But I made my mind up after coming back from Vegas to change 4 things in my game. And these are not minor adjustments by any stretch of the imagination.
- Don't be afraid to get your money in fast. If you are ahead, you are ahead. No one is going to see a free river or even a cheap river ever again. If you in a hand with me and you are going to see a river card, either you're way ahead or I am going for the stack and you called. I used to say I like to control the pot size, but I think it a misnomer. I think it was an excuse to protect my stack. Now, I want to apply that pressure point on the turn.
- I am using more math and less 'lay downs'. You give me 3-1 pre-flop and I am calling with 2 napkins. I dont care how big the blinds are. If I have the odds to call, chances are pretty darn good I am going to call. period. I find I just dont play enough hands when I try to only play premium hands. Thanks Gus Hansen! (Read his book!)
- And this is a big one. At a live table, I am discarding my Columbo persona. Or at least modifying it. I find when I get to be my semi-obnoxious self who can banter, talk, and otherwise talk through hands out load, I make better decisions. And I have more fun playing. And I miss having fun playing. The blogger game at the IP where I would call any Falstaff bet with a decree of "Monkey Chips!!!" made me remember this is a game and we play games for stress relief, not to induce further stress into our lives.
- Before I left for Vegas, players generally have the following opinion of me: "Not aggressive enough". No one is going to be able to say that about me anymore... Mark my words...
So last night, fresh from a BRUTAL black and blue beating at the FT tables Wednesday, I came to the Friday night game with 2 full magazine clips of ammo. I had a goal too. Playing for first instead of the money. After all, this was not a league game, it was a 3 table MTT. No points, just paid top 4.
From the early stages, I was living up to my rules. But it really kicked in after the first break where I started boarding on obnoxious. I had powned Scott our host this night, and at one point when he started to bet, I called all-in before he could even finish his bet. It saved him 1000 chips, but it was worth it. The message was clear. "Dont play hands with me unless all the chips are going in". Otherwise, I was stealing, re-raising with rag hands, etc.
There was one very interesting hand that cost me a pile of chips that I still marvel at (not with Scott).
EP raises 4xBB. Obviously with a hand. I call with 66. The flop is QQ8. He bets and I re-raise. My logic is that he really has to think now. He cant call the reraise with any non-pair, and he would have to think about it with any pair less AA (where he could not get away due to the magical allure of Aces.) Without even thinking, he goes all-in. I fold, surprised my pressure did not even make him think. I was especially surprised he did not take time to think when he showed his TT. That made me muse, boy howdy. Still, I like my play here. Most hands are in trouble against that re-raise.
Cutting to the chase, at the final table I am average stacked, but by the time we get to the money, I have the big stack and wield it accordingly. Once we got to 6 handed, I would raise with anything I could get my hands on, like T7s. If a short stack shoved, I would be forced to call. I was about 50-50 in these, but when I lost, I lost... When I won, I broke a player.
And when we were heads up, I think I had an advantage in that I seemed to understand where I was at heads-up and was willing to pay big pots with any edge. The math went just enough in my favor to take down the first place prize.
Long live Aggro-columbo