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  • Patience

    Patience is a virtue. One that's very valuable in poker, but unfortunately not one I have a lot of at the table. And that's a bad combination. Fortunately for me, I'm learning to deal with it better and better, which should increase my winnings. I am a winning player, but I feel I could be winning more, if I'd just stop making stupid moves that cost me money.

    Every now and then I demonstrate to myself that I really can exercise some patience. And every now and thn, the poker gods decide to reward me for that. In other words: today's session was a crash course in Luckboxing 101.

    The session started less than favorable. I sat down with a 100 BB stack, and the guy to my right was playing over 250 BBs. The guy to his right was playing 180 BBs. The other players were hovering between 50 and 100 BBs. Maybe I should have paid more attention when choosing where to sit, but this was the only 6 handed game with an open seat. Then again - I do have position on the big stacks every single hand unless I'm in the blinds.

    Pretty soon it turned out I didn't have to worry about the big stack. The guy to his right, mr 170 BBs was my main nemesis. My first big blind, he raised and I folded. My second big blind, same thing. And after he opened my big blind for the 6th time in a row I was getting annoyed. There was little I could do, I figure he was stealing away since I kept folding, but defending your big blind with a mediocre Jack high isn't exactly a +EV move I think. Add to that the guy's standard opening was 4x, and I wasn't to keen on 3-betting him light. My usual open-raise is just under 3x. Don't know why, it just grew on me.

    Anyways, the next time I was in the blinds I hit a King-ten offsuit. Not exactly a premium holding, but against this guy, I figured I was miles ahead of his range. And sure enough, he raised again, at which point I made a hefty little 3-bet, and he folded. I hadn't really expected him to call or shove on me, but still, I wasn't entirely happy wih the 3-bet with my hand.

    My lesson learned here is to have a little patience. I'd pondered 3-betting him the two hands before too, but I was holding crappy little 9 highs then at best. It's a good thing I had the patience to wait for something that actually could play nice post-flop if he were to call. It sort of broke the ice. Had I played the 9 high and lost a good chunk of my stack, I might just have checked out right then.

    Of course my luck didn't last long. Sure, I got to see some flops against this guy, but he just kept potting the flop, whether he was the pre flop aggressor making a c-bet, or donking into me. This guy really was getting to me. On the one hand I really wanted to raise the kahoonas out of him, but on the other hand I knew that my hands were too weak and I could lose my whole stack if he actually flopped something.

    All the while, the big stack to my right kept pretty quiet, picking up a pot here and there and being pretty stable.

    Then I get dealt pocket 8 in the cut-off. By now my stack was up to $5.11. Despite the misgivings with my nemesis, I did manage to chip up a bit and in 35 minutes of play I had accumulated a profit of just over a buck. Not bad at all. It's folded around to mr Superstack in the hijack and he raises to 3x. Since I hadn't seen him get out of line at all, or stealing left and right, I decided to flat behind instead of 3-bet. The blinds fold, the flop comes, and I hit gin. Two kings and an 8 for a boat. And I'm in position, so I couldn't be in a better spot. Mr Superstack c-bets 2/3 pot, and I flat behind. I have pretty much the nuts unless he holds pocket kings, there's almost no card that can scare me on the turn, so why raise and run the risk of losing my quarry? After all - mr Superstack is the only one at the table at this point with the potential to double me up.

    The turn is another 8. Quads. Now only pocket kings beat me, and I really can't be scared of one single hand. Mr Superstack makes another bet just under half pot, and I flat again. I can't lose, I'm going to let him lead again on the river. With his lead on the turn after my call on the flop, I think he has a good hand and will bet the river. I'm just hoping that his good hand is a King-something for a full house. Someone once said that no one's ever folding a full house. Well, unless they're a top pro. And the one card that can kill my hand would be a king on the river. Sure, one-outers are known to happen, but can you really play scared on the off chance that he hits it?

    River's a blank, en he bets $1.33 into a $1.40 pot. Now I know I have him, no one's bluffing at a K K 8 8 board when I've already called two bets. But it's a bit tricky. With $2.73 in the pot I have $4.34 behind. I decide to raise half my remaining stack instead of shoving. Not sure why. I know I'm calling if he shoves for my last 89 cents. Leaving yourself with 89 cents after putting in over 4 bucks might seem extra strong, but a little voice in my head said he might fold to a shove. It was just a bit louder than the other voice in my head saying he wasn't gonna fold for the extra 89 cents. And all the while I'm just thinking "Please have a king, please have a king". In retospect however, I should have shoved. I put him on a hand good enough to call my bet with, and he really could only do that with a king in his hand, and with that he'd call the shove too. My play here could simply have costed my an extra 89 cents in profit had he decided to call my raise instead of reshoving.

    Anyways, he shoves over my raise, easy call, I flip over the quads and he shows KJ off. No one ever folds a full house. Guess I was right, my read was spot on, and looking back he would most certainly have called a shove on the river. Aftr all - there was only one single hand that could beat him, and that was exactly pocket 8.

    After that the session became rather easy. My Nemesis got caught with his hand in the cookiejar 3 times in a row and lost his entire stack, I was dealt AK off 3 times in 6 hands, every time flopping top pair and winnng a nice pot and two hands later I have AQ off and turn the nut straight for yet another nice pot. In the end, my starting stack had increased a whopping 281% when I checked out. Now that's what I call a profitable session

    I learned a valuable lesson today. Well, perhaps more than one.

    Firstly, when things aren't going my way I should keep my cool, and wait for the right spots to make a move, and wait for the right hand to play for stacks.

    I also saw another fine demonstration of the power of position. In the quads hand, I wonder if I could have doubled up had I been first to act on all betting rounds. I don't know. I'm thinking probably as he flopped a set of kings and turned a boat, but you never know. And had he not been that strong...

    Thirdly, the old saying that AK never wins is obviously a myth that's now been busted. First AK wins 21 times out of 21 dealings at the WSOP Final Table, and now I win 3 big pots with in in 6 dealings. Just don't go crazy. After all, I did flop big every time and if you don't hit the flop.....

    But lastly, I learned to be patient. Not leave a table when things aren't immediately going your way. Read into your opponent's play, and don't screw up when you think they're stealing your money. I've seen many sessions where I donked off my money because I got impatient, wanted to play instead of fold every hand. Today was a mind changer. I think I'll be able to exercise more patience in the future. I know I can do it, and I know it will pay off in the long run. After all: every cent you don't lose is another cent added to your profit....

    The Road to Fame and Fortune - Keeping track of my poker semi-career
    Keep up to date: @Ov3rsight


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