Friday, May 01, 2009

Departing on AA

Departing on AAIt’s May Day. It’s what? May day? Mayday, Mayday! Good Gawd. The World Series of Poker is less than four weeks away!

My plans are still somewhat up in the air, as they say, but I’m a-gonna be there. As they also say, details to come. And speaking of being up in the air, I ain’t even booked a flight to Vegas yet, but that’ll happen soon.

Thought I’d write a short note today about my own play. Been managing to squeeze in short sessions of limit hold’em here and there, generally not playing more than 100-200 hands at a stretch (usually an hour or so, as I’ll often play two tables). That actually is my usual schedule, really, and if I were to look back and study my stats carefully, I would likely discover that is my most profitable modus operandi. That is to say, I do best with the short sessions, ’cos the longer ones tend to be longer ’cos I’m in a hole and trying to get “back to quits.”

The art of quitting is, of course, one of the more important skills in poker. In Elements of Poker, Tommy Angelo writes a longish chapter on quitting. At the start he explains why the chapter is relatively long: “What happened was, I started writing about quitting, and well, you guessed it, I couldn’t quit.”

“In order to quit well,” Angelo continues, “you must be in control of yourself at the end of the session. It can be no other way. To achieve your highest possible score, you must be at your A-performance and your A-mindset all the way to the end.” We all are aware of this idea, I think, but as with most things in poker, easier said than done.

I had one session this week conclude in a particular way, and I realized that I’ve sometimes purposely forced myself to quit simply because I have been dealt one specific hand. Of course, if I’ve only played a short while and get dealt this hand, I won’t quit, because I know I want to play at least an hour or so. But if I’m getting somewhere close to that one hour-mark and pick it up, I know it has happened more than once that I’ll go ahead and put a tic in the “Sit out next hand” box, thereby readying myself to leave no matter how things turn out.

What’s the hand? American Airlines, of course. My ticket outta there.

Why quit on aces? Well, for one thing, while I like to think I don’t get too tilty that often, I do know getting aces cracked generally doesn’t have such a great effect on my overall mood, making it harder to be at my “A-performance” and have my “A-mindset.” Not that I’m expecting to lose the hand, mind you, but I am anticipating those potentially less-than-pleasant side effects should things not go my way.

On the other hand, if I win, well, that’s not a bad way to leave, either, yes? With the memory of having the best of it, and getting paid... in other words, happy poker thoughts to carry me to my next session.

I know it’s a fairly artificial way to make the quitting decision, and, of course, one can’t necessarily sit around and wait to be dealt aces so one can leave. So I ain’t necessarily recommending it as a genuine strategy, though, like I say, I’ve noticed myself doing it every now and then.

What happened earlier this week was I had been two-tabling for a little over an hour, and after having dug a decent-sized hole had gotten back close to even when I picked up AsAh under the gun (6-max., $0.50/$1.00). I think I might’ve already sat out on my other table and so was out the door anyway, but did indeed click “Sit out next hand” as I watched four of my five opponents call my raise.

The flop came Qc9cAd. Top set, but with that board I knew when I led out that most if not all of my opponents would probably stick around. All but one did. Turn a safe 4d, though now we’re looking at another flush draw out there. All four stayed for one more card. The river was the Qh (Flippin’ sweet!), and I led out again. Others seemed to like that river card, too. Here’s how it played out (RSS readers might have to click through):

Easy as A-B-C, 1-2-3. I hit the runway thereafter. Even if I lose that one, I know I ain’t gonna be in the mood to continue.

Hard-Boiled Poker turned three this weekFurther evidence of how busy & distracted I’ve been lately: the third birthday of Hard-Boiled Poker happened earlier this week -- the day I played that hand, actually -- and I forgot to mark the occasion here.

In fact, I didn’t even think of it until this post took me back to one of the very first posts I ever wrote here, a mini-satire called “Folding AA: A 12-Step Program.” Perhaps good for a grin or two.

Here's hopin’ everyone’s weekend ends up aces.

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Blogger Simon said...

Happy birthday mate!

5/01/2009 8:25 AM  
Blogger racksfull said...

That was a nice pot.
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The site Pitbull is small but I think they will grow.
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GL at the tables.

5/03/2009 12:37 AM  

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