Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bonus, Baby

Not my train.

Guy wakes up in the morning determined to off himself and ends up a mass murderer instead. Sheesh.

Seems like any thought that comes to me to put down here might come off as insensitve. So, I'll leave it at that. And my condolensces to the victims and their families.


Despite that, no more maudlin thoughts today. In fact, only good news to report, minus a little self-flagellation. In my further quest to forcefully insert myself into the poker blogosphere, I have committed to joining the SoCal crew (plus American's Wingman) at the LA Poker Classic in Commerce this Saturday. Still have some details to work out, but I'm going. If you're going to be there, I'll be easily recognizable as the guy walking around looking like he's concussed. You can check out StudioGlyphic or HDouble for more info.

I've also signed up for the next installment of the WPBT tourney on PokerStars, taking place next Wednesday at 6 p.m. PST. It necessitated me signing up for PokerStars. It necessitated me negotiating an early release from work that day. Such is the level of my committment. Such are the lengths I will go to embarrass myself in this contest. I'm very much looking forward to it. My handle over there is JoeSpeaker. Bonus points to anyone who can identify the reference (no it's not my real name; not even close).

I finally cleared my January Reload bonus on Party last night. Though not without more trial and tribulation. In the end, however, I was reminded of the intangible tenets of playing the No Fold 'Em games: Patience, Discipline, Emotional Stability.

As you may have gleaned from my previous post about my bonus clearing, I had been running bad. I exacerbated that trend with some poor play. It's so easy--for me--to see the showdown hands of my opponents and make the erroneous connection that I too can play Q8o and pull some big pots. Doesn't work that way. But I let my frustration get the best of me this past weekend and it cost me.

I ran into much of the same problems last night. I fired up a $1/$2 full game while I was playing a $20 SnG (in which I finished 2nd). As usual, most hands were automatic folds or raises and on the latter, I got pummelled. Pocket Queens? No good. Nut flush on the turn? No good to a boat on the river. It was a replay of the weekend. But part of my focus was on the SnG and I was able to compartmentalize the frustration I was feeling and keep at my task.

After the SnG ended, I added a $25 PL table. And it became the catalyst. About a dozen folds in, I peeked at pocket rockets. Max pre-flop raise and two callers. Pot bet on a ragged flop and one caller. All in on a garbage turn card and one caller. Blank on the river. He showed second pair and doubled me up. SEE!?!?!?!?!? That's how it works. Sure, that same guy caught a set on the river on Saturday, but...and stay with me here...HE'S NOT GOING TO DO IT VERY OFTEN!!!!!!! This is what I was screaming at myself inside my head. I admit it. Sometimes I wonder what the hell is going on. I know, in the deepest reaches of my soul, that those who play crap cards will be punished in the end. Yet, when absorbing suckout after suckout, I begin to question my play. I tilt. I play scared. I play stupid. And I fail to remind myself that what I'm going through is natural. I shouldn't need pocket rockets to remind me.

So, I was emboldened. And refreshed. I proceed to take down two monster pots on the $1/$2 game in the next 10 minutes. And I cleared my bonus. And chalked up a nice win for the evening. Ninety minutes of frustration wiped out in 10 minutes. YooooooooHooooooooooo!!!!!!!! Lesson alert.

Like Herb Brooks told the US Men's Hockey Team in 1980: Play. Your. Game.

I hope I absorbed it this time. I guess I won't know until the next. Keep the frustration in check. Accept it as a necessary part of this pursuit. Don't relax your standards. Wait for the big hands. And bet the hell out of them.

I was Mr. Long Call early on last night. The betting told me I was beat. Sure, I had pocket 10s with only a single overcard, but when the SB led out on the turn, I knew I was behind. I called that and the river bet, too. His two little pair plenty good. AND I KNEW! I'm prone to do this stuff when I'm tilting. Really gotta stop.

Play. Your. Game.

Get out of the way when you think you're beat. Avoid the long calls. Trust your reads. It'll turn. But only if you keep it together.


Seems like I do this a lot lately, but I don't tire of it. Go give Otis a pat on the back and a Bon Voyage. I have no problem reading other blogs and recognizing they are superior to mine, in their writing, their poker skill or knowledge, whatever it may be. I see them as something to aspire to. I have admired Otis' work since the moment I found his blog. "I'd like to be able to write like that someday," I thought. And now he's going pro. Very inspirational. Maybe I can't write or play poker very well, but I know talent when I see it!


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