Thursday, February 09, 2006

Actual Poker Content!!

9 FEB 06

As I look at my last several entries, I realize that there has been a lack (okay, absence) of poker-related content. I aim to fix that now. I’m no theorist, and I have very little wisdom to share regarding how to play specific hands. I am; however, an expert on tilt. Saying that I go on tilt is really not saying much. Lately, I’ve been trying to pay specific attention to how it manifests.

To say I play too many hands is an understatement. I try to “make it back.” I stop reading other players. I forget who the calling stations are and who will fold. I get pissed. I slam my hand on the table. I seethe.

I heard a brief interview with Scotty Nguyen about tilt. He smiled his typical smile and said, “Baby (he always says “baby”), when you’re on tilt, that 9,10 looks like gold.” This simple statement totally sums up how I play when I’m on tilt. Now, I know that 9,10 has its place in a multi-way pot, especially in position. My problem is playing it too often, and not getting away from it when there is a reasonable chance I’m beat. Implied pot odds are a bitch if you aren’t bankrolled to handle the variance when you don’t hit your draw 5 hands in a row. I probably need to back off after missing a draw and avoid drawing hands until I build a bankroll that can handle a miss or two. I’m a much better player when I am playing with someone else’s money than when I’m stuck $300.

I needed this advice for my most recent endeavor back onto Pokerstars. Online bankroll gone. Again. ‘Nuf Said. I won consistently at turbo SNG’s and did fairly well at the .25/.50 NL. Why did I feel it necessary to multi-table 1/2 LHE?

Poker players are an interesting bunch. I’ve become a regular at the 10/20 game at the Muckleshoot. All the dealers know me, and so do most of the regulars. I used to have a tight table image, but lately I’ve done quite a bit to erode that image, and people are starting to notice. Todd, one of the regulars, actually said something about it to me last night. Most of the players at the table knew each other, but there was one unknown and aggressive young Asian player in seat one. He had just dragged two big pots with 9,3 off-suit and 10, 2 off-suit. I’m in seat 3, and I called his raise. The flop is A 3 5 with two diamonds. He bets, and I call. The turn is a 9 of clubs. He checks and I check. The river is a blank. He bets and I call with my A 6. He mucks without showing. At this point, Todd is very surprised and says, "you called the raise with what?” A 6, I reply. His eyebrows remain up for several seconds, and I hear an audible “hmmf.” Almost like, “wow.” I replied that it was a total tilt call, and he just nodded his head.

Here is the thing: It was a tilt call. That being said, I thought I had a decent chance of winning if I could isolate the Asian kid even with ace-high. When I flopped the ace, and especially when he checked the turn, I knew he would have to suck out on me to win. The point is, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to make this play at the time and I would have been destroyed if he beat me yet again. Todd’s surprise may not have been intended to be anything other than surprise, but here’s what I got from it – Todd was tell me to be careful. I’ll get hurt more often calling a raise with A 6 off then just folding it - despite my “read.” Mike Caro suggests never trying to teach a bad player how to play better – they’ll only use it to hurt you (are you listening Michelle?), and Todd may not have been trying to teach me anything, but owe him my thanks all the same.

BTW – I booked a winning session.

In keeping with the “family” theme of the poker rounders, I’m not sure what to do about Pissing Off Diana. Diana is a regular and a fairly good tourney player, but she’s far too tight at LHE, and I’ve never seen her book a winning session, although I’m sure she does. I’ve blogged about her before – she was at the table when I had that really fun night, and she was there when I had my three flopped full houses cracked by quads (all by the same guy and all within 45 minutes, not that I’m still bitter). Well, last night I look down at AJ. I raise and she re-raises from the button. At this point, there are only 4 hands she could be holding, so I know I’m probably beat. The flop is all low cards. I check, she bets and I call. The turn is another low card. I pause here for quite a bit before betting with my ace high. My thought is that she may lay down AK, but I want to see where I’m at. She just calls (?). The river is an Ace. I say, “uh oh, I think I got you,” and I check.

My check here is for two reasons. Number one is I think I may be beat. Two of the possible 4 hands she’s holding have an ace with a better kicker. Number two is the old honor-among-thieves play. I kind of feel bad for sucking out on her, even though I usually have no problem taking her (or anyone else’s) extra bet.

She checks behind and turns over her pocket kings, and I drag the pot. Well, now she’s steaming.

Diana: Nice showboating there.

Dr. Chako: Huh? I wasn’t showboating – honest! I could have bet the river and taken more from you. In fact, I bet the turn. If you would have raised, I would have folded (true, BTW). You just called, and you let me get there.

Diana: You did not! You checked, I bet and you called the turn.

Before I could argue, the rest of the table jumped to my defense and said that I did, in fact, bet the turn. I doubt they believe I would have folded to a raise, but who cares? I’d rather they believe I WOULD have called. I tried apologizing two more times, and even a third time as I was leaving. She finally managed a weak smile and nod at me which said, in effect, “consider it forgiven but not forgotten.”

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to post some of my thoughts about leading with a drawing hand. I do it almost all the time when I’m on tilt, and this probably falls into the FPS (fancy play syndrome) category, but it’s been profitable for me, I think. I also want to send out a thanks to threebet33 for his excellent posts from his high limit experience. I asked him a question and he responded thoughtfully and gave me a lot to think about, too. I commented twice to this post, and there was another commenter. The last comment was deleted by the author. Now, normally I’m not paranoid, but I think the comment was deleted because it was derogatory about me (probably pointing out my ignorance), and because the author doesn’t want me knowing what a moron I am, in case I find myself at his table in Vegas.


Darryl Metcalf said...

Ok, I'm a pretty good poker player and enjoy your blog, but I honestly can say I never think about the game once I leave the table. I guess I will need to be careful when I play against you again.

DrChako said...

I do this every time I play. In fact, I think it's the most important thing to do if you want to make any money at poker. Reviewing key hands for weakness is paramount to improving as a player. Could I have extracted one more bet? Was that a good laydown? Did I play too many hands? Sure, I won this time, but did I play my best?

I ask these questions every time. You should, too.