"If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you."  Paul Newman

 

I used to love poker so much, not so much for the money, but for the strategy involved. The ability to look somebody in the eye and see into their soul and know what he has, even if he doesn't. The problem with poker is that once you win, you sometimes find yourself too overconfident and just think "Hey....I can bet $5/$10 with an $800 bankroll...how hard can it be." You could say i was an impatient player, or just felt that I had too much "skill" for the lower levels and thought I needed tougher competition, when in reality i was just a kid with a dream.

I used to play on multiple sites, and I could always run up my bankroll pretty fast, start with an initial deposit of 50 or win some freerolls and build it up, I could get to like 2000 bucks playing how your supposed, 2-tabling, 50 buy ins, good bankroll management. And then id usually take out like 50% of my roll and get this terrible idea in my head that I needed to gamble and take a shot at the next level and just throw my whole roll at a table and lose it all, because i was too greedy. Poker is not something where you can be spontaneous and suceed all too often. Were there times that I won at those tables, yes...but did I get lucky....of course I did, but you get blinded by the sight of that money being pushed towards you and forget the mistakes you made, because you won.

I'll show you an example of this in one of my crazier hands ever in online poker. Now...Omaha H/L is a sick game, people will shove with A-high so often in this game its scary, but when you have a flush, wrap and nut-low draw....people will do crazy things. Its when it goes brick brick that you scream at the damn dealer for causing you to lose somehow, but it really wasn't his fault...it just wasnt in the cards that day. I was trying to counterbalance that, trying to find a drawer and hold onto a high hand....a pretty stupid idea in a split game when you have one buyin....but lets set the scene...

I get Js 10s 9h 4d on the button at a 6 max table....its $5/$10 and I have about $1175, the small blind is short with $650 and the big blind is the table big stack with $3200. A very loose table mind you, but not a situation where you should be playing j1094...ever...unless you were me apparently. I raise to 35, just to steal those juicy blinds, and i get called by both blinds. The flop comes Jd 2c 4c and I start feeling my heart beat a little faster. Both blinds check to me and I pot it, 110 bucks....so far I have comitted about 245 more dollars than I should have with this hand....but I have top 2 pair on a draw heavy board...how can that lose right? But the big blind raises me to like 330 and that lump in your throat just swells. Now....logic tells us that this player has two things....he has top set with a decent low draw but no flush draw and is trying to protect or he has a massive draw that could have a low, flush or straight draw or a combination of all three.

Lets look at some math here....if he has a bare a3 here, he will catch his low about 60% of the time from this point...but if he has 4 low cards, like say a356....he will make a low about 70% of the time. If he has a356 again, with the a3 of clubs, he has 8 clubs (minus the J of clubs), 3 Aces, 3 3s, 2 5s, 2 6s, and 3 7s he can hit for the nuts. Theoretically, if each player does not have any of these cards in a 6 max game, and we inlcude the burn and flop cards, that means 28 cards are out (6 four card hands, the burn card, and the 3 flop cards). If all his outs are live, he would have 21 outs twice in 24 remaining cards. However, in reality, he will win the hand about 63% of the time from here, and make his low almost 75% of the time from here. Now what   if he has top set and is trying to block us...I have to catch running 4s or running 87 or running kq to win, and i can still chop if it comes 87...and i am only 6% to win the high, unless he has clubs...in which case i have about 3.5% to win. 

Now, lets go back to the hand where he just potted me. First of all, its pretty unlikely he shows up with jj here, given the hands he had been calling raises with, the drawing hand makes a whole lot more sense here, and if I had analyzed it correctly and taken my time, I would have probably folded here given the math of the situation. However, math does not come into play when we add in the luckbox factor, and clearly I must have been hoping for this because I told myself "flat him, and jam the turn if its a high non-club card." You know...just some real analytical thinking here, so I do flat him. Somehow, I have committed almost 400 dollars to 2 crappy pair and prepare to go in deeper as the pot swells to $770.

I get lucky on the turn when the Kh pops off and he checks to me, clearly a sign that he wants a free card. Suddenly, I am now the favourite to win the high in this hand, but we will still chop the pot half the time. But I am not clearly thinking of the math or logic or something that would resemble a sane thought, I jam $770 in the middle leaving me with $40...and he snap calls me....I mean think about it....sure I am a favourite for the high half here...but I will still lose my whole minus 40 bucks 45% of the time here....thats almost like flipping a coin for 1200 bucks...and not being a true gambler. Truly...i must have been sick in the head. 

And then....bink...Kd on the river...sure....i now lose to AA here or qq now that I have been counterfeited, but how do most qq hands hold on here, and he was 3betting AAxx hands here all day. The only hand that really worried me was AKxx hands here, but I am clearly never folding after getting my miracle two high cards so it was a clear all in and pray situation for me. He checked to me and I bet $40 into a $2307 pot (3 bucks of rake....boooo) or rougly 58 to 1 on his money and he almost timed out...but he called and showed Ac 3c 5d 6d...a pretty nice hand preflop, probably a good 3 betting hand that he played a little tricky. And what did he say when he saw what I had...you expect the fish comments or something about how terrible a player you are...and he would have been completely justified for saying it...but he just said "NH" and went on to the next hand. A quote came to my mind at that exact moment from Phil Gordon's Little Green Book that I had read "Don't tap the aquarium"...why bad mouth me, he didnt want me to go...but I did anyways and quickly cashed out $2000 more dollars before I quit for the night.

I learned something that day....fish get lucky, you can avoid landing on the hook and nibble at the worm, but one day, luck can only take you so far before you chomp too far on that worm and get reeled in. I lost my whole roll on that site in like 2 more days as my reckless play caused me to take the worst of it in many spots and lose, like the math says I should have. I took time off from online poker at that point to try and get a real job, because I could not teach myself patience on the poker table.

Fast forward to today and I have no poker rolls to my name and a 9-5 job like most of the world...but what could have been. But then I see the poker bankroll builder on PSO and feel like this is a golden opportunity to try and teach myself the value of bankroll management and the tightness needer to become a casual player at Holdem and Omaha. I am slowly learning these beginner lessons again and hope to use these teachings to steadily increase my roll the right way, to prevent myself from becoming another sick degen who does not care about the money. This will be my story throughout the weeks as I try to ressurect my poker skills...and hopefully, with some training and hard work....i can achieve this in the months and years to come. Let the madness begin....

"It ain't no fun if the rabbit's got the gun" David "VifferPeat