Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And One Step Back

There's a handful of things I did wrong last night on the poker front.

I was taking care of a bunch of things as the evening progressed. I'd wandered around my fair city a bit, checking out various stores. I got home around 7, threw together a messy, hot turkey sandwhich (no more turkey leftovers! now to finish the beef), and sat myself down in front of the TV. I ate, and watched some TV on DVD. Then I watched another episode, because it was a two-parter. Then I realized I had chores to do. Then I took a phone call. Then I noticed the 70k was starting 2 minutes ago. I paid my buy-in and walked away to do those chores. Mistake 1.

I wasn't in the mindset to play, as I had other things that NEEDED doing, and in fact neglected one of those things in the end. I bought in and didn't play for half an hour. Now, I didn't miss much in that time, but the pocket jacks might have made a difference... who knows?

But damn if the DVD I was watching didn't keep dragging me along to the next episode, so I popped it into my computer and opened a window. Mistake 2.

I'm playing the $70k, a game that has a decent structure and not-so-donkish play and distract myself from paying any attention to my competition or the trends at the table.

During this, I managed to aggressively chip up, get lucky a couple times, coerce the same donkey into calling into my superior hands (AA vs AQ to cripple him and AQ vs AJ to bust him), and maintain an average stack with a not horrible M. Then that started to peter out as antes kicked in, and I went out on a hand that I don't actually regret.

KQh in position facing a raise to 3x the BB preflop. I think about re-raising, but that would commit me against a stack 3.5x my size who likely wouldn't fold. I call. Flop comes two hearts and the raiser checks. I push, figuring the overbet MIGHT get him off a non-scary flop and happy with my draw if he calls. He calls with rockets and I'm at a 2:1 disadvantage. Whoops. My draw doesn't hit and I'm done.

Now, as usual, I don't regret the hand I went out on, but I shouldn't have been playing in the first place. Ideally, I'd have registered earlier, or even satellited in cheaply, and had time to prepare. Instead, I was thirsty, distracted, and rushed when I sat down. Then I added more distraction to the mix with the DVD, and probably cost myself some opportunities to chip up early. A stronger chip position changes that final hand in a number of ways.

I might have re-raised preflop, and figured I was beat before the flop. I could have outchipped my opponent, keeping me alive longer after losing. I wouldn't have pushed on that flop, but just bet out or checked, saving myself money. In short, my previous mistakes changed my later play, and cost me the game. Which is sad, because when I WAS paying attention, I was once again on my game.

I imagine I won't see any cards tonight, nor tomorrow. In fact, it might not be until the BBmT on the 4th that I sit down at the virtual felt again.

I see January 1st (or thereabouts) as a fresh start poker-wise this time around. The last few months have seen far less poker in my life than the 3 years previous, and it's refreshing. The days leading up to the new year have proven to be a nice warm-up and refresher for 2009. I expect better things.

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