Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Worst

I could just be the worst.  I don't know....I mean, I know I'm not actually bad at poker, but lately it feels like I've just been making these awful mistakes hand in and hand out.  My decision making machinery just breaks down and I do something borderline idiotic and then I end up stressing out and berating myself over it for the rest of the session (or day or week) and it's just bad news.  I thought I was going to write a big long post about it but I just don't have the energy right now, mainly because I played 1/2 for 13.5 hours straight yesterday.  It was a grueling session, and honestly the game wasn't even that good until the very end (at which point it had become amazing, but the hour grew late and I swore I wasn't going to over night ever again and I managed to walk out of the casino at midnight).  We lit up the reason for playing like a Christmas tree, which I guess was good, but I just played so bad for so much of the session.  I made bad peels, which often turned into bad call downs.  I made bad folds (on every street).  I attempted silly bluffs.  It's as if I just wasn't thinking, you know?  Anyway, I took half the day off today to catch up on life, and am hoping to be re-energized for the rest of the week.  A single hand to demonstrate why I could be the worst.

A tagfish opens up front and the spot calls the SB.  I just call in the big blind with KQo, mainly because I feel the tagfish's EP range is tight enough that I am not missing much, if any, value by not three betting.  Also my hand should be easier to play without initiative, since my read on her is that she'll bet every single flop vs the two of us.  So we see a board:


And I begin to play horribly.  The SB checks, I check, she bets, the sb calls and I...just call.  This is probably fine, but notice how small I've let the pot get.  I have KQo, one of my opponents has literally an almost random (or perhaps even weaker) hand, and I have flopped a pretty reasonable board.  Yet we are taking a turn 3 ways and there are only 4.5 bets in the pot.


Total brick, changes absolutely nothing.  The  spot checks and I...check.  Don't get me wrong, that's almost certainly correct, except that my read on her range and betting tendencies here is the following....The only hand I beat is KJo, and she will check back QQ or weaker.  Now I don't know if this read was correct, but it's the one I had, and therefore I probably needed to fire the old turn donk at her.  Assuming she is pair heavy preflop (and I think she has everything down to like 55, so that's 42 combos of pocket pairs that I beat, that she'd have fired once, that I think will check back now) letting this turn check through (when I have the sb destroyed) is horrendous.  But donking never even occurred to me.  For some reason I was in "gee how will I lose this hand" mode and when she bet and the spot called I...folded.  I literally folded my hand.  It's preposterous, isn't it?  I mean sure if my read is correct it's somewhat close.  If I only ever beat the KJ AND the spot pretty much always has a naked Q or J (which hurts my equity really badly when she has something like A9s) then the fold is almost defensible.  Almost.  It's still bad, but not crazy bad.  But that's the thing, your read is never perfect in a spot like this.  I don't have tons of hours with her, and she's a high stakes tagfish who does unpredictable things.  What if she does fire the QQ and JJ here?  Or the 44.  What if she has the K9s on the preflop?  What about 87hh?  These are the things I forgot about (or more accurately dismissed as impossible instead of simply discounting) and therefore when the river came the old Jack ball and it checked through and her K9cc dragged the pot I was just sick to my stomach.  I had let the pot get pretty small, and once that happened I started looking for ways OUT of the hand instead of how I could win it.  LHE is all about being optimistic (NLHE is about being pessimistic, I think, at least once the money is in), and I simply failed this hand plain and simply.

There have been others.  I laid down AA on the turn for two bets and was wrong.  I made some horrible peels and call downs when I simply didn't have the equity to continue.  I just haven't, I suppose. 


armor said...

I wouldn't be excited to check raise the flop. Neither to donk the turn. Yeah, probably I would have peeled the turn but not be happy about it, too. And I would have folded river UI if the "tagfish" tagfish fired again. Also, I have to admit that I would have played this hand differently at 80-160 or 1/2 (which I don't play anyway) than I would at 40-80. But this last one is really bad.

Pid Koker said...

If taking time off is out of the question, maybe it would behoove you to post two hands you play from every session: one hand you thought you played well and one hand you thought you didn't play well (or maybe even where you got into a tough situation). This might be a good opportunity to get some feedback/keep sharp or to get some verbal reinforcement that you are making good decisions and maybe are just running under expectation.

Anonymous said...

Hey I like your blog... I play alot of 20/40 LHE at commerce, I wonder if i've ever played agaisnt you, but I don't know what you look like... anyways just wanted to tell ya I enjoy reading your blog,,, take it easy

Jesse Smithnosky said...

Yeah Armor you're spot on in one regard here, and that's the I can play the river PERFECTLY against her. I've realized recently that I haven't been putting enough thought into how the rest of the hands will play out when making early street decisions. And obviously those are super important. Like if my read on her is "she'll have a balanced range on the river and extract a good bit of value from you while bluffing enough that you'll need to call off another bet on bricks" then my fold again becomes less horrendous. But that's not the read; the read is that if she bets the river 3 ways in this spot I have the easiest fold ever.

It's super important to think about stuff like that, and it's super obvious to see why. Against players who don't bet the turn enough HUHU you can can peel the flop super light. Against players who don't value bet the river enough you need to donk when you connect on an obvious draw. It's just easy and important and an area in which I need to improve, vastly.