Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fear

Probably my biggest leak is fear.

I tend to play afraid of losing. Not sure why it is, but I'm afraid of going broke. I'm no where near going broke. Sure, I'm not able to play huge like some people, but if my math is correct, I can buy into a few hundred mirco-limit sngs.

I'm still playing bar poker. Yes, in a lot of ways, its ghey and the play can pretty well suck, but lets face it. I live in an area the HAS NO LIVE POKER FOR MONEY. The nearest casino is an hour from my house. I'd love to hook up with Drizz in the Cities for some limit action, but this is summer in Minnesota. We don't do indoor activities from June to September. Dear God, this is the most beautiful place in the world...get your ass to the lake!

Three months ago, I really didn't care about bar poker. Poker for points is ghey. It really showed in my results. I hadn't made the points in 2 months. I didn't write about here much. OhCountess was even asking me why I was going. Being the neanderthal that I am, it took me a while to figure out what she was asking.

Why was I going to poker league?

I finally figured it out about a month ago. I'm going to poker league because as crappy as some of the play is, I get a real opportunity to play with people of different skill levels. To me, there is a huge difference between online poker and live poker and honing those skills that really help live poker is important.

With that thought in mind, I started going to poker league with a new attitude. I went there to do what it is I think I do best. Read people for weakness and tendencies and put them on a hand and know when they've improved. I also wanted most importantly to learn to trust my skills and play without fear.

The first week I went in with this new attitude, I made the final table for the first time in a couple of months. I was out in seventh, but I could see the change. The next week, I went out on the bubble. Playing without fear also means I've been playing much more aggressively; taking more risk in certain situations to build a stack...we all know that doesn't always work (damn river card).

Last week, I was really beginning to find my stride. I felt I was playing really good tournament poker and making very good decisions. I made the final table and finished 3rd.

I know what some of you are thinking. This is bar poker. These people are inferior, I am learning nothing, but I'll ask you this...when you go play in the World Series of Poker, what are the odds of you sitting at the table with a complete moron? Chances are, when you sit down to the table, you will need to learn the skills necessary to play ANYONE. Even at league, there are people there that are playing LAGy poker and there are people there play TAGy poker. There are also complete idiots playing the two cards they see. I really believe that the best players don't get that way by being able to beat Phil Ivey, they got to be the great player by beating the morons and Phil Ivey at the same table.

Last night, I checked out the leader board to see where I was at. 4 weeks of * as a point total had left me one option. If I win the tournament, I go to regionals and that's just what I did. I felt sharp. I trusted my reads. I played the player and I won the tournament. At no time last night did I have AA, KK, QQ. I just picked my spots and when I played, I played without fear and was very aggressive.

It felt really good to play poker this way. I didn't get all pissed off because I was card dead. I just waited for a spot when weaker players were playing weaker cards and I made them think. I found spots where I could float a guy that didn't like to call large bets with just a pair. I made him pay for that. I flopped a couple of big hands and bet for value every street, maximizing my value on those players that like to chase.

Normally, when I was playing, even pocket aces, my heart would race when I was all in. I feared losing the hand. It was weird, but my heart never raced last night. I also had a tendency to over bet a strong hand for fear someone would suck out on me.

Last night, I trusted my read.

In one hand, I played K2d in a limped pot. The flop came 2A2. I bet the flop, not huge, but enough to find out who the aces were. I got one caller. I was really glad who called too. I know this particular player will call ever medium bet I make and she would have taken control had she had A2. I bled her for most of her chips as she called with just aces up. No fear. I knew if the ace came I was done, but that's really just a two outer. No fear.

To me, this is what poker is all about. Its not about just playing other TAGs and seeing if you can find the smallest of chinks in their armour. Its about finding a way to win, against anyone.

I like winning. I hate losing.

7 comments:

Instant Tragedy said...

I play Bar poker occasionally, but I get off my game when I play with them until recently. I realized that if I play my game I can win. Sometimes, like the last time I played, I get sucked out on. Still +EV. It's free and you can truly learn to search for tells.

Enjoy and congrats!

IT

Riggstad said...

I feel ya there with the bar poker Cap, but I think what most people dont realize is what it breeds.

figure on any given night half the field just wants to splash around.

My tour has a pile of different tpye players who just love to play. And those that ae extremely competitive and good.

When I asked, I always tell people, play your game. Play as if you are playing the best players in the world.

It all evens out. all you can do is make the best decisions. After that, its all luck.

My final out said...

I have played some bar poker and tend to get bored rather quickley, but I can see your point about it. I think I might have to give it another shot.

In other news, how is it going down there weather wise? I hope all is well as far as the horrible weather so far this summer.

-Grouse

OhCaptain said...

Thanks for stopping by guys!

Bar poker is a weird beast, but I think that attitude of playing a good game and learning to win without cards is what its good for. Just watch out for the idiot. You can beat him too...

Grouse- Thanks for the concern. So far so good down here. We are fine, but there are many people starting to feel the pain with the weather. Big flooding problems appear to be getting worse before they are getting better. Thankfully, we are in a high spot.

Stay dry!

4dbirds said...

I play bar poker every Monday night and hopefully get home in time to play the MATH. I play for the same reason you do, there is not live cash poker in Northern Virginia.

Drizztdj said...

Its a sin to stay indoors during the summer in Minnesota....

... except when the mosquitos are in full feeding mode.

DrewFours said...

You make an excellent point, and I think my biggest leak is also fear, but I also think I can identify which one: The fear that I'm being bluffed.

Of course, at the levels I play it happens a lot less than my mind tells me it does. But fear is a strong motivator so I keep making those re-raises or calls, and I keep leaking...

Isn't self-awareness supposed to be most of the battle?