cassettecounty's Blog[ create blog ]

Join Date: May 08
Blog Entries: 4
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  1. I started playing mostly cash live NL $1/$2 cash games in the summer 2007. It was a bit of a rollercoaster and I ended the year very much in the red.

    I did some studying, went over my own notes from each session with a fine tooth comb, and told myself, "if you don't show significant progress in 3 months, you are not allowed to play cash games anymore."

    And by the end of March 08, I was completely out of the red! I wasn't concerned with building a roll and just used any profit as a second source of income.

    There were some rough patches near the end of 08, but I still managed to end the year in the black.

    This year, however, has been ridiculous. In 6 live sessions, I've turned a profit only once.

    On New Year's Eve, I did decide to focus more attention this year on MTTs and recently started to wonder if my dedication to that has me approaching cash games like a tournament player. But then I went over my notes and - more often than not - it's case after case of second best hand, getting two and three outed, and getting chased down with flush or straight draws.

    So I'm hanging up my cash game hat for a while to focus almost exclusively on MTTs. I have more fun there, even when I don't cash, and have been making relatively deep runs with some consistency since January 1st. I may still dabble in $0.50/$1 online, but that's it until I either figure out what's going on or feel I can play without thinking about how much I'm down this year.

    There is no point to this blog. I just needed to vent. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

  2. A while back, someone who won some big online tournament was interviewed by Card Player. A question was posed along the lines of, "How did your play vary when you realized how close you were to [something; final table or bubble or something]?"

    His response was that he never looked at the Lobby to pay attention to where each payout began. In hindsight he felt this helped his play, as he was never distracted by where on the money ladder he was in relation to his opponents. He only cared about winning.

    I thought of this last night, as I was nearing the bubble of The Fifty-Fifty, only it was too late. I'd checked the Lobby dozens of times and was conscious of how many people I needed to outlast to cash, what their stacks were, etc.

    I think that guy's approach makes sense, and could make a huge difference for people (like myself) who often become so concerned with bubbling that they freeze up, unable to make the correct decision for fear of going so deep and not cashing.

    On New Year's Eve I resolved to spend more time this year working on my MTT play, after spending the bulk of 2008 in cash games. I've got a good job, so I wasn't concerned with a bankroll, so much as I was concerned with learning the ins-and-outs of larger field, mid-stakes MTTs.

    I'm primarily playing Full Tilt's $26 $28K, $32K, and $55 $50K, with some $26 45-seat games along the way. So far I've cashed in 9 of the 31 MTTs I've played this year, and gone relatively deep in others.

    My biggest weakness, after analyzing the games afterward, is pushing/gambling late in the game. This happened twice last night and I realized just how much the bubble and payout structure has been influencing my play, when it shouldn't be. The strength of your hand preflop is no different at Level 10 than it is at Level 1. If anything, it's stronger since opponents who tighten up around the dreaded bubble (and proceeding payouts) are more likely to fold marginal hands now.

    I know these sorts of things have been discussed on here numerous times, but I think the simple suggestion to ignore the Lobby altogether will help me going forward and allow me to play fearless poker and focus on taking it down rather than inching into the money.

  3. It never ceases to amaze me, how open and honest some people can be at a poker table.

    Would you tell an opposing boxer that you tend to duck left? Would you tell the football team on the other side of the line you're going to blitz?

    If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, I can only assume you are black and blue and/or on a losing football team.

    It's no secret that poker is a constant mindgame. The more you know about your opponents and the less they know about you, the better off you are. Yet, many people are all-too-eager to share their secrets and their blueprints; generally as a result of two scenarios.

    1. To impress others at the table with an infinite wellspring of poker knowledge.

    2. To try to extract information from opponents.

    Let's look at these motivations separately and examine the cons (there are no pros) of each.

    How many times have you been at a card game where Johnny KnowItAll rattles on and on about why he made such and such a move, how he got a read someone was weak, and why he thought he could successfully use that third heart on the river to represent a flush?

    If Johnny is such a poker genius, he should know that no good can come from teaching bad players how to play better. The longer Player A allows Player B to keep making mistakes, the larger Player A's stack becomes.

    But ego can cloud one's judgement. And for some, verbally letting the world know how great they are is just as important as proving it. This is counterproductive. You'd much rather be shooting fish in a barrel than shooting yourself in the foot.

    The second scenario happens more often at friendly live games than online or at a table with absolute strangers, but wherever it happens, it works against you far more than it works for you.

    You've got a marginal hand (AT) in mid position. Early position opens for a raise. You call and go heads up to the flop of 6-4-T, rainbow. Early position bets, you go over the top, and he pushes.

    You tank.
    Certainly top/top is good here. Isn't it? Man, I don't know if I can lay this down. I mean, if he's got an overpair, I can't be drawing dead. I'm either way ahead or way behind.

    And then, in a last ditch attempt to get a read ....

    "Ace/ten no good?"

    No reaction. And finally you fold. And he mucks. So you try again.

    "Ace/ten no good, sir?"

    Still no reaction.

    "You have jacks? Queens?"

    Still no reaction.

    "I couldn't put you on kings or aces. You didn't have kings or aces there, did you?"

    No reaction.

    So after all of your thinking, and guessing every possible hand that's beating you, what have you gained? Nothing. He might have had queens, or he might've just had a good bet. But now he knows that you can and will lay down top pair/top kicker to a 3-bet. He knows, and the rest of the table knows, too. So while he may have had you this time, next time he or someone else may just be making a move against the guy who let the world know how much it will cost to get him off top pair/top kicker.

    A third scenario that is equal parts scenarios 1 and 2 is letting the world know, in hindsight, that you made a great lay down. Your read was SO GOOD, you just KNEW AK was way behind the preflop reraise.

    And you might've been right. You'd have been up against aces. But keep it to yourself, silently patting yourself on the back when the cards are turned face up. Otherwise, anyone who's paying attention is going to use that against you later.

    In closing, it should go without saying that if you are ever fortunate enough to be at a table with a Johnny KnowItAll, or someone who has no problem telling you what he has hoping you'll return the favor, or someone who shows a monster before mucking ..... don't tell them they're only hurting themselves by playing that way. Remember what I said about shooting: You're looking for fish in a barrel, not your own foot.

 
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