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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,'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 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,


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 Jordan 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 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 Jordan 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 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 Jordan 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 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.


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