Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We Have Nothing to Fear...

1) Play smart, not scared
2) Don't play exhausted
3) Don't play drunk
4) Pay attention to your table
5) The chips in front of you have already been spent
6) Be aggressive
7) Keep 'em guessing
8) Don't size your bet based on your cards
9) Trust your instincts/reads
10) Play within your limit

Last night I broke rules 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Needless to say I could have fared better. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it's not a bad sampling of what I try to maintain when playing poker.

Found myself with nothing but chores to do last night, so in lieu of actual work, I sat down to play poker. Fired up a Tier 1 on Full Tilt (first time I'd played on the site in a month) while chatting with Joanne and Kat while they played their own token games. I fared better than they, pulling out a 3rd place finish.

While I was finishing up this game, I got a call and had a minor emergency to attend to. I hurried out the door, and made it back in time to late reg for The Hoy (mere seconds before Drazz got knocked out). The fates decided to toy with me however, and kicked out my wireless connection, causing me to miss around 5 minutes and come back with a not-insignificant chunk taken in blinds. I wasn't long for the game after that.

But that's okay, because the night was still young... or at least middle-aged. I joined the blogger 1/2 cash waiting list, fired up a level 2 token game on FT, and an 11+1 5 table Turbo SnG on Stars. I went out 21st in the SnG (sloppily) and was at the final table of the token when I finally got into the cash game.

This is when the rule-breaking started. It was late, I was tired, I had another game open, two chat windows, a friend's article to edit, and the TV on. These were not ideal conditions for giving the game my undivided attention. I made the first of two mistakes I regret near the beginning.

I find the Hilton Sisters in front of me in EP and raise 3x BB preflop. I get my set on the flop, but there's two clubs there. I bet out a less than 1/2 the pot ($6 into $14), and Don re-raises to $15. I've still got the slow token going on, and just finished at the turbo, so my head is in tourney mode, not cash game... I re-raise to $50 and Don thinks for a bit until folding. I show the queens and get a "thanks for saving me money." Any game other than a blogger game and I kick myself a lot harder. I still like the re-raise on my part, but it should have been for much less than 1.4x the current pot.

I finish 3rd in the tier 2, netting a $75 token, and now only have the one table open (and all the other distractions + a cat who's suddenly about to hack up a hairball on my carpet). More rules are set to be broken. I start limping with just about any face, suited cards, or 1 or 2-gapper. Why? Because I just want to play, it's a blogger table that's limping all over the place, and I'm distracted. I've been playing at too many weak cash games, and it's developing a nasty limping habit at them and a dangerously loose hand selection. What made this is worse is that I'd start raising with premium hands, becoming totally transparent.

Then I find the ladies again in LP. Preflop raise gets us down to Lucko and someone else. K-high flop and checks to me so I bet out 1/2 the pot. Lucko calls, player 2 folds. 7 on the turn, and my weak bet gets a big raise from Lucko. I stop and think and I'm sure he doesn't have the K, so I call. Another 7 on the river and Lucko goes all-in (I have him covered... barely). I think until my time almost runs out and reluctantly fold. Damnable tournament mentality. I'm relatively sure I had him beat there, but I played scared and feared losing my chips (which I should have already considered lost in a cash game). If I can't trust my reads, then I shouldn't bother playing beyond 0.01/0.02. His "whew" after the hand didn't help matters.

So, I played scared, was distracted, was tired, limped, protected my chips, was transparent, played my cards (not the table), and didn't trust my gut. Everything BEFORE the cash game was fine, and as long as I stuck to my game, I was good... and then I released my inner donkeyfish. That said, I eventually did leave down only $80 in the cash game, so at least I can still walk away.


Doubt I'll make the Wheatie tonight, but I may swing by the 2nd chance. All those chores I avoided are eventually going to catch up with me.

Just noticed the Big Game is back on this Sunday... shame that I have other plans, especially with that token burning a hole in my account.

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