall that little icon because I am not sure I can always resist the temptation) Anyway, I was resisting the temptation successfully because I had a goal. I played very well in the first SNG and came in second. I was happy with my play and almost took first. This set the tone for me (I thought). I bubbled on the second SNG with a play that I would make again. Got it all in PF with QQ against a very loose player in the BB. Unfortunately, he had AA and neither hand improved. Oh well, in the long run a +EV play I think.

Then, it started going bad for me. I watch all these players playing so loosely and winning! I don’t know if that caused me to play more speculative hands or if the cards just missed me, but I would put some money in a pot with a good starting hand when I was in position and then have to abandon when the flop missed me completely or I was shown a lot of aggression. The very last SNG I played is a good example of what I think one of my problems consists of. Down to my last $10 SNG buy in, I knew I had to make it count. I folded for three orbits and then saw what I thought was an opportunity to steal. I was in LP (1 seat before the button) and it was folded to me. I had KQs (yes, I know, a temptress of a hand that will fail you in the long run) but I felt I had a few things going for me. I had not played a single pot yet. My image was very tight. I was in position. I decided to raise 4x the BB (25/50 at this point). My $200 bet was called by the BB. Not great because I was looking just to steal the blinds, but not panic yet because he just called. I can eliminate a few hands I think. The flop comes rainbow rags with an 8 high. I bet 2/3 pot quickly. I think that this is a good amount because it is probably what I would bet with AA or KK. It is enough to make a chaser think twice and not so much that it appears to be a bluff or a scared bet trying to protect AK. He calls. I do not like that. Unless I catch runner runner heart or a K and then a Q, I think that I am behind in this pot. Did he make a set? Is he slow playing Aces or a high pocket pair? I guess I will find out. The turn is another blank and not a heart. There is a straight draw out there now, but I don’t think that is what I am up against. I fire another bet and leave myself about $100 in chips. Maybe that is a sign of weakness, but I want to see what he will do. He calls again. I know I am beat, but curious why he did not re-raise me. The river is not a K or a Q and I check, ready to fold to any bet. Strangely, he checks too! He shows AQo and takes down the pot. I don’t respond in the chat, but that really pisses me off!! WTF? This is the guy I want to be playing with that will pay me off with my pocket pair and even my AK. The only outs he had on that board were As and Qs and he called ¾ of his stack. Horrible play by my standards, but he is the one with all my chips…. When I think about this hand critically I know that he could not have had a read on me. I had not played a single hand in the first 30 hands. If anything, my image was super tight. I don’t know how he could not have put me on a monster. In a weird way, I would have been happier if he had flipped AA or KK, or even 78 for a pair on the flop. It is beyond me why he did not fold. I guess I could have pushed all in on the turn or the river, but from my perspective that is –EV since my read is that I have run into a hand that has me beat and the other player was pot committed at that point. $135 more for a 1+K pot… ok.

So, can I avoid this situation? Obvious answer yes. Should I have tried for a steal there? I think yes, I would try it again in the future. I know that KQ is kind of a suckers hand, but in this case I think the conditions warranted playing it as I did. If I flipped positions with this guy, I see myself folding the unimproved AQ on the turn or putting me to the test with it…. But just calling to the river with it, I think that is the worst way to play it.

Looking at that situation, I really expected that other player to fold to my show of strength. Maybe he was too inexperienced? Multi Tabling and did not notice I was playing uber tight? I don’t know but I guess if I can figure it out, I will win more. What is the answer here?

Besides expecting other players to recognize what I am doing/projecting, I think I have an issue of playing games outside of my bankroll. I have never ventured above 5/10, and only dabbled there… but I think now that I need to focus much more on building a bankroll slowly. I know that I can play, and win, at higher levels, but 1 donkey move or crying call can really cripple my bankroll. I need to go back to the limit challenge bankroll and set limits for myself. I need to not worry that I just played poker for 2 hours and all I have to show for it is 5 bucks… I should instead look at it as I played for 2 hours and have +25 BB and I am making 12.5 BB an hour. Maybe that will help.

Lastly, as DoubleAs described it (I think it was him), I need to find my ATM. A game or level, or match up that I can consistently win. I may have found it with the UB HU SNG’s, but there is still too much volatility (and the temptation to play $50 or $100 matches!!) to play many of those at my current bankroll.

This is a rambling post, and I will probably go back to reread this later tonight and maybe reorganize it, but I am very open to all of your thoughts. From reading other blogs, I know that we all go through periods of self doubt, introspection, and bankroll flameouts. I guess it is the ones that try to learn from the cycles that benefit the most. I want to benefit.


GaryC said...

I haven't flamed out my bankroll, but the plateau that you speak of is exactly where I have been for two months. I'm at a spot where I'm not learning and not improving at the same time, which can be pretty hard on the old bankroll.

I went back to trusty SNG's for all of last weekend and MAYBE got my groove back. I played well and had good results to show for it.

Find something you are comfortable playing and start grinding. It isn't the most fun way to play, but it is a profitable way to play.


Meek said...

I did see a way to disable the BlackJack Icon on another blog. It had to do with deleting the jpg file for the image. I'm at work so I can't do a search for it, but you should try to google for it.

Who Dey

chipper said...

Good to see you blogging again. It's therapy for the soul. I'm also seeking where my ATM is. Limit poker just isn't going to be it for me. So I'm heading back to the tournament area and SNGs.

Hang in there. You'll find your ATM soon.

WillWonka said...

For what it is worth, I have no problem with the way you played the hand and I am the king of hating KQ.. but down to 4 handed, KQs is a good hand.

STeelerJosh said...

Thanks for the replies (with the glaring exception of the not so subtle Bengals reference). The good wishes are always appreciated, as are the suggestions, and validations.


Meek said...

Wha? I realize you may have to endure more Bengal fans now that the band-wagoners are back, but I've been a fan since I've watched the NFL and Boomer was backing up Ken Anderson. Mainly because my dad was a *chortle* Browns fan.

We've got common ground though, aside from the Browns bashing. I have a block O tatooed on my ankle, and live in Central Ohio.

Go Bucks!

That better?