Thursday, January 01, 2004

This Has Been A Most Peculiar Day

Yesterday was most definitely one for the record books. Now that I've had a day to cool down and analyze the goings on.

First and foremost in my mind is this. I lost about $25 playing solid poker and having terrible luck. I lost the other $25 on an absolute tilt. Now, I don't remember exactly WHAT particular event set me off... I think the biggest thing that was irking me was, every time I'd have a playable hand, the board would come up with four of a suit I didn't have in my hand, almost assuring that someone would have the flush on me. I swear I saw the board come up 4 to a suit 14 times in two hours!

I decided to play a $10+$1 sit and go. I get AA about 6 hands in and shove all in. I get called up with some clown playing something like J9o. He hits the straight, my head hits the table. Out in 10th.

I immediately set into "fuck it" mode, log into a $5+$1 sit and go and play like a man possessed. I still play semi-tight, but when I get anything decent, I'd shove all-in. Managed to make a pretty good chip empire with this, but, as is so typical of me, I end up busting out in 4th when a player with about the same size stack as mine calls when I get QQ in the pocket and push all-in. What did she have?

Wait for it...

Yes, in true PartyPoker style, I get called down with the mighty 59s. And you know, if it's s000000000000000ted, it can't lose.

So, I bow out in a most predictable 4th place. Woo-fucking-hoo.

I did manage to pin up a 3rd place in a $10-$1 sit and go... Otherwise my losses would have been $61, and I'd have been actively searching for rope and a sturdy crossbeam.

So, what have we learned, class? Well, two things. First of all, have a stop-loss limit. If your stop loss limit is -25 BB, then you need to, you know, STOP! The second thing is, if you feel yourself starting to tilt, it doesn't matter what else you do, but you need to NOT be playing any poker for money. Either I need to head over to the play money tables and tilt there, or I need to go for a run or play with the cat or something else to preoccupy my brain.

Another thing to do is have a stop-win. Say your stop-win is +25BB. So, the idea is, if you hit +25BB, it's time to walk.

On the surface, one would argue that this is sort of a superstitious mentality. Since every play is mutually exclusive from each other, there is no such thing as "hot streaks" or "cold streaks". The problem, and the reason why you need to have stops, is the way human emotion plays out. If you're on a cold streak, no matter how disciplined you are, you're still going to be effected by it. You might press hands that you know in your mind are beat, but your heart tells you that that pot will go a long way towards cutting those losses. The proverbial "good money after bad" syndrome.

On the other hand, being on a huge rush can also have an adverse effect long term. If you start getting a huge rush, your adrenaline starts pumping, and you start getting that "I'm indestructible" feeling. Again, this might result in loosening up your hand requirements, pushing marginal hands when they should be folded, and so forth.

It's long been drummed into us grinders heads that long term results are not necessarily tied to the short term variance, in that it's the long term results that count. I'd submit though that, in a game where the long term results are nothing more then the culmination of short term results, making even small errors in the short term can drastically effect the long term outcome.

In a nutshell, you must always be focused and disciplined while in the game to reap the maximum of the rewards, and any situation that reduces either of those costs you money.

Bring your 'A' game or don't play.


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