Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Not a Good Day

I had the worst day of my poker career yesterday, in terms of net loss and almost in terms of BB/hand. It was especially frustrating, because I’m trying to move up in limits, and I really could have done without my bankroll taking such a big hit. One of the problems with moving up in limits is that your net winnings and loses for any given day can increase dramatically, which can be troubling if you concentrate on any specific session. A year ago I would sit down with $25 and in a particularly bad session it would still last an hour or two. Yesterday there were a few times when I lost that much in a single hand. Hopefully one day I’ll be playing in games where that represents a single bet, but I’m no where near there yet.

I want to blame my poor showing yesterday on a combination of bad luck and bad cards, but I seem to do that whenever I’m running bad, and I can’t keep using that as a crutch. True, I could be playing perfect poker, and still end up down, but somehow I doubt that I played perfectly. I mean, I’m good and all, but I don’t know if I’m quite ready to label myself as a perfect player. I think slightly above average is probably more accurate.

One of my problems is using position to my advantage. Theoretically you should be playing more hands in later position than earlier position because you have the advantage of acting after other players. Over the long term, I have played just about the same amount of hands from each position. Yesterday I seemed to be playing more from early position than later. I think part of the reason this happens is that I generally have one list of hands that I consider playable. If I’m in early position I might opt to fold some of the lesser hands on that list, but probably not as often as I should. The other problem is that the number of hands that I will play after someone has raised is considerably smaller. In later position, the chances of someone raising ahead of me is greater, so I tend to fold more often; dropping hands that I would have played if I had acted sooner. I need to pay more attention in earlier position to how likely I am to be raised after limping in, and consider that more when opting to play some of the lower tier hands. I also need to add some hands to my list to play in later position, especially in unraised pots. The obvious advantage there is that even when I don’t hit there’s often a reasonable chance that no one else hit, and I can win the pot on the flop. Or I can get out cheaply if needed.

My other problem was that I wasn’t reading players very well. I think a number of bad beats put me on a lack of confidence induced tilt, but whatever it was it was bad for me. My reads were generally off in two ways. First I kept giving my opponent credit for better hands than they had, which caused me to play too passively, either folding hands I should have won, or not winning as much as I could. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m recognizing potential hands that could beat me, but I need to put my opponent on a range of hands rather than the specific hand that I don’t want him to have. That became a self defeating cycle because I wouldn’t play hands as fast as I should, which many times allowed them to catch up, and administer the very same bad beat caused me to play timidly in the first place. The other side of that was when they actually did have good hands, and I assumed their aggression was fishlike idiocy rather than decent poker play. Sometimes I can just get a groove where I can pretty accurately tell when an opponent has a hand and how strong it is, and I can adjust my play accordingly. Yesterday, I seemed to be doing the opposite. Maybe there is a switch I can toggle to apply inverse reads to what I am currently thinking.



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