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I Am Not a Poker Player

You know, I needed to be brought back down to Earth.  I was just getting a little too cocky, and the poker gods knew I needed to have a nice big loss shoved up my ass like a Zeus thunderbolt.  So, yes, I’m telling this story by starting at the end: 
I lost an entire buy-in ($400) playing $2-$5 in less than two orbits.
I know you guys are fans of professional poker players, so this story probably doesn’t do a whole lot for you, but for me, this is a lot of money.  I needn’t remind you:  I AM NOT A POKER PLAYER.  It’s the title of the blog FFS! Let me follow that up by saying: I don’t think I could have made worse decisions.  I made tons and tons of mistakes, most of which had nothing to do with the way I played my hands.  Here we go:

Mistake #1 – Playing Above my Bankroll
I’m not even talking about sitting at the $2-$5 table.  I’m talking about playing poker at all.  Due to someone in the accounting department at PokerStars taking a two week vacation, my last couple of paychecks got held up.  For a month.  I’ve been living off overdraft protection for the last few weeks, until, on Valentine’s Day, my debit card got shut off (completely).  I’m not really worried about the money, since I will get paid eventually, but until that happened, I was going to be living off credit cards.  So,

Mistake #1.5 taking out a cash advance to play
I took out $500, thinking that, worst case, I would lose two buy-ins at $200, and still have $100 walking around money.  Granted, I needed cash either way, so I was going to have to take out an advance, but certainly didn’t have to go play poker with it.  I wasn’t really crazy about playing poker with credit card money at 30% juice, and this led to my next major mistake.

Mistake #2 – Playing when I wasn’t super excited to play. 
I wasn’t really feeling it, but I decided to go play poker anyways.  I’m staying at a casino in Western New York for work, and it’s pretty rare that I ever get free time during the day when I’m out of town working.  I let this be the reason to play, even though I really wasn’t comfortable with it.  Which is basically

Mistake #2.5 – playing with scared money.

Mistake #3 – Doing a terrible job of reading the wait-list board.
I really botched this one.  I screwed it up so badly that this mistake actually has a series of sub-mistakes.  “Sub-mistakes” is a word I just made up to mean “lots of little mistakes to contribute to one big mistake". 
From the looks of things on the board (I basically stopped reading after three seconds) I thought $1-$2 only had a $100 max-buy (Mistake #3.1).  I also noticed that $2-$5 had a $200 min-buy (Mistake #3.2). I somehow, in my brain decided that these two things were basically the same thing (Mistake #3.2).  However, I also neglected to notice that there was also $1-$2 with a $200 max-buy (Mistake #3.3).  There were long lists for ALL of the games, and I was in a hurry to play (Mistake #3.4).  I was about to leave, finally listening to my instinct, but instead I thought to myself “Self, you’re a good poker player (Mistake #3.5).  “You know what you’re doing (3.6).  This room is suuuuper soft (not a mistake), and as long as you don’t get unlucky, you’ll make money (3.7).  It’s ok for you to gamble this money you don’t really have because it’s not gamblingYou have an edge!!” (3.8 & 3.9).

Mistake #4 - Sitting down at a $2-$5 table.  This one should be pretty obvious.  It’s above my bankroll, out of my comfort zone, and even if it weren’t before – because of those two things I just mentioned – it makes me totally outclassed.  I still think (possibly not a mistake) that if I sat in that game and was properly bankrolled and not sweating the money, I could probably win a LOT of money.  As it stood I…

Mistake #5  - Sitting down at a $2-$5 table and buying in for the minimum.  Yep.  Tried to buy in for $200.  It was a new game and most people bought in for $300-$400, but completely forgetting that the only kind of poker I’m even relatively decent at is deepstacked (Mistake #5.5), I bought in for the minimum.  So, not only did I not have anyone covered, but I also couldn’t really play the way I like, and the way I’m used to.  I also…

Mistake #6 – Sitting down at a $2-$5 table with two stacks of white.  When I bought chips, I thought I was going to be playing $1-$2, so I sat down with a stack of reds, and two stacks of white – which probably made me look like an absolute fish.  I was smart enough to go buy another stack of reds, so now I was in for $300 – not leaving myself enough money for another full buy-in (Mistake #6.5).

Mistake #7 – Not adjusting my game to play with a shorter stack.  Here are the hands I played (I usually don’t remember ALL of my hands, but again, I lasted about an orbit and a half):  QJh, 5h2h, TT, 8h7h, 65o, and AQo,  The hands I folded were Q7o, K6o, K8o, J3o, K9o, and A6o.  That puts my VPIP at around 45%.  Not exactly where you’re supposed to be if you shortbuy.

Those were just the mistakes I made that didn’t involve playing my hands.  Tune in next time to find out how badly I messed THAT up….

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