Friday, March 23, 2007


The day after I announce my most recent attempt to abstain from online poker, Fuel55 goes and posts this. Fuel's blog was one of the first blogs I started reading and continues to be one of the few blogs I read on a daily basis because of posts like this.

The fact is I am only an average poker player, but with the potential for more. I've yet to reach my potential because I have not made the effort to improve my game. There are serious holes in my game that prevent me from being a winning player, holes that I even know about, yet I chose to ignore them. He's right when he says the quote hits the nail on the head - the opportunity for me to become a better poker player is right there in front of me, but yet I don't take it. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I'm not putting myself in the right mind frame to do so.

My mind frame right now is not of a poker player, it's of a gambler who likes to play poker. In clear cut situations, I'm making the right decisions. It's the marginal situations that I'm putting myself in that are limiting me as a poker player. Let me present an example from an $11k guaranteed tournament I played the other day:

526 runners, and with about 188 to go, I was sitting in 26th place. I was able to triple up early when I hit back to back AA. The first time I took the blinds, the second I raised it in the BB against 5 preflop limpers to 6xBB. I get four callers. Flop comes 862, two diamonds. I bet half the pot, EP pushes. MP calls, and I call. Up against JJ and A2s (wtf?) I take down the pot.

My other big hand is when when I limp with A7c. Flop comes 99T, checks all around. Turn is an A, MP bets 2\3rds, and I reraise to take down the pot. This tops me off at around T6200.

Sitting in the SB against an EP limper, I call with KJo. Flop comes JT3 and I bet the pot - 240. The limper raises to 560, and right here is where I make my mistake. I put him on the following hands: AJ, KJ, QJ, JT, 33. I can only beat one of those hands. I narrow it down to JT. I think AJ would have raised preflop, QJ wouldn't raise post-flop, and it just doesn't feel like 33. So I'm either spliting the pot or I'm drawing to 3 outs. Yet I still call his flop raise. And his turn bet. And his river bet, all just to see that he, in fact, has JT. I lose half my stack.

Why did I do this? Because in my head, I told myself "what if a K comes?" I wasn't playing poker, I was gambling in the form of poker. This isn't just beating myself up over one mistake, this is one event in a history of many that symbolizes where I am at, mentally, with poker. I know that I can make the right play, yet I choose not to because I am thinking more about the big score at the end then I am about making the right plays it takes to get there.

In order to put myself in the right mind frame, I need to take a break from this. My progress as a poker player has plateaued over the last several months. Instead of trying to improve, I've tried to rely on the poker skills I have now to be successful, and that isn't working. Plus, I am not analyzing the game well enough. I'm constantly putting my opponents on donkey plays and calling with less than optimal hands when I should be focusing on my Furthermore, I do not have the patience right now to crank it out at the low limit games in order to build my bankroll.

I need a break. A fresh start. Clear my mind.

Once I get finished with my current bankroll, I'm stepping away from both online and B&M poker for 3 months. I'll limit myself to home games, and that's it.

Speaking of my current bankroll, last night was a mild success. I played 4 $6.60 SNGs for the $26 tokens, taking down two of them. In addition, I offest the cost of playing those by clearing some of my bonus at the cash table, and picked up a little bit more money. My total for last night - $16 spent, two $26 tokens. Not a bad night. Now let's hope that I can turn those tokens into something bigger.


At March 23, 2007 at 11:49 AM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

Introspection is a great thing and is the reason I post things like I did today.


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