Turning a corner (very long post)
Figured I'd give folk fair warning that it's a long one. I just had to get this down in writing, and here seemed like a good place. Not sure if anyone is interested, but what the hell...
What a strange day. My wife had a baby on July 15th. Labor had started in earnest right as I sucked out of a Poker.com tournament late on the 14th. Today was my first real day back playing poker since then.
The day started on Absolute. I registered in two tournaments. The first one was going well. I had 5000 in chips by the time the second started. The second went monster on me, and I had over 6000 chips in under 10 minutes. Tournament one ended about an hour in when I lost to KK when I had 9J suited. Didn't mind too much as tourney 2 was where it was at. Besides, pocket kings... Can't call that a bad beat.
Only took down small pots but had some staggeringly good hands. Best of the day was when I had A9os. Went all-in. Only player to call me had pocket kings, and three times the stack I did. In other words, if I lost, it was game over. Flop came xAx. I felt good. Pair of aces vs pair of kings. Turn comes... Ace... River... ACE! In the few months I've been playing, I scored my first four of a kind!
What made it doubly sweet was my stack being low. I was two hands from going under due to the big blind. I survived two more goes around the table, pulling off another lucky win on what would have been my very last hand. 59os, and amazingly won when a 5 came on the flop. Wound up getting eaten by the bb and finished in 50th place after about 3 hours or so. Sucked to go out so high up and not place in the money, but it was a blast, and really blew the poker cobwebs away. I tried a tournament a week ago and failed miserably and really wondered if my time had been luck, not skill.
The 50th place on Absolute boosted my confidence. The only place I have any real money
(other than my free $15 at Vegas, which I'm not touching for a while yet until I get past the obstacles detailed below) is poker.com where I have a whopping 40 cents.
So I sit down to their 1am EST freeroll. Early on I tripled up. I was playing with so many distractions, I don't even remember the hand. Blinds go up every five minutes on there, so tournaments get pretty frenetic.
40 minutes in, disaster. While carrying my laptop, something goes wrong. System locks up good and hard. Only option was to pull the battery, which I did. Upon rebooting, my wifi network didn't come back. CRAP! Had to quickly fumble on my desktop computer and sort things out. Get it up and running, fire up the software... And amazingly, I'm still in. It hasn't bankrupted me or anything. I'm still in it. The crash occured right after I'd been small blind. It used my all-in, which was my fear. Guessing everyone most have folded. I settle down and refocus.
At this point I had 1690 in chips. Blinds were up around the 100/50 mark or so. I basically kept my head down until the break. When we came back, I went to work. Kept my head above water. I checked and saw there were around 200 people left on the next break. I had stagged into the break with only 380 in chips. I had JUST missed being bankrupted by the blinds being raised. Upon arrival after the break, I realised I had to keep my head together and I could place in the money. (Top 100 get paid on Poker.com). I had placed there once before, and I had failed in multiple attempts since, leading to my confidence being shake, and more "Was it just luck?" talk.
I started doing what I hate, which is taking all the time allowed to post blinds etc... Which admittedly on there isn't long, but I knew if I could keep it together and maximize my time, I could maybe do it. With 123 people left, the last of my stack disappeared to the small blind... I had 95os... Then, the miracle flop. x95... I held my breath... And took down a 3000 pot. I almost went on tilt I was so happy! However, it wasn't over yet. The players left was taking forever to go down. Several other people at the table were in the same boat and kept dragging it out. I hated doing it, but it was a matter of survival. Finally, the total hit 106 left... So close. I knew two players before me were going down most likely. One pulled a miracle flop and went from a few hundred to over 4000. The next guy wasn't so lucky. 105... Then it pauses for hand for hand mode... It seemed to last forever. I closed my eyes with 105 people left...
I heard the sound to signal the new hand... Opened my eyes... 96/1770 left. I'd made it!
From there I stayed on and finished 63rd. Scooped 40 cents. Yep, I now have 80 cents. Need 30 more for my plan. SNG with a $1 buy-in. (10 cent rake.)
My big problem is playing too conservatively later on in the tournaments. That strategy works well early on, but starts to bite me later. I rarely go in with anything other than a high pair, or something like AQ. It's holding me back. It's like I've hit a ceiling and can't get beyond that. Nor do I know how to get past it, which is incredibly frustrating. I know I'm, potentially, a better poker player than I am now, but I think the fear of losing is crippling me in the later game. I've placed in the top 100 on Absolute so many times now without getting into the money that I'm getting sick of it. I never make it with a good stack. In both AP and Poker.com, it's always a war of attrition for me.
I do feel like I turned a corner today, though. (Hence the post title.) I've never played as well as I did today. I went with my gut. The one time I didn't, with pocket 5's, I folded, and lost a 5000 pot. Sickening. When I fold a seemingly good set, it rarely comes back to haunt me.
I followed the WSOP
this year. I read Wil Wheaton's blog on his experience. "Don't play like a pussy" was repeated a lot. I'm trying to live by that, but in the late game, perhaps I get too obsessed with the prize. I'm worrying about the destination when I should be enjoying the journey. Regardless, it's killing me, and I wind up limping home rather than striding confidently.
So, anyone have any sage words? Commiserations? Anything at all. I'm hooked on poker, and I'm getting hooked on this message board as well. I just wanted to share my tale from today with you lot, as none of my friends even understand poker, let alone play it. My wife is up on the lingo now, but really doesn't get the nuts and bolts of it.
Apologies for the long post, but I'm a writer, and since I'm paid to write about video games, I can't really weasel poker into that gig sadly. (Since I don't actually give a crap about video games. Writing about something I'm passionate about makes a change.)
Thanks for reading this far. Hope to see you in the Noble freeroll soon. Unfortunately I'm in a poor position financially, so winnings are my only bankroll. So I have to place in the money on Noble so I can buy into the $5 one
I've got Super System 2 out of the library, but I'm debating getting both Brunson books from Amazon to add to my "Everything Poker Strategy
Book", which seems surprisingly good, and the crappy WPT book which pimps the WPT every other page.
One thing: Anyone know a good way to remember how to figure odds
, outs etc... My brain just fries on the math side most of the time. So much so that when multiple players are all-in, I have a hard time figuring out whose won. Any tests, exercises, websites etc... To help with this aspect... I'm not a maths dunce by any stretch, but calculating all this stuff in just a few seconds drives me nuts, so any help appreciated.
Right, I'm done now... Thanks again for reading. Hopefully the good folk who read this far can help me improve my game.