Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Fine Line

First off, muy thanks to DuggleBogey for the awesome banner. Finally, one step towards making this blog look the opposite of retarded.

Many players never learn the lesson of humility before it’s too late and they tilt away their bankrolls. They whine mercilessly about the beats they’ve received on the real and virtual felt. I certainly am not immune to crying about my luck in tourneys. There’s a reason why I try to shy away from playing in tournaments, and most of it has to do with the mental aspect. I can handle losing $100-$200 in a cash game due to a beat, but “suckout” on me during a $1 PokerStars tourney and I’ll go postal. To a point, I can handle losing a coin flip or having another hand dominated, and losing to a runner-runner but its tough during a tourney. My immediate cop out is “I just didn’t get lucky”, and what is in the back of my head is “what a fuckin idiot for playing those crappy cards, in that position, with that chip stack, on that board”.

Is it really productive to be thinking that? You can’t “run them twice”. If you’re in a freezeout tourney and the luckbox had more chips then you, you can’t re-enter. You can’t go back to fifth grade and tell that chick that you teased with the bowl cut and bad teeth that grew up to be a Victoria Secrets catalog cover-girl that she’s really hot and you’d worship the ground she walks on till she finally blossoms into that goddess sporting the 38DD rack. Nor will anything you say or type change the fact that your cards plus the board cards (if you’re playing a game with board cards), do not have a higher ranking hand then your opponent. Do not pass Go, Do not collect the pot, go straight to tilt jail and hopefully you won’t get cornholed by the predators watching your every move hoping to capitalize on the fact your guards are down and your virgin ass is exposed for a pummeling last seen in a Jenna Jamison double feature.

Why did you get put on tilt in the first place? Because the results of the game did not go in your favor via “suckout” or because you’re the better player thus SHOULD win?

There’s the rub.

If you’re reading this trash of a blog, you’re probably a competent poker player, read your Sklansky or Ray-Zee (if you roll like that), you may be profitable, you can fold sOOted cards… at least half the time, and you wish that Lindsay Lohan would put on a little weight so she’d be hot again.

But do you think you should win solely based on your skill level versus your opponent’s level? Granted over time, your skill will net you more wins then losses (if you're a "good" player) but poker isn’t Madden’s 2006 where you can stimulate an entire season based upon your team’s strengths and weakness vs. the computer’s variables. You and I are playing today, not tomorrow, not last week, not next year, we’re playing now. In the present you may have just won 25 straight hands where you were an underdog and now think that you’re God’s gift to poker because poker is all about the money scoreboard, right? Bigger bankroll, higher limits, ego the size of the Gobi desert, penis size that would make Ron Jeremy go out to buy a double supply of MaxiPro. You got it all, the knowledge, the panache, and greenbacks. How could you ever lose to that idiot? Doesn’t he/she know that you should have won based on pot odds, pre-flop (or first three/five cards dealt in Stud) to-win percentages, and Orion’s Belt aligning with Saturn and Neptune to favor you?

Poker is random; it always will be random, just like any card game. As stated above, there is no replay function at a card table. All results are final, no rainchecks accepted, wagers cannot be reversed once purchased, buy at your own risk. So, the next time someone makes a “bad play” at your table, before you pass judgment upon that person, take a step back and replay the hand in your head and think about ALL of the constraints. Stack size, position, aggressive or passive table, what have you shown down when you raised, how many hands has he/she won recently, the limit of the table, the apparent skill level of players at the table, did he/she try the veal, etc…?

After looking back at the hand you might say “hey, if I was in his/her position I might have done the same thing” or “that play made no sense what so ever” and adapt to their skill level. At that point the heavens will sing your favorite Monster Ballad and you might be one step closer to improving your game.

Thanks for dropping by, now go forth, win lots of monies, and have plenty of Marshmallow Peep Sex on Full Tilt!

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