Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Myself

My poker game has sucked hard of late. There's no point in bringing up examples, because they all tell similar stories. Distraction, mental flubs, inconsistent stories, ignoring the obvious, lack of belief, etc..

So maybe it's time to analyze some basics. There will be nothing revolutionary here. No deep insights into chip utility, applying pressure points, 3rd level bluffing, or anything else.

Preparation. I'm choosing games with no reason behind them. I fire up a 1-table turbo SnG because it's easy to do, but really don't care about the game. I decide to late register for the PLO $4k because I'm home sick and haven't played an Omaha MTT in awhile. Forget that I haven't showered or eaten breakfast yet. I don't even think about how I'll attack a game, or why I'm playing one. My most satisfying victories of the past came after I spent time figuring out when to change up my game, what the ebb and flow would be, and then applying that plan successfully. I haven't been doing this.

Observation. I'm making assumptions about everyone these days. Sure they're bluffing when I have TPTK. No way they have set, they suck too much to have a set. They obviously held on for that rivered flush, etc.. I'm not letting the cards, the board, or the betting tell me much. I'm relying entirely on instinct... which has been surprisingly accurate when the cards DO get flipped over, but often too late. At least I can still smell a busted flush draw, even if I can't see an inside straight.

Volatility. My chipstacks are all over the place. There's seldom a slow-but-steady climb, it's all-in and double up, blind away, all-in and double-up again. In SnGs, it's hold on until the bubble and push to stay alive, instead of push to accumulate chips. I spew over an orbit or two before tightening back up. It's disgusting.

Desire. I start off wanting the win, but eventually get to just wanting the end. I get knocked out, wish everyone good luck, and sign off relieved that I don't have to play any more.

Bankroll. I reloaded a couple weeks ago, and am once again on the cusp of doing so again. As the numbers tick down, I get more concerned about the money, which causes my play to shift dramatically in key situations. I play to hang on and get another chance as opposed to take down the pot and advance stronger.

Distraction. This has always been a constant. The problem with online poker is that distractions are easy to find. I have the TV on, or a show on my computer, or a another completely unrelated game going, or I've accidentally misclicked on a link to some dirty pictures and don't know how to get out of that page (yup... mmhmm), or am editing photos, populating databases, or any other number of things that aren't playing the game at hand. The benefits of focus are automatic and obvious. Plus, being distracted leads to giving off incorrect signs at the table - pauses that seem like doubt, missed premium hands, missed opportunities. Just another leak.

Game. I've got none these days. I've lost the ability to have my big hands pay off it seems. I also seem unable to bluff effectively. I'm playing scared, shitty poker.

So tonight's The Mookie. I plan to show up, and maybe plug a few of these holes back up.


Riggstad said...

Dude, I got some sick sick Figs from my neighbors tree...

He brings over about 100 every year, and they are fresh and ripe.

This year they are particularly huge.

I split and grilled them with some honey on the open side. Fantastic!

Tonight I am trying them in a sausage (chorizo) and vegetable like stuffing.

I gotta have more ideas... Ship!

Astin said...

Figs? Go nice in a salad too.

Candy them? Put 'em in cookies? cake?

Puree and use in a BBQ sauce for pork chops.