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Focus Differential

I played some online poker last night. No, I swear, its true.

Lately, my game of choice has been Heads Up matches. Any heads up matches. I generally sign on to one of four sites, look for open rooms with one player sitting already, from $5 to $20 buyins, in any NL or PL game, consisting primarily of (in order) Hold'em, Omaha, and Omaha 8 or Better.

For a quick game of poker, I don't think there is a better option than Heads Up SNGs. By the time you are done, you are either a winner or loser, with no in-between. If you have difficulty knowing when to get up from a cash game (either based on the table situation or your real life obligations), a HU SNG will give you a definite finish time. But, best of all, its just very competitive. It's like the Street Fighter 2 of online poker. Get in, mash some buttons, shoot a yoga flame, and its all over.

It helps that I'm a part of the Heads Up Challenge 5.

Last night, I finally had an opporutnity to play my Round 2 matches against LifesAGrind. In Round 1, I took out my favorite HU competitor, Veneno, but I was nervous for this next step. In first four HUCs, I had a terrible run. I always thought of it as an effect of being the host, akin to the host curse that would always happen when I threw a homegame. Even though Fuel55 is running the show this time (and doing a great job, I might add), I still consider the HUC my baby, so the fear of the curse returning was on my mind. The other heightening factor was the $30 buyin, 3x the previous tournament buy-ins.

Once LAG and I were ready, we tried to jump into the same $10 Full Tilt HU SNG. Alas, he was too fast or I was too slow, and he ended up HU against some random player. Amazingly, he was willing to two-table HU matches, so we tried to jump into a second game. This time, I was too fast, and ended up playing against some random player.

I sucked, plain and simple. I'm sure it had everything to do with concentration and my anxiousness to get it all over with. At first, those things seemed to work to my advantage as I pulled into the lead. But a foolish all-in push or call and suddenly, I was the shorter stack. Meanwhile, I was popping in and out of LAG's match with his random stranger, trying to gage LAG's style of play. In the end, LAG had to sit out of his match (where he eventually busted), and I busted the old fashioned way, making an ill timed raise with middle pair.

We both took 15 minutes off from the computer and returned for our HU match. This time, our coordination was much improved and we got into a HU match together on our first try. Once the window opened, I opened Sirius Radio on my Internet browser and turned on Area 33, a trance station. When it comes to poker, trance music is my ideal soundtrack. There are no lyrics to distract me, and I can get into the rhythm of the game relatively easily. It also helps me block out the other distractions, which in this case was wifey Kim hovering in and out of the room as she cleaned her closet. In fact, halfway through the match she asked, "Can you help me take these things to the garbage shoot?" I was in the zone, and my curt reply was simply, "No." She got the hint and left me be. I got the hint and apologized later.

Interestingly, there was a very obvious difference between the match against an utter stranger and the match against LAG. With the LAG game, I just felt more in touch with the match. This should be of no surprise, since I was trying to rush through the stranger's match, and desperately wanted to focus and win the LAG match. But nonetheless, the difference was there. The matches were day and night, and after a lot of back and forth, I was finally able to win my first match against LAG when my JJ held up against his 55 preflop.

Match 2 went well for me also. I tried to keep the aggression up, followed by periods of tightness when necessary to change the pace or set up LAG's aggression. I can say that overall he played a smart game, and for a lot of both of the matches, he led the action. That's not to say that he led out in betting all the time, but rather that he was controlling the pacing of the game. Still, in match 2, I was able to take the lead and end it when my 99 held up against LAG's 55 once again. 55 is no goot.

After we were done, I celebrated by playing a HU game against some random player. I got my ass handed to me. I played someone else. Same thing. Quite frankly, I had blown my concentration load on the LAG matches, and now I was shooting blanks.

Whether or not I like to admit it, this game called poker requires a lot of concentration. It's definitely my weak point. Optimal poker cannot be played when the TV is on, the phone is ringing, and a web browser is open. Like most things, the importance of concentration is only heightened when you play heads up.

Tonight, I plan on making my way back to the Wall Street Game, where I hope to inch my way closer to the top of the leaderboard. This will probably be the last game this season, so its now or never. I think I need to win it to have a chance of the top spot. I said it rather than them because, while there are 2 games tonight, due to computer difficulties, I'm only registered in one. Oh well. Perhaps I'll get lucky and return home in time for the WPBT game on FT.

This weekend is looking busy. Saturday night, I'm heading to Queens to spend some time with college bud, Jefe, and Sunday, thanks to my bro Keith and his new wife, wifey Kim and I are going to a live taping of...WHEEL. . . OF. . . FORTUNE! It's going to be SW_ _T!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:25 PM,


At 10:40 PM, Blogger Lifesagrind said...

You do realize the since you beat me your now favored to win the whole thing. I was an utter lock so the pressure is now on you.




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