First Dump of the Day
Okay, so the poker is at an all-time Frustration high. I went out of the $9K last night without winning a single pot in 6 levels. I finished 5th in a $30 SnG, hamstrung by a rivered 5-outer which was the difference between Chip Leader with 5 left and less-than-average stack with 6 left. And then I went card dead, which is a familiar refrain 'round these parts and should really have a more evocative label, like Card Famine or Scorched Earth.
I was lamenting how this statistical anomaly of Card Castration has affected my game, basically making me gun-shy and passive, as it seems no matter how far ahead or behind I am, the cards fall the other direction. One of the examples I used of my passivity was something that happened in the $9K. I raised two limpers with AQ (this is Level 4; 30/60 blinds) who called. The flop came 9-high and the the limpers went to war with 98 and K9. Now, getting out-flopped is nothing rare against these types of hands. What I commented was that I was HESITANT to raise with that hand because of all the bullshit I've beeen putting up with the last 6 weeks in regard to losing with these types of hands versus lesser (and much lesser) holdings.
The well-respected Absinthe responded to my comment by saying he will rarely raise with AQ there in the first hour. Which set off a 45 minute discussion that kept me up past my bedtime AND caused me to lay awake for another hour pondering the points and counterpoints that were raised.
The issue is whether to exploit/risk chips on small edges early in these low buy-in MTTs when the blinds are small and stacks are "short."
Now, I've written about this. In my Low Buy-In Online Tournament Mainfesto Version 1.0 (scroll down), I talk about playing EXTREMELY tight in the first hour, the primary reason being you will get paid off when you have a monster hand, because people suck and you don't. I also talk about being willing to limp. The easiest way to build an early stack is to get cards and have dummies pay you off.
So what happens if you don't get cards in that first hour? Well, I'll tell you, because I have a wealth of recent experience with this. What happens is you end up with less than your starting stack in the second hour and are forced to push with 66 or KQ into an 8K stack who will call with almost anything and out-flop you send you to the rail. You know, as an example.
I heard Howard Lederer say the following few months back, concerning playing online or live against the internet kids: "You have to get cards to beat them," implying that they won't lay down a hand. This is certainly true. So, that raises the question, if you don't get any fucking cards early in an MTT, you're done?
Probably. And maybe my present zeal to raise with my AQ is precisely because it's the purtiest hand I've seen in a month. Perhaps my frustration has caused me to lose patience. It's possible I'm trying to force the issue with less than dominating hands because I'm unable to find dominating hands to play. In which case, I've let the cards alter the way I play, let them take me out of my comfort zone and thus make sub-optimal decisions. And I'm stacking off with these hands (because the RNGs of the world lick balls) with chips that might be useful later on if I do catch a pocket pair higher than 44.
But there's still the larger question. Will you take a chance on a coin flip early? Gamble with a small edge/deficit to amass a stack, which you can hope to grow exponentially? And does doubling up early really give you that much of an advantage, since 3K chips ain't a whole lot once the antes kick in? Is the risk worth the reward? Is the reward really a reward?
So, I dump that on your plate this morning. Maybe more trip report later.