Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Understanding...Poker League - Varience

I'm beginning to understand Rizen's latest article in the latest issue of Card Player magazine. "Attitude Adjustment: The Keys to Enjoying Poker" In this article, he discusses not playing poker results oriented and accepting varience for what it is. The left-overs when you don't win.

Poker league is a great place for me to learn to handle varience. To be a better player at poker league, I need to better understand how my opponents play and then adjust my game to play them optimaly.

Last night was the final week of the 2nd 6 week summer league. Now, I have had a horrible summer for results. I think I made the points once all summer. Many of the weeks, I lost to inferior hands getting lucky and taking me out, but the bigger question well did I play? For the most part, I think I played OK. But I don't think I played optimal compared to my opponents.

My game has been very results driven. I played to make the points most of the time. I play my cards and don't really think about the other people at the table, most of whom don't really have a clue except what 2 cards sit in front of them, but therein lies their weakness. They don't have a clue, some do, but most don't. Many of them win by just sheer agression, others win because the poker gods smile upon them. What I need to do, is identify each players style and the play the game that best counters their style.

In the final week, I had Ron in my BB, Virginia in my LB, a drunk/agressive guy in my CO, the guy with KK from last week one to the right of CO. Ron is agressive. He always raises. Last night, he also had cards. I was smooth calling him after limping to him trying to trap him, it would have worked had he not been sitting there with good hands. AQ and AJ in the BB are nice when you are an agressive player. I got as low as 600 chips playing with Ron. I battled back, picking pocket 9s to take my stand. It worked, and I quadupled up. Unfortunately, the blinds were about to get steep.

I slid buy until the blinds were at 200/400. I had gotten myself to about 3600 chips and we were down to 3 tables. The old guy straight across from me, let call him Jerry, is kind of a moron when it comes to poker. He likes to play the long shots and seems to get lucky when he needs it. He had been the chip leader most of the night. Sucking out on poor, innocent people. Well, he just got burned for a huge portion of his chips. He had 3300 left. The very hand after losing most of his stack, he moves all in. I figured he was steaming and playing a big card...probably king high or ace high. I'm on the button and I find A♠J♠. I think for a minute and decide I came here to win this thing. I know I have him beat. I go all in, with my 3600 chips, (I drove, so I don't need a cab).

He turns over K♠6♠. Not ideal, but at least I was ahead. He spikes a K on the flop and I don't improve. Oh well. He's bound to do that about 35% of the time. One moron at the table was nice enough to point out that it was a coin flip. OK...not sure where you got that idea...but we'll let you live in your own little fantasy world.

The point of all this was, I put my money in with the best hand. I've been doing that all season. Which is good. What I need to work on, is play for more pots that I have a good chance of winning. Playing the little pots early, building up a stack so that when varience hits, I don't grab my keys...I just wait for another spot.