Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Play The Hand You've Been Dealt

Goddamn it Blogger and Word are fucking up my world. Nice to know the two programs get to pick and choose which paragraphs to cut and paste. Awesome! So, please forgive my worst then usual crap-tastic post today.

I had a nice lead in seguing the current UEFA Championship and my horrid soccer career that thankfully ended in the 4th grade. Mumble something about ending up playing baseball due to my lanky arms and bad knees that couldn't take the punishment of getting tackled (but it was oddly ok to play hockey for 13 years).

Say you've heard that SnGs can be CRUSHERED but you're usually a ring game player. You read about the easy competition on (insert a poker room here), you see the exploits of SnG masters like PokerNerd, Mourn, or Wes. They constantly crank out profitable “sets” of SnGs with excellent skill, overcoming that variance bitch in the long run with superior play over and over. I’m sure everyone by now has played in some SnGs and has read about optimal strategy in playing them and maybe found a bit of success. But, over time you look back at your PokerTracker stats and see a bright blood stain of numbers and curse all those suckouts and occasional bad plays by yourself. So, you crash the 2+2 forums, re-read Harrington like its Jessica Alba nude in Playboy (NICE PURCHASE DP!!), and read all the poker blog primers about SnG play… and still come away emptier then a SoCo bottle at the Boathouse after BigMike and Al show up.

Now what?

Do you drudge on? Are you fighting the quicksand? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Be honest about your play, and your bankroll (and love for the game) will thank you for it.

It’s a simple thing really; find the game/structure/blinds that you are comfortable playing at (with the exception of “taking shots” at higher levels). These are my tournament stats at PokerStars, as you can clearly see I am not a tournament player. Granted I do cash once in a while, but more often then not, I’m on this blog whining about some short bus riding, exhaust pipe sniffing, helmet wearing donkey sucking out on my dominating hand. Only on a very rare occasion will you hear me bitch about a PLO8 ring game hand. Why? Isn’t losing a stack in a ring game much more costly then losing a tournament buy in? Generally yes its more money, but less of a psychological burden since you can buy back in a start playing again, not unlike the phoenix rising from the ashes. Good tournament players are able to get pass that mind block of losing while “putting the chips in while ahead”. They are ok with not cashing in a dozen or more tournaments, knowing that eventually variance will unlatch her lace Victoria Secret's number, slide down her fishnet stockings (and not get the urge to go to Arby's), and bend over at the final table to receive your huge junk.

I don’t have that mind set nor the huge junk.

Rather then wasting buy-in after buy-in at tournaments, (except at times like last night when I needed some fun and entered in a couple of SnGs) I stick with what works for me and my abilities (or lack thereof). My lanky arms and patience to wait out the overly aggressive players (or pick off their bluffs with a rare bluff of my own) fit better in the ring game setting then SnGs or MTTs. Much like finding a relationship with the opposite (or same-sex, not that there’s anything wrong with that) you need to find how your intelligence, wants/needs, and beliefs match up with your potential spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, one night stand, lab partner… you need to do the same with your poker game and match up your aggression level, psychological fortitude, knowledge of the game, and your bankroll to the game that will yield the greatest amount of profit.

Thanks for dropping by, now head over to the ACHE and help pick out a name for BigMike’s 40th birthday bash. I know you can do much better then my pathetic dribble.

And if you're in Minnesota and listening to K102, my brother was busy last night setting up for the St. Jude's telethon that's going on at the Mall of America. Say hi to Eric the Engineer if you call in for this very worth-while charity.

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