Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Same Horse, New Saddle

Last night, I finally made the jump to Poker Stars. I had an account with them for a while but never used it. I haven't played poker for almost two months. Mostly I couldn't afford to, and having a broken computer made sure I didn't play. But I finally got my computer working, and with such a stressful day at work, I needed something to relax. I was excited to be able to play poker, and although I couldn't really afford to play, I knew that it would be worth the $50 deposit to get rid of that itch to play again.

I started off with $11 SNGs and proceeded to finish 6th in EVERY single one. I lost the first one when I had AA vs KJ. The chips went all in on a KQT board, he made the straight on the turn, and just extra fun, trips on the river.

Not all of the losses were due to bad beats. In some cases I was just card dead. I only had two big pairs the whole night - AA and TT. Twice I had AQ or AJ, and of those 4 times I only paired the board once. Any time I had a small pocket pair I was either in early position and\or missed the flop.

Furthermore, anytime I had a big hand I couldn't get any action. I flopped the 2nd nut flush, but it was just a battle of the blinds against a shortstack who didn't hit the flop. I floated a gutshot straight which I made on the turn but only took down a small pot. Most of the pots I won were just the blinds.

When I would make a hand, I played it soft and ended up losing to a suckout. On one hand, 5 players limped in to me on the BB and I check with K2o. The flop is a wonderful 822. We check it to the turn, a 7. No flush draws and only a straight draw, it checks to the button who min bets. I call, and we see the river, a J. I didn't really think about the straight at this point, so when he bets 250, I reraise to 600. At best I put him on two pair. Instead he hit made his OES. The reraise was a bad idea, as the outcome shows, but I'm not sure if it I could have played this hand differently. Should I have reraised the turn? I dunno.

Another suckout occurred when it was checked to me in the SB with A7o. I competed the blind, and the flop comes 2JA. I check the flop, as does everyone else. The turn comes a beautiful 7. I probably should have bet here, but instead I check, and it goes to the river. The river is another 2. I bet and it folds to the button, who min raises. Could he be playing the hammer? If you're gonna play the hammer, why limp in from the button with it? He could have A2, but for 100 more, I'm not going to fold. He shows 23o. Who limps from the button with 23o? Apparently, people who like to suckout on me.

One thing that really surprised me, and I don't know if this is the case with Poker Stars players, but a lot of players played their big pairs really soft. On at least two occasions, maybe three, I saw players limping in with AA. KK and QQ were only min raised preflop, regardless of position. TT was limped in as well.

All in all, last night's failure was equal parts bad luck and bad play. It was obvious that I was A) pretty rusty from the layoff and B) was playing too passive and loose, which is a recipe for disaster. But last night wasn't really about finding success again as it was more about getting back into the flow. I'll probably play once more before the year ends, then I'll figure out a game plan for 2007.


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