The most important tool a poker player can have in their arsenal is self-review.

It is the losing player that blames luck, "jokerstars" or some other factor for his losses when really the first person he should look at is himself.

 

I have recently been running some $1 180-man SnGs

I did really well in my first few games getting a 1/180 straight off the bat. This left a nice profit and meant that the run of 50x games were almost paid for and I was practically freerolling for the remaining 40x games.

 

I played OK for the next 20 or so games, did OK but not enough to get to the FT.

Last night though, I played two very bad hands.

 

Hand #1

I was on a steal, opponent raised and I called. I had

Flop comes with no Ace, I decide to C-bet and get called

I decided to check/fold the turn, I have position and opponent checks to me, I check

River comes an ace, opponent bets and I shove over him.

It didn't really matter what he had at this point (was ) because my kicker was so poor, if I thought he had an Ace, I couldn't compete. He could have been trying to bluff the Ace of course but then his hand read like an A+high draw since he called the C-bet but checked the turn and only bet when the Ace showed up.

My mistake was over-valuing my Ace.

His bet told me one thing "I can beat you" - I should have answered "OK, prove it" rather than "Actually, I can beat you" - a call here would have been the best move if I didn't want to fold.

I wasn't dominating, I had no position to be saying that I was top dog, the only thing I could hope for was that he was bluffing the Ace and althought it would have been a results mistake to call his bet, it would have been safer than the shove which knocked me out.

 

Ultimately, I didn't follow my steal plan. The plan in that spot with A6 is steal, if fail fold. I wasted a call, a c-bet and then trapped myself into a hand that couldn't win. I didn't need to be in that weak position as if I had folded, I could have waited until I was in a dominating hand and clean up then.

 

Hand #2

I had 40BB, FT of a 180-man and just about 2nd in Chips.

I get on the BB and UTG calls my BB - I decide to raise as he looks weak

Opponent re-raises me --- and I decided to shove.

 

Again, it doesn't matter what he had - this was a risky move. UTG limp + re-raise is often QQ/KK/AA, especially this far into the game when the bluffing fishes have been weeded out. Although it can sometimes be a bluff, I didn't need to find out.

I had 40BB

I was facing a big aggresive re-raise

I didn't have any of the top 3 cards (QQ/KK/AA)

 

These are the main reasons why I should have left him alone. If I was short or he was short, that move might have been worthwhile because at least if it didn't pan out, I was risking little to get much more rather than risking a lot just for a double-up.

I find that in Poker, we want to double up when we have the nuts regardless, any other time when our hand is strong but not the nuts (like JJ) we want to take on smaller stacks to reduce our risk. When we are the short stack, we want to double up by any means possible and JJ is worth the risk of being knocked out.

 

The big question I need to ask myself is, do I need to get involved here??

The answer to this with the above hand is no, I wasn't dominating him and had my life on the line, folding here would have lost me a few chips but given me plenty more to keep fighting and then when I had a spot where my hand was dominating, I could take him(or others) on and chip-up through them.

 

 

It all comes down to one key fact with the above hands.

Question : Am I dominating?

If you feel that your opponent is on the ropes and weak to your action, you have a strong, then the pot is yours - take it

If however you feel that your opponent has a hand just as good as yours, you are not as strong and then pot could be yours or his.

 

If you had 100 hands to be a part of, would you rather pick 100 dominating hands or 100 "mmmm ive got an ok hands" hands.

Chances are you will have a mix of these hands no matter but you get to choose how the split goes and by folding more of your weaker holdings and focusing on the dominating ones, the wins go up!

 

I have some more games to do tonight, I need to take the above on board and make sure that when I have a strong stack, I am protecting it by not getting involved in mediocre pots.