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The Road to Fame and Fortune

/Dec/2012

Fighting the board

By: Ov3rsight @ 08:07 (EST) / 366 / Comment ( 0 )

As poker players, we're all aware of the fact that having the best hand when the money goes in doesn't actually mean you're going to win the hand. It just means that, if you get the same hand against an opponent, and he is holding the same hand your current opponent does, and this happens a few hundred times, you're going to be winning the pot more than you are going to be losing it. Getting used to this harsh reality is - in my opinion - one of the most important things a poker player needs to acknowledge. And be willing to accept it of course.

But sometimes, your patience and resolve is tested to the extreme. At a Sit-n-Go I played earlier, I was actually starting to wonder if there was someone at PokerStars manually picking the cards to show on the board. The smart part of me says that's not the case and that the idea is ridiculous. But then again, so was what I was seeing. The money went in time after time, and every single time the worst of the two hands won. It didn't matter what they were holding. Pair over pair lost against a set. A flopped straight lost against a runner-runner flush. AJ lost to KQ, 97 lost to 63, and so on.

I did manage to chip up to the chiplead on this table, but 6 handed, a 4,100 chip stack isn't even enough to have an average stack by the time we reach the money. At some point after a particularly brutal suckout where again the short stack took it down, I found myself wondering what was going on. Even worse: I started noticing it was affecting my play. There was a thought in the back of my head that told me to just fold until I hit a real monster to minimize the odds of the opponent sucking out on me. The thought got so strong I found myself folding hands like pocket 10 and AJ suited to a short stack shove. Hands that I obviously should have called with as they are way above the shorty's shoving range.

So - is this just another form of tilt? Not the form where you get the money in with bad hands because you're not thinking straight, but actually folding the better hands? The reason for the play is the same: you're not thinking straight. The result is the same: you're losing value. It's a new sensation to me, and I don't like it. Not because it appears to be tilting me. (I hope) I can deal with that. No, I don't like it because I'm starting to let my play be dictated by the chance occurrence of the worst hand winning the pot a ridiculous amount of times in a row. That's chance, nothing more, and chance doesn't always work. Still, a few hands later I have AQ off, the shorty shoved, and before I realize it, I hit the fold button again. The guy behind me does make the call. The shorty shows T4 off, the caller shows AK suited. Ok, so I made the right move, but for all the wrong reasons. Still, I couldn't help but mentally high-fiving myself as the shorty hit a runner-runner straight to take down the pot.

I found it hard to get out of this mindset. I still don't know what made the click to start playing again based on the estimated strength of my hands instead of the fear that the board was plotting against me. The one thing that did help is that when I finally did get my money in against a shorty, and I had the best hand, the shorty for once did not win. Well, he did outflop me bigtime, and I was already pondering ways of unleashing my anger on my computer monitor, but the river returned the pot to where it should be: my stack.

Looking back, that win changed my entire play for the tourney. I stopped pondering about evil plans the board had, and started playing my good hands strong again. Two big hands and two won pots later, we cracked the bubble. I managed to survive my ordeal. I will have to think about the situation a little further though. More accurately: I'm going to have to keep alert of situations like this affecting good play. After all, situations like this will come every now and then, and good play is based on the decision you make when you make them, not on the decision you should have made based on the result of the hand...

All in all, this tourney has taught me a valuable lesson. I have seen another side of the game, another side of tilt if you will. So I am wiser now than I was before, and my game can only profit from this.

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