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A Poker State of Mind

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  • A Poker State of Mind

    I find that often when I'm playing poker my results reflect on my state of mind. If I'm winning, I'm having a good time, if I'm losing, not so much. Especially when I'm losing because I run into a few suckouts, it's really bad for my state of mind. And when I enter that zone, my play starts to suffer. I guess it's another form of tilt. Plenty of times I attribute it to running bad. It happens. And lots of times, it is. I've had runs of 10+ sit-n-gos where I didn't cash once, and most of the times I lost the bulk of my stack I ran into a huge cooler, or some guy sucked out big time. When that happens from time to time, it doesn't matter, but when it happens several times in a row, it gets to me.

    So how do you solve that? For me, there are several things I've learned to do. First and foremost, consider how I played. If I lose most of my stack when my pocket Jacks gets rivered by a queen, I didn't play it too bad. When I make a big move with Queens and the villain happens to wake up with kings, I played my hand the way I should. It doesn't always work, but it does make me feel slightly better after busting out yet again. It's what they always say - don't be results-oriented. When you shove with 63 offsuit and bik a set on the river to defeat pocket Kings, you played it terribly most of the time. I'd take the Kings every day.

    Secondly, I walk away. When I get a particularly brutal suckout, I finish up and do something else. I'll finish a sit-n-go, I won't abandon it, and when in a cash game I'll get up and leave. I've learned that such things affect my play more than I'd like, and until I can get a better hold of it, it's best to walk away.

    Thirdly, I need to remember the good times as well as the bad times. And not just my run-good times, but also someone else's run-bad times. I can run good just as well as others, and I'm not the only one running into a few bad beats ina row.

    The other day, I played a pretty tight game ina 9man sit-n-go, and by the time we reached the 50/100 level my stack had dwindled down to about 11 Blinds. I'd won a few minor pots, lost a few smallish ones, and basically just waiting for a good hand. It was still 7 handed, and with 4 of us with these 10-15 BB stacks, I felt I good get in in good gainst one of them. And as I hoped, I was dealt AK. I shoved, another shorty with 13 BBs called with AQ off. He binked the queen on the turn. Moments like that never cease to annoy the heck out of me. I don't mind losing races so much, but losing to a 2-outer of 3-outer isn't my idea of fun. And so, my plan to play several of thse games went away, and I left it at just this one. Maybe it's superstitious, but experience leads me to believe it would just be the first of several I would lose. Superstition might be the wrong word, and maybe it was not an omen for future games. Well, I still feel happy about waliking away.

    The next thing I need to do is remember games like one I played today. Again, just the one game due to time limitations, but it was as I like it: everytime I entered a biggish pot, I won it. I lost one, but that was because I folded the turn. Every all-in situation I got myself into I won. I had the best hand every time, and they held up every time. Talk about running good. Heads up, I felt I was by far the better player. He limped a lot, folded several buttons, and I had noted he tended to see flops and play fit-and-fold on the flop. The last hand heads up, I got a walk in the Big Blind again with J6 off, and the flop came KJJ. The villain made a half-pot bet, and for a moment I pondered flatting and slowplaying my set. The I thought back on what I've seen in the live trainings at PSO, and decided against it. There were 2 diamonds there for a flush draw, KJ makes a broadway draw, so it was a pretty wet board. Best to raise it up I would think. And so I raised to almost 3 times his bet. He shoves, and I had an easy call. He flipped over the KT suited for a naked top pair. Welcome, first place money....

    In the same tourney, I also saw the other side of the coin: as a big stack I called a preflop bet with AT suited, and flopped a flush draw. The villain bet the flop, I called, and he bet the turn again. On the one hand, I pondered folding since I'd expected him to check the turn, but considering I'd still have the big stack if I called, I decided to call and see the river. I hit the river and made the nut flush. He bet it, and I raised him up. The board was paired, but I didn't expect some kind of weird boat in his range. He folded. Not two hands later, he shoved, and got rivered by a flush again. So - I'm not the only one who gets rivered a few times in a row.

    And after pondering all of the above, I really need to remember this tourney rather than the previous one. I have my fair share of run good, just like the others...
    The Road to Fame and Fortune - Keeping track of my poker semi-career
    Keep up to date: @Ov3rsight

  • #2
    Two things that help me manage myself better are:

    1) Play with a bigger bankroll. The bigger your bankroll, the less you care about immediate losses(and wins).

    2) Go into the session with a goal of making good decisions instead of being focused on making a profit. Good decisions = profits eventually anyways. It's not just about walking away from a session and focusing on how you played. That is only half of it. The other half is going into a session focusing on how you are going to play.

    It seems so simple and obvious, but it is very easy to stray from either of those guidelines. They both help a lot though, and I can't think of much else that can be done. Only natural to be happy about wins and unhappy about losses (even when you understand they don't matter in the long run).


    • #3
      Originally posted by RockerguyAA View Post
      2) Go into the session with a goal of making good decisions instead of being focused on making a profit. Good decisions = profits eventually anyways. It's not just about walking away from a session and focusing on how you played. That is only half of it. The other half is going into a session focusing on how you are going to play.
      What he said.


      • #4
        i usually have a goal of preset limits ,lets say there is 2000 players ,my instinct is to cut that in half , Then I look where the money pays so lets say its at 90 players ,I again set a // to it myself most likely 150 as then i have anotherset to hit ,But it doesn`t always go that way, you set ur mind to a level but with loosing hands a reality sets in and deviates you from where you actually started and wanted to get to and where you are actually at not good some times



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