Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Déjà vu. All over again.

Played with PartyPoker’s money last night [see yesterday’s entry] at $.5/1, turned the $20 into $30, taking a whopping half-hour to convert two hands and twenty folds into a 50% ROI. Took that profit, joined a $10+1 SnG.

And won.


Just like I did at Empire the night before.

Question: Why don’t I do that every night? Or at least try to do it?

Answer: I’m effing stupid.

I guess I really need to examine WHY I play. Again. No, really, this time I will.

1. Have fun – Well, I’ll probably always have some fun playing poker, since I have the discipline and intelligence to always play within my financial limits. I won’t be popping into the $15/30 or $500NL tables… ever. “A man’s got to know his limitations”

2. Make money – I might even amend this to “not lose a significant amount of money”. There is entertainment value in gambling, plain and simple. If I break even financially, I’ve won. After all, you have greater entertainment EV from playing online poker than you do spending $10 on an Adam Sandler movie, where you not only pay $10 to sit through two hours of dreck, but have ZERO chance of recouping that money. At my particular level of poker mediocrity, I probably have +EV at low limits, almost like having a 102% nickel slot machine. And I KNOW the dollar slots are 90%. Why even play those?

3. Improving my game – Oh, sure, I’m probably getting marginally better. Pot odds are more automatic now, as are quick player reads. Do I WANT to move up in limits? Um, no, not really. I think it’ll stop being fun at higher limits. This is one of the key points where I think I diverge from many of the poker bloggers (along with booze, strippers, and B&M play). Many bloggers seem intent on moving “to the next level” or improving their win-rate or playing X hands at each BB level. Bleah. Sounds like work to me.

To recap: I have fun playing online poker, as long as I don’t risk too much money. I can beat the low limit games consistently enough to stay afloat indefinitely. Better players move up, meaning the low limit games will always replenish with crappy players (either newbies or people who lost at the higher limits moving down) to finance my hobby. Therefore, I will continue to play Party/Empire $.5/1 and $10 SnGs in perpetuity with very very little risk. Makes sense to me.

Quick hand from last nights’ $.5/1 debacle: I have A9s in early position. Ten-handed, at a passive table, I call the BB. Raised from MP, called from button and both blinds, getting about 10-1, I call. Flop is QT8 with two of my suit. I bet, MP raises, one call, I passively call, not wanting the lose the guy in the sandwich seat. Turn makes my nut flush. I check, trying to drag the sandwich along for one more bet. MP bets, sandwich folds (crud), I raise, MP three-bets, I cap. River is a brick, I bet, he calls with TT.

No big deal, right? Wrong. He starts bitching about “Damn PartyPoker players”, “Lucky ass”-this, and “Chaser”-that. I keep my mouth/keyboard shut and tag him. Usually people who complain at low levels have every reason to complain. Listen, if you don’t want your flopped trips to lose, DON’T PLAY LIMIT POKER! I had odds up the wazoo that hand. In fact, I probably should have raised on the flop with my dozen outs. Had it been heads up, I probably would have.

That’s one place where my game has definitely improved: making the adjustment back and forth between limit and no-limit SnGs. I rarely play Ace-rag sooted in no-limit. Even if you pair your Ace, you’re gonna have kicker issues and you’re gonna be forced into a passive calling mode if you flop your ace (which I hate). You’re taking bad pot odds on flopping at least two of your suit or flopping two pair, which are the only hands you can reasonably hope to win with.

But in Limit poker, Ace-rag sooted is booootiful. You can limp in and try and catch the sooted flop for a low price and high implied odds, even if someone raises. If you pair your ace, you can immediately bet out. If you’re raised by the preflop raiser , you’re probably outkicked, and can comfortably get away from the hand. Remember, this would all be pre-turn, meaning you’re only betting half the BB, so you have very little risk.

Anyway, I won’t presume to be a poker strategist. I’m just a fair poker player learning how to feed off the bad ones. And happy to do it. When looking for fresh meat and thinking about moving up in limits, just remember “Never eat anything bigger than your head”


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