Friday, July 27, 2007


After yesterday's post, my girlfriend asked me what "runner-runner" meant. I explained to her, using the KK vs 66 hand as an example. Top set loses when the underdog catches the exact turn & river cards he needs to win. Apparently, the poker gods didn't think that a verbal explanation was enough.

Heads up, $5 SNG, blinds are 80-160, I've got a 3200 chiplead, and the other guy minraises to 320. He's been doing this a lot with mediocre hands, and I've reraised him several times. More often than not, he folds. This time, I'm sitting on 25o, a veritable monster, so I elect to call.

Flop is 43A rainbow. The motherfuckin nuts. I check to induce a bet. He overbets the pot for 1100ish. It's an unusual bet - he hasn't bet that strongly before, and with any possible made hands, that's not that scary of a flop. Instead of going for the smooth call, I push. He's got about 2k or so behind him, so he can definitely fold, but I get the impression that he doesn't want to. As expected, he calls.

With Q4o. Much worse than I thought. All in with middle pair with no other draws. This is why I love these stakes.

Turn is an A. River is a 4.

Poker just makes me laugh sometimes.

Today's entry is the last part of my 5-post series, and it's about attitude. To me, one's attitude is the combination of many factors. Confidence. Perception. Expectation. Comfortability. Sensibility. And more. Having the right attitude is essential because the wrong attitude will cause one not play optimally. All these other things I've talked about - Patience, Aggressiveness, Focus, and Dedication, don't work unless you have the right attitude.

No discussion about attitude is complete without talking about being on tilt. For the most part, I stay off tilt. Getting coolered, runner-runnered or just outdrawn, I've played enough hands where I can say that I've suffered every possible bad beat imaginable. The overpair loses to an ace on the river. A flopped straight loses to a flush. Two pair gets counterfeited. Nut flush loses to straight flush. I know this is all part of poker and I've come to accept it.

I have noticed a tendency to go on tilt more recently though, and it's due to a couple of things.

Higher expectations: I concentrate so much on wanting to win that I don't focus on always doing what it takes to get there. What I mean by this is I get so caught up thinking about the victory that, as I get closer to it, I get more excited about it. So, when I suffer a beat that knocks me down, I get more aggravated than I used to, and I start playing with the wrong attitude. This only applies to games where the victory is somewhat meaningful, like in a MTT or a blogger game.

Reduced bankroll: Should I go busto, I probably won't be able to deposit for a couple of months. So any loss is damaging to my bankroll. If I lose a couple, I do one of two things. One, I get upset and start messing with my game, trying to correct what I perceive to be errors in my play without actually analyzing me game. Or two, I increase the stakes and try to go for the quick fix, hoping that I'll cash in a couple and get back on track.

Going into this challenge, I truly believe that I have the right attitude to make this work. I'm not going to fret if I lose a handful of games in a row, and I'm not going to start doing crazy things if I'm not seeing the results that I want. I am absolutely confident that I have the skills to make this thing work, and if I find something that's not working, I'll try my damndest to fix it. There's no timetable on when this thing ends - however long it takes me to get to $2k, it is what it is. I've played enough SNGs in my life, at all of the stakes I plan to play at, that I believe it's absolutely possible for me to continue to build my bankroll at these games.

So that's it. The 5 things I need. Patience. Aggressiveness. Focus. Dedication. Attitude. You might have notice that I didn't include anything specific to poker, like improving my short-handed game, or reading betting sizes & patterns, or resteals. I know that I always have more to learn when it comes to poker theory & strategy, but I do have enough confidence in my skills that I don't really think that my poker skills are the big problem. It's the application of those skills that get me into trouble, and it's the five aforementioned characteristics that I need to work on.

I'll end this post by publicly addressing Alan's comment on my last post. Alan called me out, questioning how serious I was about poker. (Note: Alan, I did not take this negatively by any means, so when I say that "you called me out", I don't mean that as the hostile statement that it sounds like.) I responded that, admittedly, I've never really taken poker seriously. I've gotten by on whatever skills I've picked up through 3 years of practice. Most of the poker literature I've read has been through other people's blogs. I've made adjustments to my game, but I've never compared statistics of any of my hands. I've never even kept records on my bankroll. The main reason I've never been serious about my poker game is because I've never set any kind of goal before. All I've really done to this point is deposit & redeposit when I can, cash out when I'm happy with what I've made, and played poker more or less for recreational purposes. This challenge is also a bit recreational; it takes up a lot of my free time and it's something I particularly enjoy. However, the main purpose of this challenge is not to have fun. It's to do something that I've yet to do in the three years I've considered poker a hobby; to accomplish something meaningful.

So when I say that I'm at a 6 on the seriousness scale, working towards a 7, IMO that's a good thing. As I continue to work on my game and incorporate many of those things that you (and I) have mentioned, I'll move even further up that scale. Mentally, I'm somewhere near a 9, but we know that actions speak louder than words, and until I start doing those extracurriculars, to say that I'm taking poker as seriously as I can would be a lie. But it is also something that I intend to change, starting with this challenge.

I might try to hit the virtual felt something this weekend, but it looks like it's going to be a pretty good weekend in Seattle, weather-wise, so I'm going to try to spend most of my time away from the computer. Good luck to all this weekend, and thanks for reading.


At July 27, 2007 at 8:47 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

It's all good. I did call you out. :)

Dude, I actually really enjoyed this 5 part series and I agree. Sometimes, the fundamentals (the 5 you mentioned) have to be set right before you can talk about poker theory and what to improve there. And all of them ties together. I hope you will go back and read some of what you wrote whenever you are down. I would think this could be a nice pick-me-up even for you when the cards aren't going your way.

Good luck on the challenge man.

Btw, runner runner sucks.


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