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How HighOn Got Her Groove Back

Being the Devil's Advocate, and just an opinionated guy all around, I tend to randomly drop a post that could be taken in a negative light. Let's keep this train wreck moving (is that possible?) by moving beyond the posts of yester-hour and focus on something positive.

After placing 2nd in a freeroll and netting $200 on, I decided to try to finish the $150 signup bonus at the site. With that in mind, I returned to grinding away at the 2/4 tables, hoping in vein to see my new best friend MossMan. Sadly, Mossy was out to pasture, but I was able to find a slew of other soft players. More importantly, as soft as they were, I was, or, um, playing hard.

I have been stewing on my recent down-tick for a while. I am wary to suggest that I am out of the forrest. I am, however, in a good place mentally. This has a positive effect on my game, and as long as a little bit of luck goes my way, I'm in good shape.

The key to my success, earning about 22$ (before the Hoy) was not in pushing hands. Clearly, $22 is a small amount to win in a 2/4 game. It's the equivalent of 5.5 BB, and it took me over an hour to reach it. However, limit poker is not about huge swings (although it can be in any given session), so I was happy for the slight uptick. The cornerstone to my success was good preflop hand selection. This does not necessarily mean tight, especially when I was down to play 4 or 5 handed. Rather, it means considering the opportunities a hand has, given the players, your position, and general post-flop play.

Its an interesting thing, this poker. I can point to my preflop hand selection or my concentration (which was actually subpar for some periods), but in the end, that elusive thing that I felt, well, its elusive. I don't have a name for it, but its just like feeling the groove. I've written at lengths about the rhythm of poker, and even made (what I believe was) a good comment on Joe's Hold'em Authority site when he was discussing the keys to HU success. That rhythm is probably my greatest strength when I can harnass it. It's essentially one part observation, one part subconscious pattern recognition, one part luck, and three parts exploitation. Once you feel in tune, you just have to give in and play into what's happening. Interestingly, I wonder if I felt the rhythm of my losses as well. There were many nights when I felt immediately that it would be a slobberknocker all night, and if I were to correctly exploit that "rhythm" I'd simply pass on the game all together.

Yes, I confess. I'm a feel player. I'm proud of that too, in many ways. I understand the math, probably as well as most poker bloggers (and a whole of a lot better than most players in general), but I'd rather have a feel for a game than have a calculator-precise mind.

After winning my $22, I decided to join the Hoy. The great thing about Mondays at the Hoy is that the higher buy-in ($20+2) makes it seem more important. I can justify donking away $10+1, but double that, and I feel like I'm playing with real money. Obviously the prize pool is larger, but also, I can picture that crisp $20 leaving my pocket. Apparently, I have no regard for the $10.

Whatever the case, the Hoy actually went well for me. I played tighter than usual and got respect when I raised. BTheCloser is one of the players who has traditionally given me trouble in these events, and I was able to counteract some of his play. I was also, admittedly, able to suckout to knock him out of the tournament.

About 45 minutes into the tournament, I was called away to spend some time with wifey Kim. When I returned, I was blinded down from $3k to about $2,400, well worth it to be with my woman. From there, I continued to play a smart game, working my way into the top three. Then I faced the hand that would wipe me out. I believe the culprit was Astin (more accurately, it was Lady Luck). I was in the BB when Astin made a small-ish bet from late position. I called with QJo. The flop was a lovely QJx, with no flush draw. I check-called. The turn was a K. I believe I bet out. Really, it didn't make a difference. By the river, I was all-in and my QJ lost to KK. He hit his set on the turn, and I cradled my sack until it returned to its usual position.

That's poker. I turned off the computer so that I would not tilt in some other game. I accepted the loss. I felt generally good about my play for the tournament, including a hand I took off of CC (which I don't particulary remember, other than the fact that I was damn happy to win it).

I'm hoping to keep the momentum moving. I'm off to AC on Friday. I am actually hoping to contact Showboat and maybe Tropicana to get permission to photograph inside their casinos. Wish me luck, as what we do here in bloggerdom is an interesting area of "media." Otherwise, I plan on playing poker until my eyes bleed and my wallet bulges. Just another weekend in paradise.

Until then, enjoy your poker. Thanks for reading.

posted by Jordan @ 2:23 PM,


At 3:39 PM, Blogger chipper said...

See?! Knew you'd come back eventually. Blogging can be good therapy for poker downturns. Now keep at it!


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