Monday, March 26, 2007

If I'm an NBA team then my coach just called time out.

My last entry says it all.

I wasn't focused on playing poker.

I was on my phone text messaging.

I was playing around with the dealer.

I don't think I really wanted to be at the table.

Usually when these tourneys are over I have a boring bad beat story to share. But when I got knocked out on Saturday it wasn't because of because of any bad luck.

It was because of poor play.

You want excuses?

I was tired. I only had 3 hours sleep the day before.

I was hungry. I hadn't eaten all day. Just caffeine.

I wasn't focused on giving my full attention to the table.

But these aren't good reasons. If I'm not feeling my best then I have no business buying in.

The tournament structure was great. A pleasure to work with. 7500 chips and 40 minute blind levels. They also didn't skip levels like most of these tournaments these days.

I was up to 10500 at the first break. I was in charge of my table. Then I got moved twice in the next hour. At my new table I was suddenly a small stack even though I still had plenty of chips in terms of the average stack. But this table was full of big stacks and apparently I didn't feel comfortable switching gears and playing like a small stack.

Even though the blinds were small. Even though I could have folded for hours.

My tournament basically turned into a comedy of errors with me always one step behind.

My first mistake was calling a preflop raise with a mediocre hand when I should have just folded.

So to make up for this, I folded a pocket pair preflop to a small raise and watched in horror when my set hit on the flop and both players moved all in. I could have tripled up. There was no good reason to fold preflop. But I really think my folding was me somehow trying to make up for not folding the previous hand.

Clearly I wasn't in the moment.

An orbit or two later I hit top pair (holding king 5 in the big blind) and check the flop. (First mistake). So a big stack who limped in preflop now bets and I call. (Second mistake). I need to reraise here. I need to find out if my kings are good. I need to make this person pay if they're drawing. My calling accomplishes none of this. And I know it.

If you forced me to give you a reason for calling here the best I can come up with is that I was scared of their huge stack and didn't want to go out of the tourney with top pair lousy kicker. But I can't have it both ways. If I think my king 5 is no good (ie big stack holds king queen) then I should fold. And if I think it might be the best hand I should raise. But to call is to play losing poker.

"How terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that's wise."
-Louis Cyphre

I've now drifted below average for chips. However the blinds are still small. We're only at 100/200 with 25 ante so if I show patience I can still fold for hours and wait for a good spot.

But as per the theme of my day I'm still on the last hand. So of course I find myself soon after with top pair. And this time you know I'm gonna raise. Because I didn't last time. I'm ignoring the fact that my opponent raised preflop. (Previously when I didn't raise with my top pair they had just limped in). And of course they show me a big hand.

At least I finally get to go home.

In psychology they say that we fear the thing that has already happened.

And today I proved it.

I suppose the silver lining here is that I can recognize poor play.

Playing bad poker and knowing that you're playing bad poker has to be better than playing bad poker and thinking you're good.

Where does this all leave me?

I think it's time to take a little poker break.

To come back in a week.

I may not be tan.

But I'll be rested and ready.

5 comments:

dave said...

To quote Marv Albert, "Cohen wants to talk it over"...

Keep the chin up Rob. Shit happens. People go through lulls. You are still the standard bearer of all the poker players we know. Uneasy is the head that bears the crown.

Check Raise Chin said...

Taking a break seems like a smart move Rob.

Just play your game and try not to over think everything.

I'm not sure if this helps but sometimes when playing at a high level such as yourself, you can lose the fact that playing solid poker 101 in most cases is the best way to play.

Poker is like anything else in life, you gotta have fun playing poker (win or lose) or else it becomes a grind and that ain't no fun. Which seems to me that's what you're going through.

Go out in the desert and take some peyote or something...it worked for Jim Morrison...it just might work for you....lol.

Keep up the good work Rob!

dave said...

"It worked for Jim Morrison"?

Check Raise Chin said...

yeah you're right maybe that was a bad example....but he did write some great songs while he was tripping if that helps any....

on a side note...when am I gonna get a piece of you again Dave???

Darren said...

i'm sick of this positive response blog.
call out rob for who he is.