Friday, September 10, 2004

Dude, Where's My Cards...?

I've played a grand total of 69 hands in the past 48 hours. That's one NL $10+1 SnG on Paradise, that I finished godawful fourth in. Strange as it is to say this, two days with less than 100 hands between them is a major poker drought for me these days. I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing...

Thanks to everyone who hit me with a note after my last post. Running good feels great, even if you KNOW it won't last, and will invariably be offset at least partially by running bad at some point. I think being able to write about running good may help me with the "tilt-proofing" process JW talks about over at Outkicked so often, drawing on the immortal HDouble's writings.

If nothing else, the act of sitting down to write about your play forces you to scrutinize decisions and performance, rather than outcome. I can't count how many times I've been writing about a hand where I thought my play was great, only to see that I'd made some kind of significant mistake. Sometimes, there's this hidden desire to change the "facts" of the hand to make my play seem justified, but thankfully I haven't been caving in to that temptation.

Two examples of what I'm talking about: a flopped two pair, and a 3-flush board I've hit online in the past week.

The two pair I had was weak: 5's and T's with a 5QT board -- limit poker, shorthanded. Problem is, the pot was raised pre-flop, and the Q and the 5 were suited on the board (I didn't have any of that suit). What did I do? I flat-called the flop hoping to checkraise or re-raise the turn. Horrible play, in my view, particularly with about 8.5 SB's in the pot on the flop. I didn't realize I had exposed my bottom two to both straight and flush draws until I went to write about the hand.

As for the 3-flush board, its a little similar to my winning hand from the home game the other night, but with disasterous possibilities built into it. The game is $50 NLHE on InterTops (Party), and I'm holding Kc4h in the BB. I see the flop for free with several others, and it comes down 7c9cJc. Immediately, I'm thinking about making a flush, and with no PF raising, probably the best hand if I do hit. I forget the betting, but I don't think it was too substantial on the flop. Turn brings what I asked for, a club, in the form of the 5c. I decide to trap, and call a moderate bet, along with 2 others. The river, interestingly, is the 8c. The SB comes to life and bets the river instead of check/calling as he had been. Meanwhile, idiot me is thinking about taking stacks with my King high flush, and move in on him. Folds back to the SB, who ponders and then times out (intentionally?). His all-in protection kicks in, and he sees a showdown without having to call my all-in bet with... the 6c for a straight flush. I lose a small chunk of my stack, equal to the size of his initial river bet.

He reconnects quickly and asks about the hand, asking if I had the ten of clubs. First off, he's an uber-weakie for disconnecting, and for worrying about a higher SF. But moreover, the possibility of someone having that hand never even crossed my mind. I was too busy thinking about how huge MINE was, and how many chips I'd win with it. Fundamental mistake. Writing about it here helps me realize that and hopefully re-tune my game in the future.

Probably not much poker this weekend until the big tourney on Sunday. Real life sometimes has to take priority, for better or worse.

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