Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Upon waking up this morning, I came to discover a text message I had received from a friend of mine. "Remember to vote today! (for Obama)," it said. Sorry friend, I don't even think I'm registered to vote. So I didn't make it out today for the primaries. Last year I was ridiculed by my family for not voting on one of the town issues. Many think it is irresponsible not to exercise my right to vote. I don't feel bad about not showing up at the polls today though. I don't think I'm fit to cast a vote, considering I couldn't tell you one major difference in any standpoint between Clinton and Obama. The deciding factor in my vote, were I to have made one, would be the fact that Obama made a cameo on one of my favorite shows, Saturday Night Live in the fall. Furthermore, my one vote will not make a difference in even the closest of races. I don't care what anyone says. There are hundreds of thousands of voters in Connecticut. Adding my vote to either campaign would be like adding the contents of an eye dropper to a swimming pool. Frankly it's not worth my time to fill out the paperwork at town hall and make the trek to the voting booths for such an insignificant affect on the outcome of the election. Sorry.

So what did I do today? When I got up around 1, I was undecided on whether or not to play poker. Instead I was thinking I would take today off, and use the day to cool off and reflect on why I did poorly yesterday. I decided that the way I busted from the $20 rebuy could have definitely been avoided. At first I bemoaned my bad luck, and I think many would be quick to do the same. But to become a great poker player, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. If you keep getting unlucky and losing, guess what? There's a good chance there are leaks in your game that you aren't acknowledging. For me, I think I have stopped making disciplined folds and trusting my reads when I know I am beat. I used to make great lay downs when I thought it was right. Nowadays, I am making hero calls whenever I'm getting a decent price. Let's examine how I busted from the $20 rebuy on Monday night.

With blinds at 600-1200 I was sitting in late position with JJ, and about 27,000 chips. The player in first position had about 10,000 in chips. This is less than 10 times the big blind, which is typically a push/fold stack, and everyone knows that. The player opted not to push, but instead made a standard 3x raise to 3600. He is clearly trying to make it cheaper for someone to call behind him. This should set off red flags every time. Now a player in middle position flat called. Another red flag. He may as well have typed in the chatbox, "Hello everyone, I have pocket aces." At this point it should be completely obvious that both of these players have me beat. The flat caller knows that the UTG player is strong, and still decides to only call, inviting more action behind him. He knows that the original raiser is committed, and doesn't want to push out any action from a third player.

The above-the-rim play, would have been to open fold. I have played several thousand online tournaments, I know what people have all the time. I always know. Sometimes, though I let my desire to win blind me. I have taught myself an all or nothing mentality. This is the correct mindset to employ in tournament poker. Roughly 40% of my gross winnings have come from top 2 finishes. You should always be giving yourself the best chance to win the tournament. You can't win if you fold right? As foolish as this may sound, this is the attitude I have lately. I need to do a better job of making the right fold when it is correct, to keep myself in the game, so that I can win.

An acceptable play would have been to call. Even though both of the players are representing extreme strength, JJ is still a big hand to just fold. A better than average player could make a case for calling here, and seeing a flop, whereupon one could reevaluate. I don't want to be a better than average player. I want to be the best. How will I ever climb to the top of the online rankings and win a WSOP bracelet if I settle for being better than average? I have so much experience, and I always know what people have. I should do much better than what I have been doing lately. I should have made the fold, as ridiculous as it may seem to an inexperienced player.

Instead I chose the absolute worst option of the three. I re-raised all in. I figured "JJ! This is a strong hand, this is my chance to nearly triple up and have a stack that will allow me to coast to the final table!" I should have thought "Wow, nice try guys. I don't know who you think you're fooling with that crap, but I'm southrnct-mother F'ing- owl, and I can easily read your transparent attempts at slowplaying. I don't get my money in with the worst hand. I'll fold this time, and leave myself in the tourney where most others would go broke, keeping my average stack and have a chance at turning it into one ready for contention at the final table."

It folded back to the original raiser who snap called. The flat caller called instantly as well. They both obviously had KK and AA respectively, and I was eliminated short of the money.

Another hand where I lost a considerable pot that I shouldn't have occurred earlier in the same tournament. I was in the BB with Q 9 offsuit. The player in first position limped in. This always sets off red flags to me. I immediately considered AA as a likely holding for him. I forget how many people were in the hand, but the flop came 9 rag rag. I checked, as I always do when I'm in the blinds, unless I have a powerhouse hand. I'll explain why I do that some other time. The UTG limper bet out about 3/4 pot. I made the call with top pair. He could have nothing, a worse nine (9Ts, J9s, etc.), or he could still of course have AA. The turn was another low card, and I again check/called. At this point the pot was around 12,000. The river was another low card. The highest card on board was still a 9, and the board was somewhat uncoordinated. The UTG player bet out 6,000, around half pot, after I checked yet again. This was an obvious value bet. There is no way he would triple barrel bluff there with nothing. He also wouldn't bet any hand worse than mine for value. AA is literally the only hand he could have in that spot. I knew this, but I called anyways, partially because I wanted to win, and partially because I wanted to if I was right. Low and behold, I was right again, like always, and he showed AA, and scooped a large pot, and I had lost about 1/3 of my formerly above average stack.

I need to have more discipline. The flop call is fine. The turn call is questionable, but you can still make a case for calling the turn. The river call is just plain inexcusable. Instead of wanting to know if I was right, and trying to win, I should have just known that I was right, and trust my instincts. This way I could have known that I couldn't win, and saved my chips to get them in in a better spot.

I could go on with more and more stories about how I have made stupid crying calls knowing I was beat, but I won't dwell on that.

So today's activities included watching Dr. Phil and Price is Right as usual. The guests in the Dr. Phil house this month are engaged couples questioning whether or not they are fit for marriage. I've concluded, not just from this show or exclusively from Dr. Phil, that I may not get married for a long, long time, if ever. Divorce is not something I ever want to experience, and marriage vows are something I would take very seriously. You all know that I am a numbers-0riented guy, and in a country with a 57% divorce rate, I don't like my chances. I cannot even conceive how long it would take, or what must occur between two people for them to know for certain that they want to spend the rest of their days on this earth together, no matter what. Is it really possible for someone in their twenties to know that they will want to be with a person into their forties, sixties, and on their death bed in their nineties? When you take your marriage vows, you say that you will take that person in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor, better or worse, no matter god damn what for the rest of your life. Take a minute to let that soak in. When you make that commitment, you're saying I love this person unconditionally and I will never leave them no matter what.

Clearly this whole "love" word is being tossed around too lightly in our society today. With shows like Flavor of Love, I Love New York, and Rock of Love, (all of which I am completely obsessed with mind you) young people can see how easy it is to fall in love. All it takes is a few weeks, right? Just ask I Love New York 2 winner Tailor Made. Shit, he wasn't even divorced with his first wife before he was professing his love (or infatuation, whatever, same thing right?) for New York.

When I dated my first girlfriend in high school, I was told that I should say those three magic words as well. I went along with it because she told me to, and I just assumed that that was the next appropriate step after two whole months of dating. So I told her I loved her once or twice. Talk about uncomfortable! All it took was one hesitation on my part before we put all those shenanigans to a stop. Let that be a lesson to all you high school sweet hearts out there. Guess what, it's not going to work out. Sooner or later you and the "love" of your short life are going to break up for good. Brace yourself.

All I'm saying is that I only plan on making that love/marriage commitment with one person in my life, because that's all it's supposed to be. Will I ever find that person, and the connection with them that so many give up on in divorce courts across the country? Who knows, surely not me. All I do know is that it's not going to be for a long time, because that really has to be someone special to commit your whole entire life to.

So after TV I showered and went to get some lunch at 99. After that I went over to Sears to try and find the parts I need for my carpet cleaner. After I talked to the guy at the store, and my Dad, I decided to wait until after my Dad gets back from Houston for him to bring over some new parts he have that will hopefully fit on the sink so I can finally get that done.

He also told me he would bring over another hard drive so I can fit more music into my iTunes.

So then I watched TV for awhile, and eventually decided I had learned my lesson from the previous day. I decided to turn off all distractions and focus on playing super-tight, and always making the right play. I only played three tournaments, so that I could do my best and hopefully get a good cash. I bought into the Nightly Hundred Grand($162), a $20 180 player SNG, and the 50k ($50). No luck in any of them. I still think I played well though.

I was crippled in the Hundred Grand when the blinds were 100-200. I had 5500 in the big blind, holding JJ. It folded around to a well-known, tight-aggressive player in the cut-off (one off the button), XtraCey. She raised to 500, with 3300 behind. Even though she is a tight player, JJ is well ahead of her range here. I re-raised all in and she called with AA. Obviously. I was out shortly thereafter.

The 50k was kind of interesting. There was one player on my immediate left who was a total donk. I was playing super tight. The blinds were 100-200. A player who had just lost most of his stack on the previous hand, pushed all in from middle position. I had K 10 on the button. I knew the shortstack player could have almost anything, so I re-raised all-in, in hopes of isolating against him with a hand that was ahead of his range. My plans were foiled though as donk boy called instantly for almost his whole stack with A 8 off. Nice call bud. He flopped an ace and I was down to only 30 chips. The next hand the blinds were 150-300 with a 25 ante. I doubled up on two straight hands with A 7 and KQ. I now had over 900! A few hands later I was in the big blind, which committed me no matter what. I typed in the chatbox that I was obviously calling anything, so I advised the table against doing anything stupid. I was happy to see A 8. Donk boy raised in first position, and it folded around to me, so I called. I was honestly not too worried about being behind against this player, even though he was representing strength by raising UTG. Sure enough he showed Q 7 of clubs, and I doubled up, flopping an ace. I was still on life support and hung in there for awhile. I made my stand pushing all in from late position with A 3. The big blind made the call and showed 22. I obviously lost the race and my heroic run was over.

Tomorrow I won't be playing because I have basketball practice at night. When I return to the virtual tables, (which might not be until Sunday) I am sure to be playing my best. Watch out fishcakes! It's getting late though, so I'm off to bed. I'll check in tomorrow after practice.

Until then,

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