Sunday, April 17, 2005


Where Do We Go From Here ?

$1-2 No Limit, MGM Grand. 1.5 hours, -$45. Struggled with this really. Made it $10 with JJ, geezer moves all in for $200 I pass (other geezer calls all bets for about $80 and wins with A2 - one of the few really bad plays I saw). Raised with KK 2 callers, flop 643 rainbow. Bet $20 1 caller. Turn 5, I check he bets I pass. Make it $10 with AKs, same geezer as KK hand makes it $25, I call. Flop Qxx, I check he bets I pass. At this point I have absolutely no idea whether he had a monster both times or whether he just bet me out having observed how tight I was playing. No clue at all. I should probably have passed the AKs pre-flop, out of position. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the necessary instinct and mindset to play big bet cash. And you know what - I can live with that.

$285 Single Table, Bellagio. 0.75 hours, -$285. 3/10. This was a bit more like it, a couple of weak-loose players and a couple of weak-tight. I doubled up with QQ v A3 and had about double my starting chips 3-handed. Then I went for the semi-bluff reraise with K6s only to find my opponent with AK. It happens. This woman found so many hands in late positions (AA in the cut-off, KK QQ and AK on the button), and played them well too. Sometimes in a satellite someone’s always going to win, or at least be a big favourite heads-up, because of the situations that come their way. That’ll be you as often as anyone else. You just have to win the odd one that’s not “due” to you.

$40 NLHE Rebuy, Harrah’s. 1 hour, -$80. These are quite new to Harrah’s I think and they are tweaking the structure to try to finish them quicker. So now level 4 is 100-200 and level 5 is 200-400 with a 25 ante. Fair enough. With 2000 going into level 4 I felt I needed to gamble. On the Big Blind I pretty much decided to move in if the pot was unraised and there were a couple of limpers. Careful what you wish for - that’s what happened and a limper had KK. Kudos to him. If my move works, I win 800. If it doesn’t, it only costs me 1100 (because I have a 20% chance of winning the resulting 4600 pot, more if someone looks me up with AK). Thus if I get away with it 40% of the time it’s a winner.

As for me, I have to decide where to take my poker from here. I have a system which allows me to make money on the side against weak players. But it’s not really good enough to play at the top level. My weaknesses balance out my technical strengths and I’m about break even at $1500 I reckon. To take it up a level would require a lot of work (and putting a lot of money at risk). And the first question to ask myself is “can I be arsed ?”. Like Krusty in the Simpsons, I’m a lazy, lazy man. The Tao Te Ching tells us that “there is no greater disaster than greed. He who is contented with contentment is always contented”. Setting yourself a goal to win one of these huge tournaments is completely unrealistic. Even if you wanted it more than anyone else, even if you tried harder than anyone else, you have two huge factors against you. Number one, the luck factor which is enormous. Two, while I am sometimes disparaging about “name” players, let me stress that a lot of these guys are very, very good. They have good instincts, good card sense, good temperament and the courage to test you for all your, or their, chips. Funny things can happen and a few weaker players can record a result or two, but that’s the “lottery factor” coming in. You’re not seeing how many of these players are just doing their money. If I’m happy playing small games on the side and making a few $$$ what’s wrong with that ? You might be doing better - good for you. Someone’s always going to be better than me. Good luck to them. As long as they get it quietly anyway :-).

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