Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 1 All Over Again

Well, it's been awhile. Some parts of the game felt natural, others didn't. The six hour session got to me. I used to never get up. Today, I made sure to take two breaks so that I could clear my head and stretch my legs. I'm not in poker playing shape. Hell, I'm not in any kind of shape at the moment. To put it mildly, I'm fat. But, I'm very proud of how I played. My cards picked up where they left off last year with two distinct exceptions which I'll get to in due time. First, I want to sum up the session. What sticks in my mind is that I didn't tip a dealer for 4 straight dealer changes. I wasn't keeping track but usually a dealer sits at a table for 20 minutes at minimum. I figure I had a stretch where I folded nearly every hand for 90 minutes. The hands I did play were mucked after the flop. Yet, I was able to persevere and battle through the frustration. Small win usually, big win when you are getting back after a long layoff.

OK, I'm not a fan of bad beat stories. This blog is all about telling it like it is, or at the very least how I perceived the reality of the situation. So, with no further ado, my two tales from this session end with the hero (me) winning the pot (yay!) The first hand was a bit weird. I was in late position with pocket 88. Multiple limpers in front of me, I think about 4 with me in the cut off. The button and blinds come along and it feels like a family affair. Flop comes with me holding an over pair. Well, I only have eights so that means at the very least it is a semi-coordinated board. Actually, I'm holding a gutshot with board showing 7-5-4. I think it came rainbow but no matter because with my position I'm gonna ram it and jam it on the flop. Someone up front bets it and as usual in this game everyone calls because it's a small bet. I bump it up a unit and mostly everyone behind me comes along as well. This gives me pause for concern. I could be looking at two pair, a set, or a well priced in straight draw. A king comes on the turn and it's checked to me. I check along thinking that if it gets bet and I get to close the action I'll take flyer on the gut shot. It wasn't. A jack comes on the river and I know for sure I'm mucking if it's bet. It isn't. I check along and so do the two players behind me. The dealer asks for us to show a winner so I flip first. Being that I made the last aggresive action I abide by etique and show first. Reluctantly some muck and others show their meek holdings such as A4o and A5o. I'm amazed that I get to take down a decent sized pot with not much of a hand. The player to might right comments that I've been very patient and deserved the pot. Patience doesn't deserve dick. Each hand is unique unto itself and I'm pleased to take a nice pot that I thought I might not get.

Fast forward 20 minutes and this time I'm on the button. I look down at KJs. For those of you that know me you know that KJ is my least favorite broadway hand. Two limpers in front of me and I call on the button. The small comes along and the big checks the option. The flop comes down J-J-Q with 2 spades. The first player bets, the second calls and I make it 2 bets. The blind fold and the 2 players with money in the pot call. The case J comes on the turn and I'm sitting on the nuts. The first player bets into me and I'm dumbfounded. To further add to my delight the middle player calls and I smoothe call. The river is a meaningless card (I was hoping for a third spade in case one of them is drawing at the flush) and again the first player bets and the middle player calls. I raise knowing I can't be beat. The first player thinks for about a minute and calls. The middle player mucks and I show the goods. He shows AQo for the best house which isn't close to being good enough. I take down a monster pot and thank the poker gods for my great position and even better turn card. I gave this hand much thought and could not determine how the first player thought his hand was good. I was playing uber-tight and only pushing my hands when they were good. It goes to show that at this level table image means nothing. I'm going to use this as a lesson in that I will remain tight-aggressive and play with position whenever possible. Players at this level fail to get past the first level of thinking which is "what do I have?" Most do not give much thought to what their opponent has. This is fundamental flaw amongst these players, along with playing terrible hands out of position and not raising with good hands preflop to limit the field. Well, admittedly that rarely works at this level but I'd rather get more money in with an edge than just limp with a premium hand and allow my opponents to a chance to see a cheap flop with rags. Pushing any perceivable edge is the key to maximizing poker profits. This is especially true in low limit hold'em where opponents are getting near to the right price to draw many times with meager holdings.

The only other hand I feel I should metion comes with me in the big blind. I check my option to raise holding A6o. The flop comes down with A-8-6 with 2 spades. I check in first position, a middle player bets and another middle position player calls. I check raise forcing out the two early position players who checked. The other 2 players with money in the pot call. The turn brings a T of spades and I check. The next player bets and the other player drops out. Heads up we go the river. Another T falls and now I'm in a shitty spot. My thinking goes as follows: 1) I didn't fill up, 2) the villain may have a flush, & 3) if the villain has an A, then his 2 pair trumps mine (I have As and Ts with a 6, he has As and Ts with a better kicker. I check and fold to his river bet. I muck my A6 face up hoping to get a read on whether I was beat. He doesn't give anything away when I do so but I think the fact that he doesn't show me a bluff or a lesser hand confirms that he was good. He seemed like the kind of player that plays more for the thrill of the hunt than the satisfaction of the kill. In other words, if he got me off a better hand he would have shown it to me. I'm pretty sure I would have called a river bet if my hand had not been counterfeited. Maybe the T on the end saved me $8, maybe it cost me one last big bet. I'm almost certain he had the flush which leaves me drawing to 4 outs (2 As and 2 6s.) If I fill up I think I can gain an extra big bet on the river, so I felt I was paying $8 on the turn to make $16 on the river. That taken with the size of the pot gave me the proper implied odds to take a card off in that spot.

All in all I felt I played a great session. Most low limit players would have gotten bored or frustrated by folding pre-flop so many times and would have started playing poor hands due to lack of discipline. I believe that it's all one long session. The next hand has no memory of the hands that came before it. If I fold 50 times in a row, it has no bearing on the next hand. If I go on a rush and take down 5 pots in a row I am no more likely to take down the next one. Hand value in relation to position and other players' actions are the key to making money at this game. Today refenforced that even though I left the table a small loser. In all honesty, I felt like a winner today. Can't wait to play tomorrow.

I'm starting from scratch on my figures for this new run, leaving out the career earnings. I feel they are meaningless. I don't need to prove to you that I am a winning player throughout my lifetime. Those of you that know me know that I've posted profits from my play over the last several years. Rather, the purpose of this blog is to keep records of how I am doing in the present. If any of you have feedback on figures that I can provide that will give more perspective on my play please let me know and I will include them here. This blog is both for your entertainment and my professional progression. Let's make it a win-win.

Hours Played This Session: 6.0
Gave: $33
$ Per Hour: -$5.50

Month to Date: -$33
Year to Date: -$33
Hourly Rate Year to Date: -$5.50

No comments: