Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gun Shy

Not running so well the last few days. For me the losing session usually takes a similar shape. Begins with bad beats and/or “nothing-you-can-do”-type hands where I play a hand correctly (or at least reasonably) but lose out. Then comes the sketchy, “I’m-gonna-get-it-back-and-quick”-type play that generally makes it all but impossible to pull myself back up.

For example, it was about my fifth hand today when I was in the big blind and called a preflop raiser with my 6s 6h. Four players saw a flop of Jd 6d 2h. I bet, two players folded, and the preraiser raised. I reraised and he just called. The turn brought the Kd, I bet and he called. The river was a blank, I again bet, he again called and showed his Js Jc. I proceeded to lose a couple of hands with lower flushes, then suffered a bad beat or two. That’s when the decision-making mechanism started to weaken. Next thing you know I’m cold-calling preflop raises with KJ-offsuit and the like. I’m chasing when the outs aren’t all “clean” (e.g., going for a straight with a flush draw or pair on board). I’m calling down coordinated boards with middle pairs. And so forth.

Toward the end of the session I had a fairly rapid sequence of three hands that told me it was time to step away -- not because I was losing (although that was reason enough, to be sure), but because I realized I was no longer confident I could make correct decisions. These three hands came relatively quickly -- within an orbit or so of the 6-max $0.50/$1.00 limit game I was playing. I thought I’d briefly describe these hands as a demonstration of how a player’s decision-making abilities might become compromised by the right (or wrong) series of events.

In the first hand I was dealt Ks Ac in middle position and raised preflop. I had one caller behind me, and both blinds called. The flop was an unhappy 5d 3c 6d, but both blinds checked to me. I bet out and only the big blind called me. I wasn’t too concerned about the big blind since I’d seen him routinely calling flop bets and then often letting go. I was glad to see the Kh come on the turn. The big blind checked and I bet out only to be check-raised. A combination of suspicion and stubbornness led me to reraise and the big blind called. Then came the river, the 4h, and the big blind bet. I called to see my opponent showing the 2sQc. “Nice,” I typed. “Thx,” he replied. Perhaps he was also being sarcastic.

I might have taken solace in fact that I had, as it turned out, read the situation correctly from beginning to end. Still, I was out another $5.50. A couple of hands later I’m in the big blind and get dealt Qs 5h. The button and small blind both call, and I check to see an unexciting flop of 8c Kc Jh. Everyone checks. The turn is the 9d, and again, everyone checks. The river brings the Th, giving me a nice little, unexpected straight. The small blind bets, I raise, the button calls, and the small blind also calls. We all have queens, as it turns out. The button also has an ace, though, and thus gets the whole pot for himself.

Hmm. I look around the table. On the right is someone who check-raises the turn with a gutshot draw and a king on board after his opponent preraised. On the left is someone who doesn’t raise preflop from the button with AQ, nor does he raise on the river when holding the nuts. How do I play against these people, I wonder? I’m almost ambivalent when two hands later I’m on the button and look down to see KhKc. The UTG limps, I raise, both blinds call as does the UTG. The flop comes 4s 3h 9c and the small blind bets, the big blind calls, the UTG folds, and I raise. The SB calls as does the BB. The turn is the 4d and again the SB bets out. The BB folds and I think for a moment. The way things have been going, he could well have really made trips here, I decide. I can’t fold, though, so I call. The river is the Th and the SB bets out again. I make the call, forcing him to show his As 7s.

A ten-dollar pot for Shamus, although I can’t say I enjoyed it that much. That’s because I knew even though I’d won the hand, I was lost. Having shot and missed so many times previously, I’d become too skittish to pull the trigger when I needed to. Not a good way to be, I decided, and so quietly moved the mouse up to the upper right corner and clicked “Leave Table.” As I probably should have done a few dozen hands earlier.

Photo: “Smith & Wesson "Military and Police" revolver,” Oleg Volk. CC BY 2.5.

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Blogger Mattastic said...

Be greatful for the donks, without them we might just go broke!

Nothing you can do to set over set, jsut put it down to variance and move on. BTW, where do you get the card icons in your blog, would like to add them to mine!

7/12/2006 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Shame you are running bad. This post mirrors exactly the same that happens to me when I'm making silly mistakes or getting bad beats. Anyway I was that pissed off and my cash game confidence was shot so I decided to go back to basics and lowered the limits from $1 - $2 to 0.10 and 0.20 and just start again.

This has frustrated me but has gave me discipline. I'm now folding hands that I would have called down to the river and losing $5 - $6. Okay so the pots are bigger when you win them but it doesn't take long to lose $80 or so with a couple of bad beats and a few mistakes.

I hope your luck changes

7/12/2006 8:06 PM  

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