Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Can I Lose? (Or: How Vegas Kicked My Ass ~ Hard ~ Yet Again)

Let me count the ways!

1: The one-outer. For example, the straight flush card on the river to beat my King high flush. Or the 8 on the river to give my opponent quads to beat my Jacks full.

2. The two-outer: The flopped King to give my opponent the trip Kings that cracked my Aces with all the money in pre-flop.

3. The three-outer: one of three remaining 9s in the deck (other than the one I held) which allowed my opponent to draw into the (gutshot) higher straight.

4. The four or five-outer: My favorite being getting it all in for my tournament life with AA against QJ with a J on the flop. And another on the river.

I have never in my life taken the quantity and quality of bad beats that I did over the last five days. The only merciful exception (mostly) was the $550 Deepstack Tournament on Saturday.* After surviving the straight flush mentioned above ~ which took 2/3 of my stack on the 11th hand of the game ~ I fought my way back and managed to finish 11th of 232. I played my very best game for 12 hours, and if my final call had held up (AQ v. K9, Q and 9 both on the flop, 9 on the river for my opponent's win), I would have arrived at the final table ready to contend for the whole thing.

It's impossible to get so completely crushed for so many days and so much money without starting to suspect that there is something really wrong with one's game. I estimate that I made four or five really bad plays that probably account for 20% of my losses. (And most of those decisions were made at the tail end of the trip, when my confidence was pretty rattled and my game less than optimal.) The rest of it? Well, all I can say is that I think Variance made me his BITCH on this trip. I got my money in good and got destroyed over and over.

And if you think I'm exaggerating (and who could blame you? doesn't everyone attribute their failures to bad luck?), I can tell you that I had a witness to at least some of the carnage. I am not making this shit up.

In sum — Christians: 2; Lions: Eleventy-Billion.

All I can say is, thank god I wasn't counting on my poker income paying the bills for February. Because this month is going into the books well and truly in the red.

*Actually, to be fair, I should note that I also won a one-table satellite on Friday which covered my Saturday buy-in. I didn't encounter any bad beats in that game.

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Blogger smokkee said...

be happy you cashed. i played 9.5hrs in last wed's DSE for "fun".

2/17/09 5:11 AM  
Blogger Laoch of Chicago said...

It always seems like the downturns will never end while they are occurring. I usually feel like I am playing well during these periods of ill luck but often after the losses pile up I go into a period of microtilt where I am playing suboptimally because I am having a loss aversion reflex. Thus I do not puss my edges as hard as I should, make bad call downs when I know that I have been drawn out on again.

The only solution for me is to drop down one level and play a massive amount of hands against people who do not play well.

Chin up.

2/17/09 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is important to remember in these times that poker is a long term game. How long? No one can really say. But if the Christians/Lions analogy is a guide, it was about 300 years from the birth of Christ to full conversion of the Roman Empire.

2/17/09 11:10 AM  
Blogger Civi said...

Anonymous, your humour is a even greater leveller!

2/18/09 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that off-line poker is fixed.

2/18/09 3:56 PM  
Blogger joxum (Denmark) said...

Ouch! x 4


2/18/09 4:06 PM  

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