Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lessons from a Trip

Consider this an addendum to the lengthy trip report below.

It's often said that you remember the bad beats, but never the great hands. This is often said because it's true.

I made a few moronic calls purely out of curiosity and had at least two memorable bad beats.

I usually don't post more than a quick recap of bad hands, but there's a lesson in here. Note, only two of these qualify as bad beats. Let's go in order of my fault to donkey.

1.- 1/2 NL at the MGM, Friday night. QTs limp in, board comes AQA. Checked to me in MP and I bet $20. Folds to cutoff who thinks and says, "does he have the ace..." and after a few more minutes raises to $60. Now, a completely sober me speaks up in my head and says, "You're beat. He TOTALLY has the Ace. At the least he has kings, or AQ, a stronger Q than you donkey." But I'd had a couple, and even though I knew I was beat, I called. Turn is crap, and he pushes all-in. I have him well-covered and call purely to see if my read was right. Of course it was. AJ flipped over, and he says he was worried I had a better ace. So now not only have I dropped over $100 in one stupid hand, but I'm painted as a complete fish. Naturally I tightened up and eventually got back to even before leaving.

2.- WPBT Tournament on Saturday. I have pocket queens and am heads-up with Mattazuma after he raise pre-flop. Flop comes all unders, he bets, I re-raise, and he pushes. I have him covered, but KNOW he has cowboys. Aces smells all wrong here, and he's not betting that hard with top pair or AK. Again, I need to know, and instead of asking, "I fold up, you show?" I call. Sure enough... kings, and no Q for me.

3.- 1/2 NL Saturday night. Relatively new guy to the table who finally brings some raising to the game. He's garnered my respect with his seeming tightness and aggression, although I can't think of any hands he's actually held. I have AJo and bet out around $15 pre-flop. Two callers, including him. Flop comes 8J4 and I bet $20 into the $32 pot. He calls. I've got to wonder here, so I check the 3 turn as does he. Rivers comes a 6 and I think I'm good, so I bet $40 and he pushes for $50 more. I call and he flips over 57d for the rivered inside straight. ARGH! But I guess I let him get there.

4.- 1/2 NL Saturday night, about an hour earlier. Woman directly on my right sits down and plays for a while. Chases draws and high cards like a fat kid chases his last smartie. I've pushed her off with re-raises once or twice, but we've generally not tangled. I have pocket 9's and raise it up. Two callers. Flop comes 9xx, two clubs. I bet 1/2 the pot and she's the only caller. She's sooo on the club draw. Turn is not a club, I bet 2/3 the pot, she calls. I go a bit cross-eyed. Kc hits the river and I sigh and practically toss up my hands. She bets something like $10 into about a $120 pot and I call saying, "nice flush." Sure enough, two completely unconnected clubs. I say, "not much I can do." and she replies with, "Well, you let me get there." I calmly replied, "Well, I did bet. I wouldn't have called it down." What can you do? I suppose I could have taken her chips and thrown them across the room, and then she couldn't chase.

There were others too. Calls and pressure with inferior hands, sometimes in an attempt to push someone off, sometimes because I just made a bad read. But other than #4 up there, these beats were entirely my fault. I called because I could afford it and wanted to see if I was reading right. There's nothing wrong with losing on purpose in order to get information - but only if that info is worth more than the money being lost. It wasn't in either case above. Also, there's no accounting for donkeys. If you let them get there, they'll get there, so if you're completely dumbfounded by a call and the turn card doesn't help them in any way, BET AT IT. Finally, no matter how hard you try, some people can't let go of their draws. They'll catch sometimes, but you'll make more off of them in the long run. Stay calm and you'll make your money back.

On the flipside, I don't make the donkey calls, and that $5 in my wallet looks more like $205, if not more due to stack intimidation. Just as if I walked away from the slots when I was up instead of playing more, I'm up for the trip. All it takes is a few mistakes and you're toast. I kicked myself after The Mookie last night for throwing away around 5600 in chips on hammer raises. I don't drive hard at those, then my TT re-raise all-in against Hoy's AK is maybe enough to push him off at the end, and I go deeper. At the very least, I would have had him covered.

Riverchasers tonight. Am I up for the ultimate in donkfests? Maybe.

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