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April 14, 2006

Right Decisions, Bad Timing

Posted at April 14, 2006 07:16 AM in Personal Rants , by Sack.

Poker is probably the only game in the world that you can make a total bonehead move and actually get rewarded for it. Sometimes you’re just running hot and sometimes you’re just plain lucky, but someone can make the worst move in history, and still has a chance to take your money. The flipside of this double edged sword is that you can also make all the right decisions, and somehow wind up losing your shirt.

During March I was more in the former of the previous statements. But now April has made me a fool and pushed me into the downside of the two scenarios. Although I still simply haven’t been playing nearly as much as I need to, overall I feel my quality of play is still good. Last month I was just torching it, at one point cashing in seven tournaments in a row. Even when I did fall short, I’d come back strong and overall cashed in a little over 75% of all the tournaments I played. Ah how nice it was. It seemed every time I played I was getting at worst workable hands to play, and when I played them what I needed came. My reads were dead on, and even when I knew I was beat I could manage to slide a losing pot in my direction. If I happened to not be catching cards, I was patient enough and would get that perfect hand at the right time. I saved a bundle making correct laydowns, and even managed to pull off an upset or two when I did make a bad call.

But April, oh April how you mock me! Once again seemingly coinciding with yet another software upgrade (man I hate those) I hit the skids. Now sometimes I have been playing pretty bad, I’ll openly admit that and don’t mind dropping some cash when I do. But most of the time I’ve played correctly. For the most part I’ve caught about negative 1 good hands the last two weeks. In the event I do get something decent, I’ve rarely been paid off for it, even when I (gasp) slow play it. I’ll pull a seemingly beautiful bluff when any number of scare cards come out, knowing any reasonable person will lay down what I know they have, and somehow they manage to call. Even as I write this JUST NOW I push short stacked with a weak pair of aces after the flop. As soon as he called I’m sure I’m beat by a stronger ace, but to my delight he flips over pocket kings. What does the turn bring? Of course one of those two remaining kings! Only two hands before that the guy in front of me pushes preflop (he has be barely covered). I have A-Q… normally I had I may lay down at the semi early stages of a tournament, but I’m frustrated and decide to gamble, if I’m beat I’m just beat… but if I win I’m actually back in contention. After all others fold I see I’m against A-8 off suit. Good shape thus far, especially when the flop comes 2-3-Q rainbow. His 8 is now practically dead and his flush chances are nil. At this point I’m over 98% to win. When the turn brings a 5 I know I can’t lose the hand, but then on the river I invent new curse words as horrible 4 pops out giving us a split pot (each having the straight to the 5). And that’s a quick synopsis of how the last 2 weeks have gone.

So what’s going on? I’ve consistently made correct decisions overall (whether I knew it at the time or not). And yet over and over I’m getting busted out of tournaments. Simply put I’d have to say that it’s once again variance catching up to me. Overall in the long run a certain set amount of statistical probabilities will balance out to their rightful place. During March the vast majority of the winning hands I had held up… I can’t even recall more than 2 hands I’d call anywhere near a bad beat during that entire hot streak. But now, it seems I can have a hammerlock on a hand and it just doesn’t work out in my favor. Is it frustrating? Hell yeah. Is it rigged? Hell no. And while I am angry when things don’t go as they should, I’m not nearly as upset as one would think. Over time of playing, I’ve come to see these “hot” and “cold” streaks come and go. And over time I’ve been a winning player by knowing the odds and percentages of different situations. And as I should I’ve won as much or more often overall than I should. I could continue my cold streak for months and still be in the black overall. I’ve always believed in the saying that “good players will win money over the long haul”. I’ve gotten plenty of hands and hours logged under my belt, and can say that in addition to agreeing with the statement I also now understand it.

So what will Sack do? Well thankfully bartending has been paying off big time, so I can more than sustain any losses I incur during this time. Also my pool game has finally stepped back up, and I’m starting to make a little pocket change on the tables again too. As far as poker I’ll continue to play when I can, ride out the hard times knowing as long as I keep making the right decisions, they will pay off in the long run.

still workin on it,

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