Friday, April 23, 2004


A rifle is only a tool. It's a hard heart that kills. If your killer instincts are not clean and strong you will hesitate at the moment of truth. You will not kill. You will become dead Marines. And then you will be in a world of shit. Because Marines are not allowed to die without permission. -- Gunnery Sgt. Hartman - Full Metal Jacket

This has been a difficult, if short, poker week for me. Last week, I was wallowing between plus or minus $50 on my bankroll, not making any headway at all.

This week started with a mercilous beating on the No Fold'em table in Florida, followed by a gawdaweful slide that evening in Party, mitigated only slightly by a runner-up finish in a $5 sit and go. Today was another horrific beating. I played 4 $10 sit and goes and only placed in the money on one, for a $25 net loss. Then I went to the 50/1 tables and was greeted with bad beat over bad beat, including one where I was in against two maniacs capping every street with my top two pair only to get fucking rivered by some cretin holding pocket 8's when the third 8 hit the board.

And thus is how my week is going. But I can't help but think there's more. Read on, my faithful bretheren.

I played poker for about 3 or 4 hours today, and I had not a drop of fun. The sit and goes were just plain frustrating. I can't play more then one or I lose concentration, and the play on them was glacially slow. I found myself on several occasions wandering around the internet waiting for someone to make a decision, and this didn't help me following the table at all. The ring games later were just simply a grind, and what's worse, I think I'm getting worse at playing the longer I sit there in the low limit Hell that is 50/1. No one is smart/observent enough on that level to realize/respect a raise, and likewise, the players there are bad enough that you really have no idea what a raise means from half of them.

I went back and read up on some of the more important points of low limit play, including an interesting post on Two Plus Two from Ed "MajorKong" Miller about why people aren't crushing the low limit games.


The advice seems solid. The odds demand that you stay in a big pot, especially if you have a hand that might possibly still be the winner or improve to a winner. My problem comes in the form of instinct. After a good many hours at the low limit tables, I've learned one thing to be true; if you think they have it, they have it. If I'm holding KK and it's raised up, the pot is pretty big by the flop. If the flop has an ace in it, I can pretty much guarentee someone has me beat. If I could side bet it, I would do it every day and twice on Sunday. So, lets say this is the case, I hold Kings and the board flops an ace. Let's also say that the pot is now 6BB, including the bet and call ahead of me on the flop... It's my call. Call? Raise? Fold? I have to assume I'm behind here, and I only have 2 outs.

In my mind, this is a fold in every circumstance. The pot cannot be big enough ever to cover the odds for a call here, but according to MajorKong a fold here is disasterous. I can't count on aggression to move anyone who has an ace but a crap kicker off the pot. If I couldn't get them to fold to my raise pre-flop, I can pretty much count on them sticking around for the duration if they caught their ace.

I think during this period I've become more and more tight/passive. I've lost my way. My game is starting to rust. Mold. Founder. Poker at the 50/1 level is at roughly the same intellectual level as arguing with a 14 year old. It doesn't matter what you say, they've already made up their mind before you've said word one.

So, what's the issue? Information overload. Especially considering that I've read so many conflicting concepts on how to beat the low limit game. Some say take the "damn the torpedoes" full throttle aggressive mode. Others say "fit or fold" and assume the worst, 'cuz it's probably true. This is where I am at the moment. I think after some review, it's definately time for me to turn up the aggression, but how much? At what point does "aggressive" turn into "wreckless"?

What's more frustrating is this. I look at guys like Lord Geznikor and David Ross. Guys who are posting $1000+ weeks. I don't fancy myself the next Howard Lederer, but I do feel like I have the skill to play like these guys. I mean, shit, LG is playing 4 tables. I have a pretty quick brain, and there's no way in Hell I can get accurate reads on players on 3 tables. 4 tables is all about ABC poker. It's gotta be. So, what's the secret? If LG can make $1000 a week playing $3-$6, why can't I make $200 a week playing $.50-$1.00? The play certainly isn't WORSE at the $3-$6 level! So, what am I doing wrong? Is it that the .50/1 level is so unpredictable that making a consistant profit is MORE difficult? And if this is the case, wouldn't it be more profitable for me to move up to a higher limit even if my bankroll is a little short for supporting it?

I still want poker to be fun. I think it would be if I could at least make some positive headway. I don't play poker for the money at the moment, but I certainly can't argue with the idea that the potential for me to actually MAKE some decent money factors into the equation. After all, poker is fun, but having poker pay for the things I'd like without having to sacrifice my "earned income" for them is the spice that keeps me playing, at the moment.

It seems like I'm babbling, and maybe I am. Deal. Trying to get these thoughts out in the open may attract some help in sorting them out. I'm not the type of person that likes to impose on other people, especially when there is really nothing I can offer in return other then gratitude. My man HDouble has taken on a young apprentice in Monk, who is tearing it up, having jetted up to the $2-$4 tables in rapid order before running into a dry run of cards that sent him down a peg. I cheer for Monk, but I feel a twinge of sadness in having missed the opportunity to be in his shoes.

I'd really like to sit down with a Lord Gezinkor or a David Ross and just pick their brains. What is their strategy? It has to be reletively simple to be effective on 3 or 4 tables simultaniously.

Perhaps it's just that I suck?


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