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Moby Dicked

Hmmm....where to start? Last night was my biggest losing night ever. (Breathe, Jordan, breathe!). What happened? I'll tell you what.

My first $100 was lost due to a bit of overzealousness. I won't fully recount the hand, but let's put it this way: You will not successfully push someone off of their hand if they flop a full house. Instead, you will lose your entire stack. It wasn't like I was stone-cold bluffing. I had an A9 on the AQQ flop, but clearly that wasn't enough. I just couldn't help myself though.

Let's ignore the $10+1 SNG or the $20+2 MTT, both of which were failures. I had some momentum in the SNG before my life was cut short (was it a suckout? I can't remember.). The real centerpiece to this story is the $130 I lost playing 3/6 Limit.

First, let me just acknowledge that $130 is not a big loss in 3/6. It's just a tad over 20 BB, which can be expected. The terror came in the form of a player names Sasa. He is the Moby Dick to my Captain Ahab. Mansion Poker (via was my Pequod.

Sasa's Moby Dick designation is correct on at least two levels. First, Sasa was a fish of MONSTRUOUS proportions. I quickly realized that he called anything down, and waited for a check to bet and steal the pot. He made this "clever" play with such premium hands as JTo when he failed to hit the board. Seeing as how he was doing this in three out of four hands, I decided that I was going to loosen up against Sasa and do my best to isolate.

Unfortunately, my plan worked. I got Sasa heads up, and he repeatedly outdrew me. In one particular hand that left me gasping for air, I held K9d and raised preflop. Sasa called. The flop was AJ9, and I decided to bet. To my expectations, Sasa called. I have to admit, though, I feared that he had caught me with a Jack or Ace. I'd played with him enough though, so on the turn, I bet again. Sasa called. The river was a Ten, and I was staring at the face of several over-cards. Even so, Sasa could have been calling with anything. I was willing to call one bet, but I didn't want to give him a chance to raise me, so I checked to him. Like clockwork, he bet out. I called. He showed KTo. The fucker three-outted me on the river. Worse, I had him read correctly the entire way.

Lest you think that this is merely a bad beat post, I really want to go a bit deeper than that. Bad beats happen, so I'm accepting of them. What I found most difficult is the balancing act between accepting that it is not your night and taking advantage of a good situation. What is a man to do? I could just walk away, but then when luck turns, the fishy Sasa would be served to other, more patient players. I could continue to push forward, but admittedly, I was feeling fatigued and I didn't want to play anymore.

Unlike Ahab, I accepted my fate. Sasa had taken my leg, but I was not going to continue this fight, lest he destroy my ship and send me to the depths of the sea. I closed Mansion Poker and joined wifey Kim on the couch. Throughout the night, I looked longingly at the computer, but thought to myself that it was over. I would not win enough of my money back to make it worthwhile. Tomorrow is a new day.

Today, that "new day" I just mentioned, well, I woke up with the number stuck in my head. The number of my big loss. I went back to bed and when I awoke, the number was still there.

For the year, I am now up probably $700 if that. Mere months ago, that number was more like $2400. I've been patrolling the blogosphere, and I realize that I am not the only one on a downswing. In fact, just last year, I had the same thing happen. There was a period of probably two months where I lost my profits for the year. By year end, I was able to turn things around and reach my goal of $1200 in profit for the year.

Earlier this year, I adjusted my $1800 goal, but I'm reverting back. Perhaps this is just how things are. I want to rise above it, but I can't rise above the realities of poker. You will lose. You will lose in streaks at times. The only thing I can do is to keep improving on my game. Yesterday is gone.

But you better believe that I will be searching for Sasa tonight. This isn't over Moby, not by a longshot.

posted by Jordan @ 8:34 AM,


At 10:56 AM, Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

yup its so true its really hard to win all the time...every one has losing days, weeks or months, its just a matter of playing through the varience and not throwing your computer through a wall

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

the key is to be able to determine if your play is changing because of it, too. some people start to play scared money and won't push a small edge because they convince themselves another bad beat is coming anyway, so why bother? it's tough not letting superstition and emotion get involved and just focusing on the math.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger MHG said...

A fish's ability to make you change your playstyle (to presumably play optimally against said fish), is one of their strongest assests.

Now, a great poker player will feel comfortable altering their playing style on a dime, but most of us aren't that good. I don't get a lot of practice playing in a live game that sees 7 or 8 to a flop every.single.hand. I know what adjustments I need to make for the game, but I still feel more comfortable and believe I have a much higher edge at online Stud Hi/Lo than a live and loose hold'em game.

In a case like Sasa, it is nearly impossible to out-play him, because he's just calling down every bet hoping to hit big on the river. When he does hit that gut-shot on the river, there really isn't much you can do to get away from your made hand on the flop--because the pot is too big and chances are Sasa would make a bluff if he didn't hit.

The only way I keep from losing my head is understanding the game in the long term. Sure, I might have just lost $100, but when that $100 comes from decisions I would make again in a heartbeat--and those decisions built my roll in the first place--it is a bit easier to stomach.

Go get him, ARRRRR!!!

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Thankfully, I didn't tilt away last night or change my game, even after the first $100 (which was entirely my fault).

As for changing to fit your opposition, I would say that it is an extremely important trait. In fact, I was performing optimally to take Sasa down. Luck was just on his side. I could've gone tight and waited for a monster, but we were playing a short-handed limit ring game (very short, like 4 players at one point), so I had to be willing to mix it up with him with bottom pair. That's what I did, and I got him to make calls with the worst of it. However, he just kept rivering me. That's poker, and I accept it. But I just couldn't resolve what to do when you have a plump juicy fish ready to burst but luck is just not on your side. Fucking poker. I still love her though.

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The fucker three-outted me on the river. Worse, I had him read correctly the entire way."

He may have three outted you but the bigger question I have is why where you even in the hand???

K9d and you raised on a 3/6 table? Was it a min. raise?

Just reading into this and not knowing how much you bet, position, etc. I would have to say you got what you deserve on that hand.

To win against a person like Sasa you need to have a solid hand. And that hand was far from solid to win in my opinion even if you had him read correctly...I just read your comments and you where playing short-handed. I would have waited him out for that solid hand.

Just my 2 cents.

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

To Kipper:

They're all min-raises on a limit table.

With a goal of $1800 profit for the year I don't think Jordan was playing a $600 buy in 3/6NL table ;)

You have a great attitude towards the game Jordan, keep plugging away.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops I overlooked the whole 'limit' table thing. That is my bad. Hence why I thought he was a little crazy.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Long term, think long term and the fish will be yours. Tom Petty said it best - "Even the Losers get lucky sometimes."

Out of curiosity, how is the play over at Mansion. I've read that there isn't much traffic there since its primarily a Euro site. I'm considering depositing over at Mansion and wanted your general opinion of the game selection, customer service and traffic.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Chipper, the site is fairly weak. The players are fairly weak. The only thing going steadily is NLHE. LHE is hard to come by. The SNGs are soft, and the scheduled tourneys are only once every hour or so (and sometimes longer). So overall, there isn't anything too great about it. However, if you sign up for it through then you also get entered into a freeroll with the first prize of a VIP trip to Vegas and a spot as an alternate for PokerDome.

Kipper, I don't know how much of your original statement was based on the thought that I was playing NL, but I can't argue heartily enough about playing the K9d. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about this blog, but one that I know is inherent in what I do. K9d is not a premium hand. However, in a four-handed Limit game with a loose donkey immediately to your left, it is a very playable hand. I did not get what I deserved. I got rivered. If I missed the flop, I fold right there (probably). In this case, he called me down with an inside straight draw only to hit his Ten with several overcards on the board after which he still called me. With a player like that, you will go broke waiting for a monster.

Drizz, I appreciate your compliment, especially coming from you.

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment was based off of NL game with a full table of 10 or close to 10. I guess I should pay attention to what people write. I will disappear again for a few months see what happens when I write....

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

I'll play K9 soooted any day in a 4 handed limit game with one confirmed stooge.

Do you have the bankroll to be playing short handed 3/6 like that? Based on your goal to only book a measily 2k in profit over a 12 month span it doesn't seem so. That's a really high variance game.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

I definitely took a step up higher than usual. My goal of 1800 was upped, by the way. It is now BACK to 1800 as a goal, but it was more like 3600. As it goes, I have/had a bankroll of about 1k and while 3/6 Limit is above what is appropriate for this roll, the choices were limited, and I wanted to take a shot at it.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

3/6 is where I'm going to end up, and then 5/10. I'm making a committment to live NL, and online limit. I want to be able to 8 table making nothing but mathematical decisions and grinding a steady profit from home based on my actual number of PC hours available. Might as well maximize my table hours, and I have the br for it now, albeit not a sufficient BR to start playing 8 tables if I go on a downswing. I'm setting a stop limit of 40 bb though.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger C.L. Russo said...

DTB- how can you play optimal poker on eight tables at once? I can't imagine trying to work the math and making good decisions at such a pace.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

haven't tried it yet, but flops seen in limit is a lot lower than NL so I can't imagine being involved in more than 3 or 4 decisions at any given point.

what I do now is play one table for a couple orbits and take notes on how people bet and act when bet into. when I feel comfortable, I open another table and start the process over. I've been able to play 5 NL tables this way, so I feel 8 limit tables is possible.

probably need a second monitor, or a 24" LCD if I'm going with just one.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger C.L. Russo said...

I think my head would explode.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

Mine might. If that's the case, I'd do 4 tables. Or 5 if the tables look good. I'd have to do this on Party because there aren't many sites where you can find 6 good 3/6 games going on at once. That's the downside. I hate the Party software, and not having rakeback.

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

hey high- first Entertainment a Moby Dick reference....Ummmm...are you sure you are speaking to the right audience.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Haha! I don't get it, people?! What the hell is wrong with Entertainment Weekly!

At 4:34 PM, Blogger tiltpirate said...

it puts ya on I can steal your bankroll....


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