Saturday, August 25, 2007

Before and After Science

Smooth SailingMade a so-so attempt in the Ante Up! Intercontinental Poker Series tourney on Thursday night. (A.k.a. AIPS 2: Electric Boogaloo.) The game this month was Stud Hi-Lo, which I’ve been dabbling in now and then over the last few months. Have read around in Ray Zee’s book, but have yet really to get serious about learning the game.

Ended up lasting a little over an hour, finally going poof in 49th (out of 78 entrants). Experienced some misfortune, I think -- not once, but twice during the first hour I had heads-up opponents make wheels on 7th street to scoop pots I had been poised to scoop on 6th. But overall I’m going to have to admit my lack of knowledge about the game handicapped me more than the cards.

But it’s all good. Have been navigating the calm waters of limit Hold ’em for the last few weeks. And the sailing has been, well, smooth. Sort of like side two of Brian Eno’s Before and After Science . . . .

“I am on an open sea . . . just drifting as the hours go slowly by . . . .

On Thursday I finally reached the end of my 30-day bonus period on Full Tilt (mentioned in an earlier post). Ended up clearing 80 clams on that one -- and picking up another $260 or so in the process. Adds up to a decent month on online pokery (for me). Started out sticking with $0.50/$1 LHE and a little PLO25, then about three weeks ago moved over to $1/$2 LHE where I ended up making most of that stash.

Back in the spring I had been playing a lot of $1/$2 LHE. While I had been winning overall, my results were inconsistent from session to session, and it seemed a struggle just to make that one big bet per 100 hands. Now, after taking a break for a few months to play almost nothing but pot limit Omaha, I’m back at the LHE tables and doing much, much better than before.

What’s the difference?

First of all, I’m playing full ring games now as opposed to mostly 6-max before. I had done well at short-handed $0.50/$1 LHE, but couldn’t really get it going at the next level. One factor I know that hurt my overall win rate was my having trouble getting away from the table when things weren’t going well. (Hence those “Rules of Engagement” I gave myself to try to curb those lengthy losing sessions.)

Poker Tracker tells me I played 2,308 hands of $1/$2 full-ring LHE on Full Tilt over the last three weeks. For funsies, I thought I’d compare some of the stats associated with those hands with my last 2,300 hands of $1/$2 6-max LHE hands (played back in Feb./Mar.).

Nice run here of late. I had thought the hands from Feb./Mar. would have paled a little more in comparison -- in fact, if I had guessed how I did during that group of hands, I’d have said I probably had come out a loser. My overall totals for $1/$2 6-max play aren’t nearly as impressive -- I’m actually a shade in the red over the 6,000-plus hands I have loaded into PokerTracker. (I know I’ve done a little better than that overall as my hands from Bodog -- where I did well -- aren’t included.)

I also thought that hands-per-session stat would have looked differently for the earlier group -- looks like I really was following my Rules there and limiting the sessions. These are small samples, I know, but I’m not seeing anything too out-of-the-ordinary here. (Do you?)

A second, major change has to be the way I’m dealing with losing those five-outers or getting AA cracked or the like. Sort of thing would often throw me way off my game before, and in 6-max getting unhinged can bite you in the arse pretty quickly. Perhaps it has something to do with the relative calm of limit Hold ’em when compared to the PLO rolly-coaster, but I’m rarely feeling agitated at all during these sessions.

Which is a good thing. Life’s agitating enough.

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