Saturday, January 21, 2006


Adapt And Thrive

What strikes me reading a lot of trip reports nowadays is how many people take fixed ideas into a hand. This might be a permanent fixed idea, or something like "yesterday I went out calling so today I was determined to be the raiser if I was all-in". I don't mean to pick on an individual but one report showed this so clearly twice in quick succession I thought I'd pull out the relevant quotes. First of all :

"The key hand to my tournament came against X who was steaming (he had raised the last four hands to 3k and been re-raised every time - lost 12k without seeing a flop). He made it 3k and on the button I called with AQd. I made this call because we had similar stacks and I didn't want him going all-in on tilt giving me a decision if I re-raised him."

The fixed idea in play here is that AQ isn't good against a re-re-raise. Well normally it isn't. But against someone who is "steaming" and liable to "go all-in on tilt", I think it is. In the event (and this is slightly results oriented I admit) hero calls, tries to be clever with some speech play, and loses to A4s when it makes a flush.

Now short-stacked, this happens :

"Shortly into level 9 I raised to 3k with AQ and folded to an all-in by another player after having the clock put on me. Maybe I should’ve took that shot but I didn't want to die calling."

Well who knows. The key factor here is how much the reraise is. Close behind that, the tendencies of the re-raiser. A million miles further back, how you "want to die".

Poker is all about adapting to the circumstances at hand. I have guidelines and a basic idea of how to play but it can all go out of the window in specific situations. Don't rule options because of pre-conceived ideas of how you "should" play.

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