Attitude in poker
I’ve said before that I think one of my biggest strengths is that I don’t tilt. Sometimes when I tell people this they don’t understand what it really means. It doesn’t mean that bad beats aren’t aggravating or that I never curse at showdown to myself. It just means that the results of one hand don’t carry over to my play of the next one. This was literally the first hand I played tonight:
PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (8 handed)
Preflop: Hero is BB with , . MP1 posts a blind of $15.
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 (poster) checks, 3 folds, SB completes, Hero raises, UTG 3-bets, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, SB calls, Hero caps, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, SB calls.
Capped five ways with KK. This is like the old microlimit days. UTG did limp-raise, but he’s pretty lame — could be a wide range.
Flop: (20 SB) , , (5 players)
SB checks, Hero bets, UTG raises, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, SB folds, Hero 3-bets, UTG caps, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, Hero calls.
Top set! Bingo time! I lead and the damn UTG raises, suggesting AK or AA now. I’m a bit bummed because this should thin the field. To my astonishment, 4 of the 5 call four bets.
Turn: (18 BB) (4 players)
Hero bets, UTG raises, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, Hero 3-bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls.
The Ace isn’t ideal. If UTG was on AA, he passed me. However, it could be AK so I gotta test him. When he doesn’t cap, I’m pretty sure I’m still good.
River: (30 BB) (4 players)
Hero bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 raises, MP1 calls, Hero calls, UTG calls $9 (All-In).
I’m hoping that the backdoor flush didn’t hit, but when I get raised that pretty much means ut did. I’m pretty sure I’m dead, but I can’t fold in a 36 bet pot.
Now check out the hands and reflect on the action.
Final Pot: 37.30 BB
Hero has (three of a kind, kings).
UTG has (one pair, aces).
UTG+1 has (flush, ace high).
MP1 has (OMFG!).
Outcome: UTG+1 wins 37.30 BB.
The eventual winner of the pot called four bets on the flop with second pair in a pot where clearly that was no good. Two pair wasn’t good either. Trips wasn’t good either. His only outs were to runner-runner flush. So he hit them. UTG actually played OK, he has a gutshot and the nut flush draw on the flop, so I’d jam there too. He maybe shouldn’t raise the turn, but no real quibble there. MP1 was quite optimistic there. Maybe AT is good for two more on the river there.
Now I was unhappy that I dropped 9 big bets instead of winning 28 on a bad beat, but it didn’t change my approach to the next hand. I just shrugged and kept playing my game. An hour or two later, I hit a suckout against a regular. It was a pretty standard hand for me, I defended my blind with QT, check-raised a JTx flop, he three bet with KK. I check-called the turn and check-raised the river when I hit another T. He ranted in the chat box and began to tilt off money right and left. Whenever I raised, he tried to get in the pot. He three bet me super-light and raised every hand I limped. Needless to say, this approach of trying to play every pot he could with his “enemy” didn’t turn out well for him. I didn’t get all his money, but he gave it all up to someone at the table. This kind of emotional response will kill you. I know a number of good players who turn into bad players when they are tilting. Don’t let it happen to you.
Here’s one more hand. This is one where you sometimes take a chance that defies the odds.
PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (10 handed)
Preflop: Hero is Button with , .
7 folds, Button raises, SB 3-bets, 1 fold, Hero calls.
I’ll admit that Jackson Five is a bit loose to be blind stealing with, but I felt like I was really being allowed to run over the table, so I was going to keep pushing until they fought back. The SB had apparently had enough. He probably had a decent hand, since he had let me crush him for a while prior to this one.
Flop: (7 SB) , , (2 players)
SB bets, Button raises, SB folds.
This is a terrible flop for me, of course. If we assume that he is pretty tight (I do), his range is very heavily weighted towards Aces. Thereis an extremely good chance he has one. The only thing is that when he doesn’t have one, he is going to hate this flop more than me. He figures I’m an any-Ace raising maniac, so he is probably already thinking “Great, this idiot hit another one” I’m risking two bets to win eight. I need to get a fold 25% of the time. I think I probably do.
So I had a pretty good day after I recovered from the initial beat down. I think I was up a bit more than $600 on the day and I’m back in the black for the month. 5,600 VPPs and counting.