Monday, December 29, 2008

Thank Jordan

Yah, this Jordan. He went and posted about recurring themes in our blogs. This isn't about that. It's about his second point - that we're constantly relearning what we've learned in poker.

This was something I realized over the weekend. I'd finally reloaded on Stars and was able to play with a bit more abandon. Getting out of the doldrums of $5 turbo SnGs and $2 MTTs reminded me why I stopped playing down there in the first place. The play is simply horrendous. I'd get calls with 2nd pair no draw that would hit, or someone would flop the the double gutshot straight with unsuited 2-gappers after my re-raise of the preflop raiser. Shit like that can be disheartening, because you're relegated to playing your cards and praying for your hands to hold. Nobody can be bluffed off anything, and concepts like position and pressure are meaningless. If you can't trap with the stone cold nuts, then you're flipping coins.

So back to $20 games, and $40 satellites, and $5 rebuys (talk about a cheap way to get into the 70k - $10 invested, 20 seats, and 58 runners left at the break). It was like a dormant part of my poker brain sputtered to life as I played. Position became important again. Being cognizant of the stories both I and my opponent were telling held the key to victory. Reads meant more than knowing I had better cards, they meant knowing I could push my opponent off his sub-par hand with air. Playing the donkfest that was the World Record game was surprisingly easy until the blinds finally caught up with me after 3 hours, because my starting table had (oddly enough) some people who actually knew how to play poker. The Sunday (3.5) Million, horrible structure aside, saw well-timed moves rewarded, and well-laid traps paid off. All those things I've spent the last 3+ years learning stirred awake and came into play.

Of course, my old friend distraction came along for the ride and cost me some key spots. His buddy regret tried to get a foothold as well as great decisions were rewarded with could-have-been-magnificent suckouts if I hadn't folded, but I kept him away as best I could. The times decisions turned out to be poor and were rewarded by me NOT going busto on the river mitigated ol' regret somewhat. In the end, if I'd left the TV off and filled my screen with poker windows, I probably would have fared better. But in the end, for the first time in months, I felt on my game again. It wasn't cradle-to-grave, but there were moments of absolute clarity and runs of confidence and infallibility that I have missed. Looks like I'm getting back into the groove just in time for the new year and the Full Tilt reload. I can't wait for Goat's BBmT on January 4th.

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