Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Every. Single. Hand.

Even though I haven’t played any poker for the last few weeks, I’ve still managed to learn something (or rather, had it reinforced) that I thought I’d share. Normally the Mrs. will sit and play a SnG or two on most evenings, a few of which I watch. Among many of the things that I’ve taken away from watching and trying to critique the play is this:

Every single hand matters. Every. Single. One.

Many of us who play in the low level monkey SnG’s (myself included) have a tendency to pay less than full attention during the first 3 levels of a tourney while the monkeys battle over insignificant blinds and knock each other out. I mean, why should we? What’s the point? Who wants to get beat out of a huge pot when the blinds are only 20/40?

What about those times when you had to let a pot go because you didn’t bet your 55 on a 238 board and a confirmed donkey overbets out at you, making folding the best decision because you no longer have the odds? Granted, you only spent T40 on the hand, but you missed out on a T160 pot that adds up pretty quick when you take a few of them. And the whole time that little voice in the back of your head knows you would have taken the pot down had you simply thrown a bet out there, but you weren’t sure about making the bet because you didn’t pay close enough attention on previous hands.

Most all of us have heard the theories about a butterfly flapping it’s wings in Brazil that ends up setting off a tornado in Texas (or some variation of this). Those few insignificant hands that we don’t pay attention to or misplay out of carelessness can make potentially huge differences in the later stages of a tournament. Those two or three pots that were pretty small (between T80 and T140) in the early stages could end up making all the difference while you get blinded waiting through cold cards. If you get beat out of a big pot it could save you an exit. I’m not necessarily saying you should be taking a ton of unnecessary risks and habitually make marginal plays in these early stages, but pay attention more than you normally would in the early stages and your almost guaranteed to find spots where you can take down a tiny pot here and there with little or no risk, instead of just letting it go.

No one can play absolutely perfect poker, but we can always try. And by trying just as hard in the early stages when it isn’t very convenient or fun just may be that necessary edge to get you the win you so richly deserve. Don’t let those donkeys take your ten bucks.

(Now if I can just follow my own advice, everything will be dandy)

(Oh yea, here is a funny link to do with that butterfly business I mentioned)