Monday, January 18, 2010

How do I stop tapping the glass?

Today, I was reminded for the billion time about something I've only begun to improve in my poker game. While catching up on the Gambling Tales Podcast, episode #5 contained an interview with Lee Childs. During that interview, the topic turned to a topic that an online poker company (I think) had asked him for his opinion.

The topic they were discussing was protecting the fish. From how I remember it, what the card room wanted to do was rate players on their skills and group the sharks with the sharks and the fish with the fish. From the card room's perspective, this is a great idea(ish). They are protecting the fish from the sharks. I think Lee is right though, the sharks will hate this.

This got me thinking about the whole fish/donkey/dumb ass thing. In Super System by Doyle Brunson, Doyle talks about being competitive with class:

"Not only is it bad's bad business." (pg. 47)
One of our goals as a better poker player is to cultivate competitors that will continually bring money to the table that we can when, if we play better. Make sense, right?

But the hardest thing to do at the poker table is keep a level head on this subject. Take this hand I played to end a sng the other night. We are in the money 3 handed. The villain min raises from the button. He's done this so many times and when he only min raises and his cards exposed, it's always been an ace. I figured he was always doing this just to steal the blinds and his min requirement was A high. In the BB, I decided to just smooth call with AKo. My thought is there is an extremely good chance I have this guy dominated. He hits two pair, so be it, but if we both pair our ace. BOOM. I should be a 3:1 favorite. Let's do this.

Everything went as planned. Ace in the door, he min raises again, I pot size reraise and there's the shove. I call to find my dream, he's got AQo. Right where I want to be right? 3:1. You might just suck at poker if you don't know where this is going, but there was a Q on the river.

I don't know why this is so hard, but with all my strength, I just really wanted to make a comment about what a sucker he was. I mean damn! Friggin' hand of the devil beat me! Ugh!!!

Why is this so hard? Deep down I know every time I put my money in the middle, I want the other guy to do something stupid and leave me way ahead. But when that 3 outer hits on the river...this game can be so cruel.

I've noticed over the years that every now and then I can't take the beats any more I just dust off some of my bankroll playing like an idiot myself. Why is this? I suppose, Doyle mentions in the same section a few pagers earlier,
"Never Play upset." (pg. 39)
But yet I do.

Telling people they are morons because they got in weaker then they should isn't helping the bottom line. What I want to learn how to do is take my beat and let the other guy walk away thinking how much fun it is to play poker. Sure, he's a got a little bit of my money in his stack, but in the long run, won't I win it back? Isn't this just like spotting them a little for the next encounter?

How do you keep from ripping into the winner of a crazy 3 outer?


Trevor said...

If everyone played perfect poker, none of us could ever make any money. Rewind to the beginning of the hand, switch roles, and honestly tell me whether you're getting all your money in the middle w/ AQ in his shoes?

But, I digress. Embrace variance. Coddle your feeshes. Make the game fun again, not just for the fish like me, but the wanna-be sharks who sometimes forget why it's so easy to make money at this game.

manoj said...

Really very nice post thanks for sharing.

matt tag said...

I have a couple newer guys in my home game that are AWFUL. Since I'm the host of my home game, I have embraced trying very hard to keep them in the game, which means doing things like agreeing with their (faulty) logic when they justify calling 3 streets with pocket nines with an ace and a queen on the board.
I need them in my game, so 1) I can make money, and 2) we have enough guys to play each week

Memphis MOJO said...

Nice post.

jamyhawk said...

Just play again.

Just play again...

Drizztdj said...

How do you keep from ripping into the winner of a crazy 3 outer?

Look at it for it what it is. You had XX.X% to win versus his X.X% to win.

Once the cards are laid on the table with cards to come you are gambling (unless someone is drawing completely dead).

Visualize that next time.

Special K said...


Good post. Thanks for the link. You are a true friend of the Gambling Tales Podcast. One note: The subject of the interview was Lee Jones ( of Cake Poker.

Ernest said...

Nice post.
Along those same lines- whenever somebody shows their cards when they don't have to I always give them the old "nh" That's what they're looking for right? Literally fishing for a compliment. I always want to encourage them to give me as much free info as possible!

Sean D said...

Remember that at one time...

You were a guppy too.

How many times did you two out a player during the Mookie or some other tournament?

You can't let the game get you.

If you do, then you will never master the game.

I had a home game the other day and the same stupid fish (calls with 42o and 710o hitting two pair on the flop twice calling big bets because 'I'm not going to be threatened by your scare bets') comes out the winner in the tourney.

But when the cash game started he was bleeding cash.

I think my new favorite passage is from Phil Gordon's Little Green Book about tilt. If you get outdrawn , don't dwell on it, just imagine it was you that outdrew and that you doubled up.

The chips will come your way.

I KNOW it!

diverjoules said...

That AK vs AQ for whatever reason never bothers me as much as when I have AA,KK or QQ and some douche I mean guppy calls a PF raise with AQo and then hits runner runner runner for a flush to beat me. That ERKS ME TO no end. GRRRRRR.. I need to learn more self control. WHen you find or create the key please share it. LOL..

matt tag said...

another technique - focus on your own play. Did you get play the hand correctly? If you could have seen his cards from the beginning of the hand, would you have played the same way?

Then I remember the percentages. If I got it in as a 4-1 favorite, for example, I remind myself "the next 99 times I play this hand, I will win 80 of them, since I just lost this one".

Steve said...

It is never easy when you end up shoving with the best starting hand and get beat at the river. One way to avoid this is just check call to the river. But by doing that you will never win more than your share.

It is hard but just saying nice hand and walking it off may be the best thing. Or you could get a "Poker Brat" sweatshirt and then go on a Phil Helmuth rant!

lightning36 said...

I've found that the more I play, the less upset I get at taking a nasty beat. If I dole one out, I usually say "Tough break, bro" or something of that nature -- just acknowledging that I got lucky ... but that's poker. If I have to bend over, I just usually say something like "Cya guys" or "Have fun." No use fuming, in my mind, since I make my share of boneheaded plays.

Schaubs said...

Yo dude.

Yeah man I have been reading your blog for a while now. Moreso since we met in Vegas. I just don't have you on bloglines or on my blogroll (which will change soon).

For now I just keep hoping you tweet it up so I can link to it and read from my itouch.

keep at it.