Friday, October 15, 2010

Finally, an update

Well, life is in chaos. But change brings growth and that is what learning is all about. Maybe its the change of scenery, or perhaps its my internal growth, but my way of viewing hands has changed.

I have a new job, and at the executive level times are tough, so I embrace it rather than grouse. I have a 40 min commute. Average to some, but the longest of my career. In addition, I walked into a 120m company with the tech infrastructure of the 1980s. Really, you think I am joking, but alas I am not. The CEO uses AOL email still. You cant make this stuff up.

As for reading, I picked up a book called The 33 Strategies of War, by the author of my favorite book of all time, the 48 Laws of Power. If you have ever read Sun Tzu, you immediately take away that most battles are won before they begin. The equivalent in poker is playing hands and knowing your stuff. But so many players are decent and well prepared now, it just is not enough of an edge. If you read the 33 Strategies of War, the biggest thing you take away is that the best generals could improvise against the grain. i.e. come up with strategies on the fly that were based on exploiting tenancies. If you are a big NFL fan (and I mean an X's and O's guy, not that fantasy crap) you know that tenancies and weaknesses are exploitable.

All this comes to a point. I am changing my style a bit moving forward. I am going to play a bit more aggressive and play about 5% more hands. And I am going to use those hands to attempt to exploit my opponents and keep them on the defense. This, is paramount to today's game. Watching the WSOP on ESPN (too many all-in preflop hands on TV) simply confirms this. You need to be able to "run more plays" to get ahead.

I played the ante-up 5 card single draw tournament Wednesday night and made the final table. I like this game, but there are no "simple bluffs". If you are going to bluff in single draw, you really have to set it up pre-draw. For Example, if you have a strong image, you can draw two after a raise from position and know you are probably going to take down the pot better when the player who drew 3 checks. Even though you have nada. On the other hand, if you have a lame image, they will assume you have held onto your Ace kicker (very lame). I saw at least TWO players doing that. Wow. In the end, its hard to fold a dealt 2 pair pre-flop when the blinds are high. I had to once, and was crippled and then not a few hands later could not (no chips) and again was shown trips (pre-flop).

This Saturday, I have a deep stack $200 live game with a field of about 100. Should be a good one. Last time I went out early when a guy boated on the river, and I didn't fold. Lame. But I'll play better this time.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Terrible MTT session

3 tournaments, zero success. Why? I think its lack of concentration more than anything. If I am going to play, it has to be with the eye of the tiger, not the apathy of a koala.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Poker Anecdote

Last night I am playing at league night. I have bled off 20% of my stack missing flops. I hit zero of them. So, folds around to the button and "villain" makes a raise. I also noted he played his last 4 buttons or so (but I am not sure). I look down at Ac7c, so I call. I have already decided on a course of action for my hand if I hit an Ace.

Flop is 8cAdJh. I decide that I will check raise the c-bet. The c-bet comes for maybe 1500 and I come over the top for 7k all in. Now, that is a big bet, but he calls with TPTK. I figure that a bigger Ace here (but not AK) may fold. Tough call, but certainly reasonable. The turn is a 7 and I win the hand from behind. Not that I am proud of my play here, but now I feel like I have to defend it because this guy is pissed.

Even after a short discussion, he says something under his breath. With strangers I would let that go, but not in a league. I bring it back up. His logic is that he "never plays marginal hands, and thus cant have just a Jack there." He solicits confirming opinions from another player at the table. No way this guy would make a button raise with a hand like KJ or QJ. Fine. Ok.

As usual with this kind of story, fast forward maybe an hour at the most. Folded around to him on the button and he raises. I decide to CALL in the SB with KQo. I have this hand in the blinds because of the trouble it can cause. You could argue for a raise since the antes kicked in, but perhaps this guy has AK again. Ok, so the BB calls and we end up going to the river since no one can beat the pocket pair of 77 from the BB. He shows JsQs!! The EXACT hand he states he NEVER plays.

Moral of the story: Phil Hellmuth is a genius. Really. By going on a tirade, people give you credit for tighter play. Try it!