2/07/2006

02-07-06 [poker] - 1

02-07-06 [poker]

Well, I just had my first day of horrible donkey mistakes that I've had in quite a while. It was embarassing, sickening. I blew 4 days worth of work. Poker is uniquely frustrating in that your accomplishments are your ammunition, and it only takes a few minutes of screwups to wipe away days and days worth of toil. Worse than losing the cash is that I've allowed that horrible donkey back into my game, which I thought I was making progress on. Oh well, back to the toil. Playing $100 NL, I make about $33/hour which is a pretty solid win rate for that limit. You blow off one stack, that's 3 hours of work.

I like to try to figure out what led me to make a mistake. Just like in programming, when you code up a bug, it's not just a "mistake" that was sort of random, it happened because of certain conditions. Can we look at those conditions are perhaps change something such that we're less likely to make that mistake in the future? We're not looking at the particular bug, that in itself is sort of the random manifestation of some underlying factors which led to the bug. This is like the mushroom body underground, when the toadstools pop out they are not the real beast we want to address, they're randomly there because of the body underground.

So, what led to my poker mistakes today. I think the biggest factor was forcing things trying to stack terrible players. I saw them make just attrocious plays, and it threw off my game. I got into that "frustrated weak/tight player" mode, where you cling to hands that are good starting hands too much. This happens when the loose/bad player keeps sucking out on you, and you just get sick of folding postflop and starting calling or pushing with bad hands. This is a very very bad place to be. I need to look at the donks not as stacks that are going to come to me. I need to just play a good game. The presense of donks just makes the good game more profitable. I do not "go after them" or "take their stacks". I just play my good game and their stack flows to me. I don't have to bust every player. One flaw is when I sit down and identify a major donk, I want to bust them. I might bust them, but I might not. I shouldn't actively try to bust them, because it makes me play too "fast". I should just play, and whether they go bust or not is of no major concern to me. Just play good poker.

The other bad thing I was doing was playing from the stats too much. I have all these great stats on people and whenever I get to a decision that's not obvious, I look at the stats. Is this guy loose? a bluffer? I let that make my decision about whether to call or not. That's wrong. I need to just play the good game, and only when it's sort of a marginal tough decision that could go multiple ways, then I look at the stats, and they can nudge the decision one way or the other.

In terms of micro actions, almost all of my big mistakes are not folding enough. In particular, not folding *early*. I raise preflop, I c-bet. He raises me. Okay, now just fold. I need to fold on the flop when I'm probably not good. Even if I probably am ahead but am out of position and don't want to play a big pot, that's okay, just fold while the pot is still small.

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