Not playing my optimal game
I have been playing poker for about 3 years - sometimes online, sometimes at bars (essentially free games where you compete for a bar tab), and more recently at casinos
. I consider myself a decent player who still has a lot to learn. However, I'm really having an issue with playing cards that I know I shouldn't, and I think it is hurting my game a lot.
I know which cards are good, which are marginal, which are drawing hands, and which are trouble hands, but sometimes I make decisions that I know that I shouldn't, and really beat myself up about it afterwards. For instance, last night I was playing a live game, and having a run of bad cards. I was dealt A9o UTG. I knew that I shouldn't play it, but I went against my instincts and limped in. No one raised before the flop, but there were 5 people in. The flop came A K rag (don't remember suits). I bet, everyone else folded except for the person on the button who raised. I really felt she had me beat, but I thought that if I was going to play A9o in the first place, and the Ace came out, what business did I have folding, especially when I had so much committed?
Long story short, she had big slick and won with two pairs - which is bound to happen when I play A9o UTG with 10 people at the table. When I am mature enough to fold Ace rag in early position, it seems that I always get something like two pair on the flop, which makes me want to play it next time. I know that this is an overly emotional way to play, but I can't seem to stop myself sometimes. I also see a lot of other players playing loosely - and winning way too many pots that they shouldn't, and it affects my game. I feel that I should loosen up if everyone is playing loosely.
Does anyone have any thoughts on how I can prevent myself from making these disastrous decisions? I mean, it's crazy - if I was watching that hand rather than playing in it, I would have told the person with A9o to fold immediately when they got reraised (by a good, tight player). Instead, I threw good money after bad, because I let my emotions get the best of me.