Mar 10 2007

Clearing my mind

Published by at 3:21 pm under Personal,Poker

Just to get it all out
What’s in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
– 4 Non Blondes

I’m not a particularly religious person, nor do I believe in a lot of unseen forces like karma or fate. Luck is merely a byproduct of chance. I do think that your state of mind can and does affect other parts of your life including poker. If you feel good, you tend to have a clear head and make better decision. Making good decisions is the key to avoiding the affects of chance and luck. It doesn’t negate it, but it helps lessen it’s affect on your game.

Lately, I’ve been playing less then inspired poker. Take today’s AIPS tourney for example. It was PLO and I think when I’m playing well, I have a distinct advantage in the game over most of the players that were playing the game. I mean a lot of these players were playing it for the first time and there was at least 1 question early on where some one asked why it wasn’t a chop when there was a wheel on the board and the player held a set of 4′s against the other players 45. I don’t think I’m an omaha pro or anything, but I spent thousands of hands playing the game when that was basically all I was playing the last half of last year. Likely more hands than many of the other players combined.

PLO tourneys are different then PLO ring games probably more than any other game I know. There are just so many 70/30 and 60/40 situations that are marginal but you get such good odds with the pot limit aspect. You do really have to concentrate on the theory that the chips you lose are more valuable than the chips you gain. In cash games you call or push those all day long even though there are a lot of ev neutral situations there.

But lets get back to my overwhelming inability to focus lately (as you can tell). A good portion of the way through the tourney my wife started a “discussion” with me that coincidentally had a good deal to do with the subject of playing poker. I knew she was having a rough time with the kids in this morning and I even entertained the idea of just abandoning the tourney to help out. As I’ve pointed out in the past, though, I really wanted to make a run at this to try and gauge where I am as an overall tourney player. I don’t play enough tourneys overall to judge this in general, so I wanted to use a series of games with many of the same people (who mostly are solid players) as a measuring stick. I did take the whole bust or boom thing to heart though only really going for the win. At the first break, my goal was to be around 4k+ or bust. Instead I was around 800 when I made a few last moves to try and get to 4k from like 2k. During the next level I was all in about 3 or 4 times and did manage to quickly get up to my 4k target. It was around then that the “discussion” started. Since I had gotten to the point of giving myself a real shot at making a run (I was probably around 8/40 at the time), I wasn’t ready to just leave the tourney. I wish I could say it didn’t affect me but once we were down to around 3 tables, I started to make some ill advised moves to obtain chips. Raising with skeptical hands trying to pick up blinds, calling with weak draws, etc. Despite that, I still was doing well and was around 10k when we were approaching the final table bubble.

I doubled up a player that took a chunk off me when he went allin on the turn and I was getting good odds to chase my flush for the last card. Something like 4:1. A few more blinds steals that didn’t work, and tough decisions that could easily have been avoided by some better preflop strategy and I think things would have turned out different for me. If I had been thinking about this correctly, I would just have tried to play a preflop game and not risk gambling players postflop. I ended up going out 10th bring the final table bubble in a blind vs blind battle. I was in the small blind with QQ9x. I potted it and get called by the BB who has me covered but not by a lot. Flop comes KJT with two clubs and I don’t have any clubs. I shove my last like 1200 into the over 3k pot and of course he calls, but it’s a close one. He had ATTx with two clubs so bottom set, a gut shot and the flush draw. Can’t blame him for the call there at all. A K comes on the river and I’m out. The guy that took me out is having a terrific series though cashing in all the events so far and is pretty much uncatchable for me at this point.

I’m not a very tiltable player but, lets just say a few things projected from my hand after the hand was over. Yeah, losing the hand sucked. Yeah, bubbling sucked. But it was a small tourney and, considering my frame of mind, I think I played relatively well. It was mostly a product of that same frame of mind. I was really bothered by the “discussion” and I knew that the decisions I was making weren’t decisions that I would necessarily make with a clear mind.

So what’s next? Fix the issue of course. There are two kinds of issues in the world. Those that we can do something about and those that we can’t. You need to try and fix those that you can, and not worry about those you can’t or they will drive you crazy. Problem is, I have a lot of these issues around many aspects of my life at the moment. The family is getting more and more busy as the kids get older, I am facing a crossroads type decision at work, and my wife would like me to change some of my at home attitudes and activities. First step… stop writing depressing blog entries.


5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Clearing my mind”

  1. Jimmyjohnon 10 Mar 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Mac. Just sticking my nose in from BTP. Saw your post there in the member journals.

    Good read!!! I am going to follow your PLO/hi lo stuff here as I have already learned from my short read.

    I like the way you delve into the thought processes as a hand plays out.

    All the best,

  2. Anthonyon 12 Mar 2007 at 11:17 am

    Thanks for popping in. BTP is a great resource, especially for omaha. There are lots of very good players there that are willing to tell you how much you suck. Plus Tetsuo and iceman pay me a pretty penny to promote their site like it was icecream in july (I wish).

    I haven’t been playing much omaha lately since the games have dried up a bit on the sites I play or in the case of stars, is completely kicking my ass, but I am still trying to play some of the tourneys every now and then when I get a chance since the play there is complete atrocious. Currently I’m trying to get back into the swing of my first poker money tree, short handed NLHE ring games so hopefully that will be just as interesting.


  3. tomon 12 Mar 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Poker needs a clear head.
    In life if you feel confident you can achieve a lot.
    In my work I achieve a lot because I am certain I can do it and nothing is gonna stop me. If someone is trying to be in my way I choose another way but I am damn sure I am on the right track and gonna take another road.
    In poker the luck part is a big obstacle where you can’t get around off.
    The luck part makes you feel like you stink and makes your confidence hit bottom whlie you know deep inside you are better then the average and below average players.
    I work in the casino buisness for 10 years now and see it every day I work. Strangely enough I think some people are luckier in games than others. And , I always tell my guests , on the end off the road it will be clear to us why this is.
    We lead a great life ( compared to some countries where people struggle for food and life ) and we got everything we want.
    Poker will sort itself out and the bad periods is why we still love the game.

    GL M8

  4. Anthonyon 12 Mar 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, Tommy. The sick part is, I haven’t been doing all that bad poker wise lately. I just think about how much better I could be doing if I was running on all cylinders. Right now I need to get stuff straightened out for more than just my poker well being, especially since I’m playing it just for recreational purposes.

  5. Snow Blind » How Trueon 30 Mar 2007 at 8:27 am

    [...] this bad. She at least knows the rank of hands. But the lack of appreciation for the magnitude of certain situations, especially considering the fact that REAL MUNEY is on the line, rings a bell of truth. In that [...]

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