Tuesday, April 21, 2009


About 99% of the time my poker game suffers, it's due to a lack of focus. I sit down, ready to play, maybe even with a plan, and then I turn on the TV, open a browser with 13 tabs, start 3 or 4 chats, check my e-mail, pet the cat who just jumped on my shoulder, drink a beer, snack on some peanuts, pay some bills, phone a friend, do the dishes, take a piss, and contemplate the existence of the flying spaghetti monster while opening up my 3rd SnG. Then I wonder why I didn't win the Mookie.

But not recently. Oh sure, I'm still splitting focus, but usually it's a much smaller field of distraction. Something on the TV in the background I don't care too much about, or music, or BDR. I've cut down the distractions and try to focus on the game more than the rest. No, recently the problem has been my mentality.

I don't formulate a plan of attack. I know how a big-field tournament works. I know the type of players I'm likely to face. Hell, if it's a blogger game, I know the types of player on an individual basis, to the point I know what room they're sitting in and which stickers are on their laptop. It used to be I'd actually choose a method - if I wanted to start loose and then tighten up, or conserve chips early for more aggressive play when everyone else tightened, or whatever variation I chose. These days, I haven't.

I also find I'm relying on my fabled luck, but it hasn't always been around. I figure if I survive and hour without premium hands, then I'll get flooded with them the next hour. It doesn't work that way, and I know it. So I end up giving the impression of solid hands, showing the aces, getting to showdown with the nut flush, etc., but then not using that image to my advantage.

I'm reading people correctly, but not playing them right. I know when I'm ahead, but then my attempt to get them to overthink my play into a call backfires and I win the minimum. Throw in a little bit of the same bad luck anyone sees and I'm falling on my face.

It's getting to the point where I once again expect the worst when I get it all in, except the worse isn't happening this time around. My hands are holding up a reasonable amount of the time, but I'm convinced I'm running bad. I'm not, I'm just not running like a god. There was a time when running normal was enough for me to go deep at the very least. But now my attitude is askew, and it's resulting in bad calls or ill-timed moves at the worst possible stages of the game.

So I have a useable amount of focus, but an insufficient application of this. It's time I changed this. It may also be time for some live poker. Now if only I could find a free weekend.

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