Sunday, April 24, 2005

Four Vignettes - My So-Called Poker Life

A series of vignettes from my first three tourneys.

1) First tourney ever. After playing tight for two hours, I start to get some playable hands, and call a raise to see the flop. I'm sitting on an open-ended straight draw with two cards to play, and I pay +/- 20% of my stack to see the next card. It doesn't help, and the guy on the opposite end of the table clearly knows what I'm up to. Raises me up to more than half of my stack to see that last card. I fold like a numbrella. Natch, the end of my straight comes up at the river, and it would have been the nut hand.

IIKTWIKN: If I was going to consider going all-in, then I probably should have gone all in at the flop with two cards to play. I couldn't have been bullied off the potential nuts, and wouldn't have been too disappointed if I had been knocked out. If I wasn't willing to go all-in on the last two cards, I shouldn't have paid for the turn. As it was, my stack evaporated within 30 minutes of that play.

2) First tourney ever - losers tourney in the back kitchen. Surrounded by four other newbies *, I play by-the-book straight poker waiting game. I don't try to bluff calling stations, I don't get into pissing contests after losing a pot, and I don't tilt. Eventually, it's down to me and a person whose philosophy of poker is 'There's a 50% chance of winning, you will or you won't.' Trust me, beating this philosophy was shooting fish in a barrel.

3) Second tourney ever - I'm on the ropes after going on tilt. I pull a successful semi-bluff out of my arse and collect enough to get me through a few more blinds. I immediately get dealt my first small pocket pair all night, and call a raise to see the flop. The flop doesn't help and I fold on the next raise. The board pairs jacks, and the winning hand was pair of jacks, Ace high. My two pair was indeed the nuts.

IIKTWIKN: I think I didn't go all in because I was afraid the entire table would have gone after me if I had gone all-in two hands in a row. However, the first time was a semi-bluff, and the second time was an even better proposition for me to go all in on. I should stop letting the results of the prior hand dictate how I play the next one. If I had gone all in that second time, I might have come back up from the count.

4) Third tourney ever. I invite a first time player to join a small tourney I hosted, who eventually wins by calling. I think he didn't raise more than twice all night, but only called when he had something, and so he didn't bleed much, but made a killing when he had something. I will invite him back, and if his behavior doesn't change much, I'll let other people try to take his chips when they don't have the nuts, and get out cheaply when it's clear he's representing a hand. I'm sure there are lots of players who play this way.

* How odd that the newbies were the first five eliminated, what are the chances? ;-)