Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Week Summary

Two More Sessions

I played 4.5 hours Friday morning at Garden City and posted a small loser. The games were not as good as usual, and that is probably because I clocked in at 10am. I'll keep this in mind.

After going out with friends in the evening, I played some late night poker at Artichoke Joe's on the way back from San Francisco. This was a bad idea, not because I played poorly (I did not), but because I stayed up too late and ended up feeling like crap the next day. I remedied the situation by sleeping until almost 2pm.

Yesterday (the first day of week 2), I played for 5 hours at Garden City. My session was cut short because of the aforementioned feeling like crap and not getting started until almost 5pm. I did manage to win over a rack of chips at the 20/40 game after my customary loss at 8/16 while waiting for a game.

First Week Totals

My first week "as a professional" ended late Friday night. The results so far are quite promising; I manged to play 42.25 hours of live 20/40 and was on a sick heater most of the time. I also played a some 6/12 and 8/16 while waiting for seats, and played a bit of 15/30 at Artichoke Joe's on Friday night. I finished the week up 4288, and even had a 3000 dollar down swing stuck in the middle. The astute reader will note that I basically broke even after my first two sessions, a phenomenon that is fairly common in this game; grind, grind, grind, grind, huge win, grind, grind, grind.

What Did I Learn So Far?

There are a couple of things I need to work on if I'm going to make this stick. Some are technical points, while others are of a "softer" variety.

1. I give too much action with hands that obviously can't win. For example, last night I raised AKo from the blinds and bet/3-bet a flop of KQJ. What exactly am I hoping to accomplish with putting in that last raise? My goose has been cooked and I obviously need to improve to win. I also have a hard time laying down over-pairs on the river that are obviously beat. If I can save a few bets in these situations my win-rate would increase substantially. However, I need to make sure I'm doing it in the right spots, as laying down even one winner in a large pot would be a catastrophe.

2. Project a less serious image. I like to talk about and analyze hands, and forcing myself not to do so at the table is a constant battle. I'm doing the best I can, but I need to do better. Yesterday I caught myself telling a man that I'd have gotten him to fold his pocket 7s on a board of TQ8-4-2 had their not been a 3rd player in the pot (I had KJ for an open ended straight draw). Me saying this is lunacy; I should never offer this sort of information. It's better for your opponents to, as much as possible, think you're just there to gamble with them and are not giving any thought to the way in which you're flinging chips into the pot.

3. Control tilt. I went on tilt once this week and coincidentally it was during my biggest downer. I must get better at recognizing when tilt is creeping in and either overcoming it or quitting my game.

4. Post more hands. After I play a hand I convince myself that I either played it right or made a mistake. Instead of doing this I should write down the hand and post it on Two Plus Two. That's the only way I'm going to get better.

5. Post on Two Plus Two more. I realized that the main reason I was posting so much before was that I was at work and would rather post than code. Now I don't have the 8 hours of drudgery every day and am finding myself doing more fun things (like playing poker, watching movies, exercising, or writing my blog) instead of spending time reading, discussing, and learning.

One Fun Hand

I had just moved to a new table and had posted my big blind behind the button (new players must "post in", and it is customary to do it either as your natural big blind or in the position right behind the button). Garden City and Bay 101 also allow you to post between the button and small blind, which is what I usually do and therefore am not as comfortable with playing having posted behind. It folds to a player I don't know from Adam two positions in front of me who open raises. The next player folds and I look down to find T7 offsuite. This hand is pretty terrible, but folding is basically out of the question; I have position and it's only going to cost me 1 bet to see the flop. Then I remember something; if you're going to play in this situation, it's better to raise and hopefully limit the field to heads up and create dead money from the blinds. So I raise. Then the small blind makes it 4 bets for a cap, and the original raiser and myself sheepishly call. The small blind doesn't look like the kind of player who would cap light, so I'm thinking he has exactly QQ, KK, AA or AK (but most likely KK or AA).

The small blind does not disappoint me and smoke bets the flop as the cards come out. This means he has AA or KK. The player between us calls and then I look at the flop; 874r. I now look at the pot; 14 small bets. I call, because I have a pair and two of those will win this sucker.

The small blind smokes the turn, which is a 9, for a board of 874-9 and still not a flush draw in sight. I would now offer 10:1 odds that he has KK or AA, and 15:1 if you'd let me include QQ. This time the player between folds, and I check the pot; 8.5 big bets. I hollywood for a bit, knowing full well this is a turbo-call (I have a pair and an open-ended straight draw), for a whopping 13 outs (nearly 1/3rd of the deck). I call and the small blind smokes the river....


That'll do pig, that'll do. I raise him in rhythm and am astonished when he folds KK face up (not that he turned it face up...that he folded it). I make a note that this man can be bluff-raised in huge pots and drag the chips. Welcome to the table, sir!

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