Wednesday, March 08, 2006

When Is It My Turn?

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

-- Confucius (Chinese Philosopher) 551-479 B.C.

When is it my turn?

If you don’t ask this question of yourself while playing poker, you probably a) just won a MTT or had a “decent” cash b) are a cash game player who’s “running hot”, or c) too new to poker to realize the variance swings because your skill is like super-awesome and you never lose.

When is my turn for a positive result?

Do I need to sacrifice some KEM cards while quoting Super System 2 around a bonfire made from burning PartyPoker hats? Do I need to embrace my inner donkey and “go for the suckout”?

Something needs to be scraped from my current “game plan” while playing tourneys. It seems as though I get a whiff of that big cash, much like walking by a Krispy Kreme as they’re making fresh donuts, only to have the doughy, sprinkly goodness swiped away by the pregnant wife at the last moment leaving me a single sprinkle on my finger and wanting more then ever.

What’s the game plan?

Read more books? I know I should, but reading more books doesn’t change those two outers hitting at critical times during a tourney. Realizing the gambling part of poker has been my greatest struggle lately. Knowing that I’m only “putting my money in with the best of it” doesn’t equate to “I’m going to win”. This has been the toughest lesson to grasp, and many poker players never grasp it, choosing to cop-out (I’m guilty of this) by berating the player who hit his 4% chance on the river.

So you just lost due to a “tough beat”, were you ok with putting your money in the middle? Was there someway you could have profited from your play but avoided the showdown that didn’t favor you?

Case in point: JJ in the BB with a little bit below par stack 16 from the money in a PokerStars 180-person SnG, you’ve been raised by a big stack 5XBB in MP that has tried to bully the table, he was called by another MP player that has shoved his stack in with two poor hands yet came out ahead, he also has engaged in a flame war for the past 15 minutes after one such “suckout” and has you covered, the rest of the table folds to you. Your play?

Fold, Call, or Shove?

Folding leaves you with roughly 9 BBs and you would be the short stack of the tourney and BobbyBracelet will call you a PUSSY for the remainder of Lent.

Calling leaves you with 5BBs and zero fold-equity should you try a give-and-go. Folding after the flop doesn’t seem plausible for a run at 1st place. Maybe for squeaking into the money if that’s your destination should the flop seem unfavorable. But scrapping along for the next hour to do so, doesn’t seem like good strategy. I’m probably wrong about this.

Shoving at least makes the big stack think about calling since its more then 1/3rd of his stack despite getting fairly good odds to call for a coin-flip, and if the other MP has a strong ace (since he did not shove I could not put him on AA, KK, or QQ) you’ve eliminated an out for both of them. Plus you get maximum value on your chips should both MP players call.

Motivational poster from Al and Gracie for our resident poker experts we play against on the $2/$4 tables. Too bad they don't have their "wins" etched on their hats like the goofballs I ran into a month ago in the bar tourneys at Alleygators in Maple Grove.

Tomorrow I’ll turn over their cards and post the results. I appreciate any and all comments/suggestions because this is the one part of playing tournaments that I get stuck on and could some help.

Thanks for dropping by, now check out this article about the blogosphere helping out the world’s largest retailer… but Wal-Mart being stingy enough to not comp the bloggers airfare to attend a “media conference” to benefit their company (last few sentences).

I akin this to buying tickets to a rock concert then being forced to go on stage and play the instruments yourself while the cover band sits off to the side with their 10 pound brick of Columbian white and case of Jack Daniels nodding to your Midwestern accented replay of “Sweet Home Alabama”. Business like in poker… you need to spend money to make money, then again they ARE a $300 Billion dollar company for a reason and I’m a little cube monkey who check-raises douchebags on $100 and $200 PLO8 tables.

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