Thursday, April 27, 2006

Don't spend it all in one place

I've been doing real well at the tables lately...playing two 45-man tournaments a night, and I've monied four straight nights in a row. I have a first place finish, two fourths, and a seventh.

Tonight I had a fourth, but I was heading for much better. With two pair, I put someone all-in and he called with nothing but a straight draw and one card left. He had a 9% chance of pulling it out, and of course he did. All I could think to say was: Don't spend all my chips in one place.

But truthfully, it's great that it works out sometimes for the chuckleheads, because the tables are full of them. He'll remember that huge hand for the rest of his poker playing days, forever risking his entire stack at stupid odds, and he'll pay me off 91% of the time. It is absolutely stunning how bad the poker is in these live games. People put real money at risk when the odds are vastly against them.

Anyway, even with my recent good run, I'm still down $250 since the start of my on-line poker experience. It's going to be a slow climb out, because I've scaled back the stakes I'm playing for quite a bit. Even if I win one of these 45-man tournaments, I'm only netting $65. But my game is improving every day, so I know it's only a matter of time.

You don't have to be a poker genius to be the best player at the table in these low-stakes games. You just need a firm understanding of odds. I don't bluff (except when the odds favor a bluff) and I don't go out of my way to disguise my good hands. I pretty much just bet when I have something and fold when I don't. The competition doesn't seem to grasp the important difference between a "good" hand and the "best" hand. Good hands don't win the chips at the end, only the best hand, and you really have to work hard to make these guys fold a good hand. I just wait til the odds are hugely in my favor, I bet big, and there's always someone anxious to pay me off.

Don't take any of this as a brag...there's no one in this audience that I'm trying to impress with my prowess (not that being down $250 is impressive at all). But I thought it would be amusing to record these observations and perhaps look back on them someday when I'm either 1) regularly winning high-stakes games, or 2) broke and destitute from my addiction.


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