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Winning Stamina

By now, I hope we all learned one of the fundamental tennets of winning and losing at poker: Winning begets winning, and losing begets losing. I've been spending a lot of time listening to The Circuit, Cardplayer.com's Podcast, hosted by Scott Huff (previously incorrectly identified as Scott Huffman on this blog), Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok. Overall, the show is great, and it gives me another opportunity to reflect on the game.

Chip Reese was a recent guest, and when he was asked about his strengths, he made an interesting statement. According to Reese, when he was younger, he was able to play long sessions when he was winning. That, out of all of the things he could have chosen, was his answer. Further, he said that it is also Phil Ivey's strength. Phil fucking Ivey, people! The man is stone cold at the table, cool, calculating, and dangerous. But his greatest weapon is stamina? How could this be?

But I'm guessing Mr. Reese is right. I mean, he'd know a heck of a lot better than I would. When I reflect on it, it seems to make even more sense. When I sit at a table, be it cash or tournament, and I win a hand, I get confident. I play better. My decisiion making is sharper. My table image is stronger. And the losing players are conversely weaker. They are tilting or they are playing scared. They are damning their luck while giving into a case of the awfukits or trying to play better and therefore tightening up too much.

It's natural. And it's poker. So, maybe there is something about this stamina thing. If you are doing well, don't let the clock tell you when to stop. Case in point. Earlier this week, I won $130 at a 2/4 Limit table. I eventually left, but felt that I could have won more. So, when I returned hours later, I went back into it. I lost my first hand, and then proceeded to lose $75. I was constantly playing from my back foot. Maybe I should have stuck around longer in the first session. And maybe, on the flipside, I should have left the second table a lot sooner.

Does that make sense? If you lose a hand, maybe you should pack it in. If the table is soft, then obviously not. You want to stay in there and ride out that wave. But if you aren't lookng at the rest of the action and thinking, "What the fuck are these donkeys thinking?" then maybe you are better off packing it in for 10 minutes. I suppose this is where stop-loss numbers come in. I don't like the concept of stopping once I'm down x amount of dollars, but I do find myself doing it on the spur of the moment, like when I'm in the hole: "I either break even or lose $50. Whichever comes first, I'm out."

Ah, what the hell. I guess, bottom line, its really just one of those things. Hold onto a good game. Winning helps a game get good. So, when you are winning, stick around till you have all the chips or the mood shifts. Seems simple enough.

While we are on the topic of soft games, the Reader who is following my bonus whoring guide has just about finished his third promotion. I'll give the reader a name, let's go with Reader X. So, Reader X is kicking some ass. He took some tough losses at bodog, but did well at Royal Vegas and Poker.com. After finishing bodog, he should have 2250 VPP points, enough for an iPod nano. I do believe that was less than a month. Whatever the case, he is already planning his next bonus, so good luck to him.

Interestingly, he was surprised by how soft the competition was at the new sites he was playing at. Like many of you, Reader X used to stick with the big sites, Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Party. That's part of the best thing about the Bonus Whore World Tour. You get to visit far away lands, like the land of PokerShare, where local custom requires players to share their money with you by playing horribly at .25/.50 and .50/1 No Limit. Don't forget to visit Sun Poker, where the whether is always sunny and the fish are out in full force.

There is a venerable cornucopia of sites out there waiting to be explored, each one with their own personalities. While we are on the topic, why don't you share a little. Surely, we've all tried a site or another and thought, this site is full of ________. So, you tell me, what personalities do particular sites have.

For instance, Stars is a great poker room because of the size and the ease with which you can start a game. But the players are fairly good. I would say that Full Tilt has even better players, maybe because those players go to FT because of the pros' involvement, and so you have more informed players who want to reach that status. I'm sure other people will say that FT is full of fish for the same reason.

That's all for today! Poker away!

posted by Jordan @ 9:11 AM,

13 Comments:

At 10:21 AM, Blogger PaulMeekin said...

Ladies and Gentlemen of poker upswing of the 2000s

Play Tight. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, playing tight would be it. The long term
benefits of playing tight have been proved by countless pros, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis or
reliable then my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice....now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your pocket Aces. Oh, nevermind, you won't understand the power and
beauty of your Aces until they've faded, but trust me in 10 hands when you're picking up 47o, think back to that hand recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous they really looked. You are not as bad beat burdened as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to bluff a player with a boat by betting the minimum.

The real troubles in poker are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides on the river via a runner runner backdoor flush for your opponent who pushed with T2h
you on some idle sit n go.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Enjoy Poker.

Don't be reckless with other people's bankrolls; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Fold.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is
long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember good beats you receive; forget the bad ones. (if you succeed in doing this, tell me how).

Keep your poker withdrawls; throw away the deposits.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with AK. The most interesting people
I know didn't know on the button what they wanted to do with their hand; some of the most interesting people I know from mid position still don't.

Get plenty of rest before a tourney. Be kind to your chips -- you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll win, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll be the new Phil Ivey, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll get a bad beat on the bubble of a 6000 dollar tourney; maybe you'll dance the funky chicken at the final table.

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half
chance, so are everybody else's.

Enjoy the nuts: use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it; it's the
greatest instrument you'll ever have.

Play Poker...even if you have no where to do it but in your own living room.

Read players (even if your dead wrong).

Do not read poker magazines; they will only make you feel stupid.

Get to know your poker buddies; you never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your table mates: they're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in
the future.

Understand that crap hands come and go, but what a precious few should hold on. Work hard to not bet too much on gapped Straights and 4 to a flush, because the more money in the pot, the more likely it is you'll lose, or well, at least thing that way.

Play in foxwoods once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Play in your living room once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: players will raise, Fish will suck out, and you too will suckout; and when you
do, you'll fantasize that when you had the hand, it was a reasonable call, politicians were noble, and the size of the pot will grow with each telling of the story.

Respect your position.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy bankroll,
but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your good hands, else, by the time you're at the river someone will have your Trip aces beat with a boat of 2's full of sevens,

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia;
dispensing it is a way of wishing the past from the disposal--wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and
recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me, on the playing tight.

I have entered the realm of bloggers, hoorah!

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger slb159 said...

Interesting post...I often complain about the opposite. I get too cocky when I'm leading a table in chips. I'm the guy who doesn't know WHEN to leave a table. I was once up about 350$ at an omaha table on FT a few weeks back and gave about 75% of that back in ONE hand...dammit (there was only one hand that could have me beat, and he had it). I've recently made progress on this and hope to be able to differentiate between this and what you posted about. Fine line for morons like me, you know.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

In response to Mr. Meekin's comment, I left this for him at his blog:

If you want to advertise your blog on my site, leave a thoughtful comment that shows that you've at least read what I post. Don't just copy and paste some diatribe that fills up my comments to try to pull in readers. It's not about the readers, its about the fucking principle. And if any readers of Mr. Meekin's blog would like to read a blog with content, check out HighOnPoker!

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a jersey boy and play at the taj, showboat, borgata, trop, and hilton maybe I will enter the showbait tourney and we can trade identities ive got some great stories and have often wanted to see how others at the poker table perceive me when i tell them. I was an army ranger, involved in the military action, that was brought to the masses by the movie blackhawk down. I would like an outsiders view of how people react to my stories from somalia. you can contact me at jklmt5@msn.com if not maybe we can at least play some poker together down in ac i will be in a tourney next friday at the hilton starts at noon i think.

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Meekin sent me an email and we are cool. I was just trying to make a point. As it were, he's a new blogger, so good luck to him and maybe we'll be seeing more of him in the blogosphere and at blogger tourneys.

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger DP said...

Meekin's advice isn't good, either.

Good post, Jordan -- another big cash game player -- Barry Greenstein -- discusses this concept at length in his book Ace on the River.

 
At 7:09 PM, Blogger sooted said...

I've found that if I get to the point of doubling up my buy-in (or more), and I've played in the neighborhood of 90-120 minutes, then it's time for me to leave. Not just the table, but playing altogether for the evening. At a minimum it's time for a break of an hour or two. If I keep playing, I tend to leak it all back. I don't lose it all at once, or in really big pots, but just 4xBB here, 3xBB there, etc. I think it's a combination of thinking I'm a badass when I'm not, and starting to get a little worn down.

I have no idea if the above is proper strategy or not, but hey - it works for me.

 
At 9:06 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Sooted, you and others make a good point about the opposite. Sometimes when we win we get over confident or loosen up since we are playing withh winnings. That's definitely something you should plan against if that is what happens to you. It's certainly happened to me more than once. However, I've noticed lately that I'm succumbing more to letting losses pile up once they start. Whatever the case, good point.

 
At 12:36 AM, Blogger DP said...

Everything is in your favor when you're winning, so if you can't pile up wins, then you either have no stamina, or you just got lucky to win in the first place.

 
At 6:52 AM, Blogger Drop the Hammer said...

Good post.

 
At 7:58 PM, Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Meekin: Is it even possible for trip Aces to get beat at the river by 2s full of 7s. Think about that. It means the board had to have paired 7s or 2s to give Player B the full, in addition to the guy having at least an A, maybe bullets, and another A on the board for the Trip A's. That would give you a better boat with A's full of whatever (7s or 2s). Either way, that idea is full of shit.

As for staying and playing, I'm all for playing when you're winning. The tough part of that advice is they say, "when you know the game no longer favors you, leave". That kind of insight takes almost professionally ruthless honesty. That's where I leak it all back.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Tight usually just means easy to read and outplay after the flop. As long as your a good post flop player pre-flop game barely matters.

Good runs can be good and bad.. Sometimes in a tourney I will get a good run of cards and then get too cocky and screwup. Sometimes you need to turn down the excitement or depression at your current run of cards and just play good poker.

 
At 12:33 AM, Blogger DP said...

Well said, Waffle.

 

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