Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

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

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Made A Rookie Mistake

We had just made the money. My head was flooded with happy-making endorphins.

I looked down at QQ in the cut-off; it was the first premium hand I'd seen in the nearly two hours we'd been playing day 2. "Don't go broke with this hand," I told myself, "it's only a pair of queens."

The action folded around to me and I made a standard raise. The button re-raised me, almost tripling my bet. He and I had approximately equal stacks.

With that re-raise, I gave him the following range: AA, KK, QQ (not likely for obvious reasons), JJ, possibly 10 10, and AK. Or air, as an aggressive button move to counter a cut-off steal, although I would assign that possibility a relatively low likelihood.

Should I raise or call? I thought I'd take a flop, and if it came with an A or a K, I could get away from my QQ easily. Of course, by doing so, I pretty much defined my own hand range to my opponent.

I called. (Probably a mistake: if I had re-raised and then he had come over the top, I would have had a very clear idea where I was.)

The flop came 9 8 2. I checked, intending to check-raise.

He bet out. I raised, making it 20K to go.

He moved all in. (This same player, a couple of hands earlier, had claimed to have laid down JJ to an all-in bet, saying that he wasn't prepared to play for his whole stack with a hand that weak.)

I was behind to AA, KK, and a set of 99s or 88s. I had about 40K left. If I folded, I would suddenly have barely half the average stack. Over half my stack was already in the pot.

I was high on having cashed. This is a leak in my game that I have previously identified: success goes to my head and I make poor, rash decisions. Had I breathed and contemplated for another 45 seconds, I think I could have found the fold, which was clearly the right thing to do. How could I not be behind here, way behind? I was, mostly likely, drawing to two outs.

I called anyway. If you were to ask me why, I really couldn't say, other than there was a ton of money in the pot, my brain was clouded with pleasure, and I was indulging in crazy wishful thinking (a hero call snaps off an elaborate bluff, or he's got JJ).

Of course he turned over KK, and I didn't catch a miracle Q.

It was a very bad decision. Really bad. Donkalicious. An utter embarrassment. Certainly not worthy of an aspiring professional.

I am very annoyed with myself. I could have made the right choice and played on with a smaller, but still potentially effective stack. I could have gone deeper. I could have given myself a chance to come back. I COULD AND SHOULD HAVE FOLDED. I am, in fact, mortified that I made such an amateur error.

Paradoxically, however, I am also actually grateful to have busted out of a big tournament through my own bad play. I have been so beaten up lately by bad luck, that it was somehow refreshing to be able to take full responsibility for this failure. Granted, it sucks to have QQ run into KK the very first hand after the money, but hey ~ these things happen. Ultimately, though, I made my own misfortune this time, and I am entirely willing to take responsibility for it.

I am not soul-crushed by it, as I would have been if I'd gone out on some kind of horrible bad beat. This is an expensive lesson, but I do believe that I can learn from it and that the sting of it will make the lesson stick so that I become a better player.

I cashed (albeit for the minimum) in a World Series of Poker event. That's a personal milestone, and I'm proud of it despite my disappointment. It's one small but meaningful step on the road to greater success.

I'm not done yet.

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Anonymous THETA Poker said...

Congratulations on making the money! Be proud that you beat 90% of a large field and console yourself that you wouldn't even have doubled your winnings by outlasting two-thirds of everyone left.

Now that you've earned your "Cash-In-The-WSOP" merit badge, next time you'll set your sights higher, with corresponding results.

6/20/09 6:19 AM  
Anonymous joxum said...

Despite that mistake- which anybody could have made - I think it's awesome, that you made the money!

What's next?


6/20/09 7:24 AM  
Blogger Philly said...

Frist of all, I'm so glad that you cashed. That was excellent, even though you wanted to go deeper. Just thinking of how many good players left with nothing should make you feel proud.
Second, you're no longer just plain Cardgirl. We know your name now.

6/20/09 8:12 AM  
Blogger matt tag said...

congratulations on the cash in the World Series of poker - well done! I am jealous over here playing my weekly .5/$1 home game.

I think your decision point on whether to "go" with this hand is is right after villain's reraise. You mentioned that you called and now half your stack is in.

I don't like putting half my stack in and THEN folding. Therefore, for me, calling this reraise is ruled out. Either shove over the reraise or fold preflop, based on your reads.

6/20/09 8:30 AM  
Blogger Philly said...

One more thing. I follow the WSOP events on Pokernews. They listed the day 2 seating chart. Today they have the list of the last 17 players. One of those was Almira Skripchenko. Oddly enough, according to the Pokernews listing, she wasn't seated at any of the tables on day 2. How does that happen?

6/20/09 8:54 AM  
Blogger Crash said...

Congratulations on your milestone. It is a biggie.

6/20/09 11:44 AM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Good run. Sorry it ended in a disappointing fashion.

6/20/09 12:02 PM  
Blogger dbcooper said...

Congratulations on the cash!!!!

6/20/09 4:00 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Big congrats, Cardgrrl! Indeed, a milestone.

To answer Philly's question... I'm not covering this particular event, and so haven't really paid attention to the player lists for this one. I can tell you, though, that sometimes players give different names (or none at all) on the second day than what they give on the third day.

There are also a couple of steps in there between players writing their names on the bags & the list that gets put up on PN, so more chances for human error along the way. (Usually those Day 2 lists are pretty close, though.)

6/20/09 11:29 PM  
Blogger BWoP said...

Congrats on the cash!

There are plenty more in your future :-)

6/21/09 8:24 PM  
Blogger diverjoules said...

WAY TO GO CardGirl. What an accomplishment. CONGRATUTLATIONS.

6/22/09 11:15 AM  
Blogger Schaubs said...

It starts with the first cash and then you look forward...


6/23/09 12:24 PM  
Blogger Willrr said...

Mehven, you have <50bb and QQ and gave thw guy a range of TT+,AK which QQ crushes, 4bet jam and never ever ever 4bet fold or call and fold flop ever, get it in. Gg ul.

6/27/09 11:02 AM  

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