Tuesday, March 07, 2006

picture yourself in a boat on the river...

As much as it pains me to admit it, I have been a losing player in 2006. Badly losing. As I explore the ins and out of my play, exhaustively analyzing what is going wrong I find two anomalies.

The first is that I am often making good reads on the flop and the turn, but my opponent picks up what he needs on the river. Now, these are not bad beat stories. Any one of them would be construed as just poker. But to plot them over the course of 3 months and notice how many hands I have lost on the river, it looks like a conspiracy. These are cash ring games I am talking about and I wonder how a player can take a hand when 82 hits TP on the flop vs. my Queens, and continue to call pot size bets to the river when a 2 comes. And even more of a mystery, is how stupid the guy who says “nice hand” must be.

But if that is the case, then what is the corrective action here? I mean, how do I deal with the fact that I am getting my money in ahead, providing the improper pot odds, and still losing. I have to assume that the negative pot odds I am providing on the TURN are insufficient. I am looking at it this way:
1. I USED to have a motto that I never wanted to see a showdown. But now, I am better at reading situation and I am not afraid to play from in front.
2. Providing negative pot odds on the FLOP in low limit is simple an exercise in fanning the flames. Now the pot is big enough that your turn bet scares you as much as it scares your opponent.
3. And this is the big one, number 2 is bullshit. If you are going to protect top pair, a half size pot bet is no longer going to fly. Players are just not tight enough. And on the turn, if you think you are ahead, you have to be willing to put in the big bet.

I did have a case last night where the player on my left would enter ANY pot I would play no matter what the raise. He would then call my post flop bet, and my turn bet NO MATTER WHAT. 4 out of 5 times he two paired or hit his got shot on the river. The funny part is that he had tagged me as loose aggressive passive and was trying to play pots away from me, like he was Phil Ivey. In reality, he was behind all but the first of those 5 hands. I should have taken a lot of money from him. Statistically I had to. In reality, I lost a buy in.

Now, as if that was not enough, there is this “second thing”. I have bubbled in almost every tournament I have played this year. Why is that? I am not sure I even have a theory yet. Is it the result of one wrong decision? Is it that I am not fighting for enough small pots? Is it tight passive? Is it making the wrong moves at the right time? I AM NOT SURE.

But I had better figure it out soon. I posted a nice profit in 2005, and lost about 40% in just this portion of 2006.

1 comment:

HCR said...

Breakeven in 2006 so far for me, however have taken some wicked bad beats. But I play low limit too so there is way, way more of those suckouts. I figure if we keep at it...the gods of poker will come around. Its hard to take tho last night when my set was rivered by a runner, runner flush. So I feel your pain in 2006 man!