Sunday, May 30, 2004

Saved By The Bell

It's amazing what a small, subtle change can do to your game. Once you get beyond the "basics", poker is a game of precision. The smallest of changes can magnify into huge differences in the long term.

As you've no doubt been experiencing with me, my sit and go games have taken on a rather tight spiral towards broke-ism.

Part of the problem, after some review, is I fail to change gears at the appropriate time, especially when I'm on the bubble. In fact, in the last half dozen or so, I've gone back to ultra-tight when fighting off the bubble. This is okay if you have a healthy stack, but it's a disaster when you're at or near the bottom of the stack size rankings at the table. You rapidly get to a point where your stack is so small someone is obligated to call you, since you're desperate. You're depending on the cards to win. You're gambling. Since most players slip into "survival mode" when it gets down to 5 or 4 handed. This is an outstanding time to start making moves. Not stupid moves, mind you, but I think if the table has locked down and become ultra-tight, you can start to make some moves with lesser holdings. Maybe. Maybe I'm just full of shit and I've now adopted a dooming strategy... Ugh. Thinking is hard.

$10+$1 - 1st - +39
$10+$1 - 6th - -$11
$10+$1 - 1st - +$39

The loss was actually almost an great success story. I'm in the 6 seat and in the 10 seat is an absolute bona-fide calling station. This tool would play anything, and for some reason he felt the insane urge to push Kx hands hard. Anyway, I've got AKs early on. I raise and pick up one caller along with Calling Station Boy. Flop comes K56, with the 5 and 6 spades. He min-bets, I raise it to a pot sized bet and we're heads up. He calls. Turn comes a Tc and he bets half the pot. I re-raise him all-in.. He deliberates for most of his time and finally calls.. And turns over...

K5o. I get no further help and I'm down to T35 with the blinds at 30/15. I go into desperation shove mode, pushing with anything decent. I managed to double up a few times and made it to a passable stack size, but the table went tight again and the blinds by this time were huge. Caller Station Boy across is constantly going to the river with K5 and K6 (which he got an unusual number of times). Somehow he doesn't die off. I'm finally facing being blinded to the felt again and shove with ATs. AQo calls me and no one gets help. Best I could do.

Unless the wife works tomorrow, I'm taking a couple of days off from the tables to go visit the parents.

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I've been starting to appreciate the value of the small-stack push as well. Even more important is the lack of fear when you get down to the bubble. Sure, every once in a while it's going to back-fire, but that's balanced by the fact that it more often puts you in position for a chance at first.

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