My 2016 Resolutions

Every poker player has a favorite oddball pocket to play. Mine is 8-6. Here is another example of me winning a hand with 8-6.

No More Flush Chasing, Better Bankroll Management

The beginning of a new year is a chance to take stock of yourself, and poker players are no different. I would like to think I grew as a poker player in 2015 (I know I’ve grown as a person, but not the way I want to. Diet started Jan. 1!), but poker is an always evolving game. If you don’t keep up, you will get left behind. Here are my poker resolutions for 2016.

I resolve to stop being tempted by flush draws. One of my biggest weaknesses is chasing flushes after getting two suited cards on the flop. I am not an ATSC (any two suited cards) kind of player, so that’s not the issue. But I do find it hard to lay down when I’ve got four parts of a flush after the flop, especially if I have the nut draw. I know it’s not a plus value play in the long run, but sometimes I just can’t stop myself!

I resolve to practice better bankroll management. Given my recent bad experience with Lock Poker, I have decided that I won’t deposit on any U.S. facing site until I become more convinced that they will pay out reliably. That means I will try to build up my bankroll through the various freerolls and competitions offered by CardsChat.

I won one of the America’s Card Room freerolls last year and had a couple of other ITM finishes in the freerolls to build up some funds in my account, but I ripped through them in a few bad sessions of 5/10 NL and one $10 tourney. So I’m back to square one again. Next time I get some money in my account, I will make it last much longer by sticking to sit-n-goes and micro-level tourneys until I get it over $100. I will avoid cash games as much as possible.

Pocket Jacks are the Hand of the Devil

Every poker player has a favorite oddball pocket to play. And everyone has one they hate.

My favorite oddball pocket to play is 8-6. I can’t explain it, but almost every time I get 8-6, I am putting chips into the pot. Now I’m not stupid. If somebody has put in a big raise before it gets to me, I’ll toss ’em into the muck. But if I can limp into the pot or get in fairly cheaply, or I have a chance in late position to put in a raise to try to steal the pot, I’ll do it.

The pocket I hate to play is pocket jacks, or “Hooks” as they are called. I believe they are called Hooks because the devil has hooks for hands, making pocket Jacks the hands of Beelzebub.

I believe that Hooks are conspiring against me. Every time I get JJ, it seems like somebody else either has AK, AQ or KQ – and they always pair up!! Similarly, every time I get one of those three hands and somebody has JJ, I never pair up! It is an indisputable fact. If you don’t believe me … well, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Actually, this year I am going to keep a diary of every hand I am involved with that has two overcards vs. JJ and see how I do. The pre-flop odds slightly favor the Hooks (about 55%-45%), which makes it a classic example of a coin flip. In other words, regardless of which side of the race I am on, I should win about half the time. But I will guarantee you that I will be a winner only about 25% of the time – if I am lucky!!

Hand No. 1: Pub Poker League. JJ (UTG) vs. AK (BB). I get the Hooks and raise it 3xBB to 30,000, leaving me about 80,000 behind. It folds to the BB, who shoves all-in. He has me covered. I call. The flop comes up dry, the turn is another blank, giving me hope that my Hooks will hold up, but I get burned when the river comes up an ace! Record: 0-1.

Hand No. 2: ACR $4.40 bounty tourney. I get JJ vs. AQ and shove all-in preflop again. It was a bounty tourney, and I had a pretty big stack at this time, so I was bounty hunting. I get a caller, and of course, he has A-Q. The board runs out dry, and I wind up with the win and a bounty. Record: 1-1.

Hand No. 3: ACR $5.50 tourney, $300 guaranteed. It’s a turbo tourney, and we’ve been going for about an hour. I’ve got a decent-sized stack with about 18k. BB is 800. I am UTG and get JJ, so I put in a 3xBB raise. UTG + 4 shoves with about 8,000. It folds back to me. My opponent has been very aggressive, so I figure there is a good chance he has a lower pair, so I call. He turns over A-6 suited. I am a 68% favorite so of course the flop comes up A-A-K. The board runs out dry. Record: 1-2.

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