Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Slip Slidin' Away...

Well, this is my first real "slide" backwards. I've had bad days, but never really bad weeks, until now. It was bound to happen, so I've learned to embrace this as a learning and humbling experience.

First, the real statistics.

Since I hadn't hit my $300 stoploss yet (I was still around $40 away), I stepped back into the 1/2 mix, this time playing 2 tables instead of 3. More on this later.

Played 2 tables for about 45 minutes, and dropped $15.75 on a string of unplayable hands or hands that fell apart on the flop. Decided that this was the sign of a "longer then one day" slide and backed off to two tables of .50/1 for a while. Played 313 hands and came out +$2.04, for a day's loss of $13.71. Certainly not what I'd call a HORRIBLE slide, but red ink none the less.

I have to figure out what's the deal with these 1/2 tables. I honestly haven't seen better card playing there. I've been cheesed out of a lot of pots, but that happens in 50/1 also, and I'm a winning player at that level. The only other thing I have noticed is that the 1/2 tables I've been on have been much more aggressive, with more pre-flop raising and people bluffing. My thinking is, when you're in a bad run of cards, an aggressive table will eat you alive. Of course, people that grossly overplay their hands also end up making you insanely rich, so it's a double edged sword. The trouble I'm having is sensing the difference between a legit raise and a bluff. This comes with practice, I guess, but I have to believe that ABC poker will still be a winning solution above the 50/1 level. Maybe I'm making too much of what could be just natural variance. My "poker sense" tells me to ride this out and the game will come back to me, but there's that little twinge of doubt in the back of my head that says I'm playing bad poker.

I need a coach. I also need to re-read Lee Jones. I talked with The H Factor and we talked some stats. He seemed to think if anything I was a little on the tight side, but given a bad run of cards, this is a natural tendency. Other then that, the small sample of stats we discussed indicated that I'm staying the course through this rough period, so that's another notch in the "it's just variance, deal" category.

About the 2 and 3 tables thing. I've become a victim of online poker, and as such, I don't have the patience to sit and wait for people to act when I play a single table. Yes, it's easier to get a read on what everyone's deal is playing one table, but I find that I start loosening up and playing more marginal hands if I'm bored, or worse, I chase. After you haven't played a darn hand in 20 minutes, you tend to not want to believe that your pair of Queens are dead when an Ace and a King hit the board and the guy across from you suddenly wakes up and raises you. You start to convince yourself... Gotta be another Queen coming, and you peel. I find that I can follow the action and trends well with 2 tables. With 3 tables, I start to have to fall back on ABC poker. I can pick out obvious trends, like a maniac, but the subtle ones I start to miss.

I've been doing some thinking about the play I've been seeing on 1/2. There's still plenty of bad play, but there seems to be a lot more "tricky" play and there are certainly some decent players there. I'm thinking perhaps this is because, like me, there are players that improved their game at 50/1, built their bankroll, and graduated to the 1/2 tables. This has me thinking, cheapo's like me will start at 50/1 and move up. 50/1 is populated by newbies trying to sharpen their game, a couple of experienced players trying to work on some sort of "contest" of moving up the ranks, and a bunch of "Gee Whiz" folks who have the bug to start playing poker for money after screwing around for a few days in the play money section. The "Gee Whiz" guys usually never get out of 50/1, since they're never +EV. The "contesters" move up and out in a few days, having made their bankroll to do so, and the newbies start to trickle to 1/2, where they stay for some time trying to get comfortable in this level.

At the 1/2 level, you have your "seasoned" newbies. They still play a lot of "let's see the flop" type of poker, but they're a little smarter about getting away from dead hands. The "contesters" are still playing ABC "Auto-Poker". Tight/aggressive, easy to read, tough to beat, but betting into them for information works wonders on them. There are very few "Gee-Whiz" guys here. If they are here, it's because they had a lucky run in the 50/1 tables and think they're the next Gus Hanson.

Up at the 2/4 level, you're now faced with the "grizzled" newbies. These guys have honed their game pretty well, at this point, having built a decent bankroll at the 1/2 level and learning how to read opponents and use aggression intelligently. These guys are tossing more of the crap hands, but they will occasionally overplay a hand and made other fundamental mistakes. The "contesters" will spend a little more time here also, and they start to employ some poker playing here to try to intimidate and bully the not-so-newbies who are now playing tight/semi-passive poker.

3/6 is where things start the change. Here, you'll find the Gamb000ler. The Gamb000ler wants action at decent stakes, so he's got no time for anything below 3/6. The Gamb000ler will play any two cards, for any price, and is often ultra-aggressive. Here also, you'll start to see the "money farmers". There are some career poker players here who are more then happy to take the Gamb000lers money. Intermixed are the more "well to do" Gee-Whiz types who just got through watching WPT and want to play some poker, but since they're rich, they don't see the point in playing for nickel/dime antes. Most of these guys are playing the Sit-and-Goes, but occasionally you'll see one pop in to the limit game.

That's the low-limit weather report for this Wednesday. Accuracy is as much as can be expected for someone who has been heavily medicated for the last 4 days. I am feeling better. Now I need to start winning again!


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