Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Poker and More Insomnia.

Meh. Caught another bout of the old insomnia last night, although not nearly to the extent that it assailed me a few days ago as I was actually able to rack up about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. While insomnia is a miserable thing, I did play some poker since I was awake anyway. Perhaps it is the poker gods who are choosing to afflict me in such a manner, in their own sick way forcing me to play the game lest I backslide too far. As I'm sure many will sympathize, the poker gods are truly vengeful beings (often with no provocation) and posses senses of humor that can only be described as "sick". But I like to believe that they teach us large lessons either way, and this is why we play.

So, being a man of my word (if nothing else), I played in 2 single table SnG's last night. Before I go any further, let me clarify something::

I am aware that a cheap ass $5 +.50 tourney does not have any real bearing on much of anything, but even so, I try to treat every game as though it's the most important game and ensure that I play my best (unless of course, I make a conscious decision otherwise beforehand).

So with my online bankroll a piddly $575 and some change, I lauch into my first 1 table SnG. Players haven't changed very much in the months I have been away, and the first thing I notice is that these single table folks are a bit looser than the 2 table folks. The next thing I notice is that 95% of these people fall in one or two categories: WPT Pros or Super Advanced WPT Pros.

Ladies and Gents, welcome to the Amateur Profiling protion of our show.

  • WPT Pros--This animal is convinced that they are the second coming of Doyle. Play is punctuated by constant wanton use of naked aggression due to the misapplication of NL principles brought forth in Super System, poor imitation of the actual WPT pro they just saw on TV, too much beer and/or testosterone, or a mix of all these things.
  • Super Advanced WPT Pros--This animal is slightly more evolved in that their naked aggression is a bit more tempered, and have developed some rudimentary knowledge of the slowplay (I wonder, could this be thought of as the opposable thumb of poker, or simply beginning to stand erect?). This opponent is even easier to deal with, to wit: If they bet, they hold nothing or their hand is mediocre at best. If they check on a suspicious board, many times they have an actual hand (this will part will be important in a minute).

The first 3 rounds of this tourney passed uneventfully, as no premium hands found their way to me I simply watched and tried to classify the Pros vs. the Super Advanced Pros. Fast Forward, blah,blah,blah....we are down to four. Myself, one Pro, and two Super Advanced. My stack is fluctuating between short and medium and I am basically treading water until top 3 where I will turn up the aggression. I feel at this point there is no reason to be too aggressive, as we still have one WPT Pro who is short stacked and should be busting out soon. More naked aggression from him and finally I pick up A10s and call his all in for about 1/3 of my stack. He wins with J3o, now him and I are about even. Very next hand 66 comes my way in the SB. I raise Super advanced on my left 3Xbb and get a call. So, I know he has something decent. Flop:QQ9. Not so good, goes check check (I suspect he is slowplaying trips based on previous action of the Super Advanced type). Turn comes Q and I push, ignoring my first instinct about the slowplayed trips. For some reason I thought there was no way he had quads, so I changed my read to KJ. Of course he called w/ KQo for the quads and I bubble out. What a stupid beginner mistake, dammit I'm rusty. If I felt that I HAD to play that hand I thinks perhaps I should have pushed preflop and taken my coinflip chances, or at the very least checked the hand down given what I KNEW about this guy.

Tourney #2--OK I feel like I'm getting my sea legs back for this SnG thing, let's spin the wheel one more time before bed. More of the same with the addition of the Raging Super Advanced WPT Pro. The reason for the addition of the "raging" classification is one particular WPT Pro is catching cards like I have not seen for some time. This induces much anger from select Super Advanced players, as they mistakenly continue to try and bluff the "fool" who cannot be bluffed. This is akin to watching a train wreck where you are sure to witness many tragedies. I caught a couple of premium hands early on and got the stack to about 4000 due to some residual Super Advanced angry bluffs being thrown my way. Hooray! Now I just sit and wait for Mr. Lucky to decapitate some more opponents, and he did not disappoint. This guy cracked AA in two consecutive hands with 10 3 spades and then again with J5 offsuit. A couple hands later nails QQ with 10 9 off. Mind now, that all of these hands were preflop all-in calls vs. reasonably healthy stacks. Now we are at 4 people again and I get SB AQs. Hooray! Once again, raise 3x BB and of course he calls, no prob. Flop comes a beautiful 3c 7c Ad, TP nearly top kicker and the nut flush draw. I check, he overbets the pot and I push. This time instead of calling immediately, he considers for about 15 secs (a first for him) so I'm thinking now that I may be behind. He calls, and of course I'm way ahead, as he holds K3 for a nice bottom pair. Guess what the turn brings? You know it, the K, and of course the flush draw did not come, and I bubble out yet again. Can't feel bad about this tourney though, as I regret none of my play, and realize that these things happen.

I can truly say I've grown as a player if for no other reason than the fact that I now love these players, as they are the ones that keep us in the money. I went to bed with only the most infentesimal tilt receding into the background (I know I shouldn't have been tilted whatsoever, but I HATE losing) where I met up with my good friend as of late, Insomnia. So after tossing around for a bit, I decide to head downstairs for some more poker and fired up a couple of NL $25 tables and bought in for $15 at each (spare me the lecture about full buyins and getting full value out of my hands, I just didn't feel like it at the time). Table #1 not catching any cards, lot of farting around going on, and I keep wavering between $13 and $17. Table #2 a lot of the same, until "Blinger" sits and buys for $25. NOTE: If you see this guy around PStars, sit down and play, as you will almost certainly make some money. It's the first hand so I have no real reads to go on and I am in BB w/ A5o. One EP and one MP limper and Blinger completes. Flop comes 7d Ac 5d so I decided to go for the checkraise. EP bets out .50, MP folds, Blinger calls, I raise to $1.50. EP folds Blinger calls. Turn comes Js. Blinger checks (I have him on a flush draw) so I push to make it too expensive to draw, and he calls QUICKLY. At this point I think he must have A7 or a set and has me nailed. Crap. River comes 10d to complete his K8s flush. At least my insticts were correct. Now, while I don't usually reload and would at this point call it a night, I reloaded with another $15 and hoped that this guy would stick around for a while, as it was quickly becoming apparent he was another WPT 'naked aggression" Pro and I would soon get my money back or bust again. I continued to fold cards while he goes on a nice run to take his stack to about $60, all the while letting everyone know what a great player he is and how weak the entire table is.

I'm running out of time, so I have to cut this short. At this time the poker gods decided to look upon me favorably and send me the goods. I ended up taking all of my money back and then some from Blinger, to end the night at a decent $30 profit after tourney losses and a $595 b/r. It's nice to be able to smile instead of lament.

I'll wind up today by waxing philosophical---More and more, poker seems to me to be a lot like life in general. Sometimes you can bring your best to the table and still lose. As players we must all try hard to not focus on the outcome, but to simply bring our best to the table at all times. Yea, I know, easy to say but not so easy to apply.

Keep on the lookout, as I will contnue to Think Big, but dammit, my head is still Much Bigger.