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Bad Cards for Everyone

Let's just do this band-aid style and rip this bitch off quickly so it won't hurt as much: -$450. That's how much I lost yesterday at NiceLook in their 1/2 NL game. I had brought my good pal Dave Ruff, reader John Rich, and IHO's very own Mary to play some poker at the club after my home game failed to happen. After playing for about 4 hours, it became perfectly clear that none of use were getting any cards, and our stacks were all slowly (or for some, not so slowly) dwindling.

If nothing else, I discovered an obvious leak in my game and had an opportunity to delve into the nihilistic nature of poker.

My biggest losing hand happened when I was dealt QTh in the CO. I was already card dead, about an hour into the game, and the button called my $15 raise along with two or three other players. The flop was Q87, with two clubs, and when it checked to me, I bet out $25. The button raised to $60 and everyone folded. I had seen the player raise a straddle earlier in the day with 47s, so I was thinking that he was probably on a flush draw. I thought carefully about his raise, and determined that he probably sense the weakness from me. My $25 bet was small, he was in position, and I, frankly, felt like a bitch, betting out with top pair, ten kicker. When faced with his raise, I thought it over and decided to re-raise him $100 on top. He pushed all-in for $42 more, and I had to call. The turn and river were blanks, and I prayed that my read was right...until he showed AQ, for top pair, top kicker. Undoubtedly, I played this hand wrong and paid the price.

After that, I didn't have many notable hands. I won a hand or two (at most) with continuation bets. I played high-weak Aces like AT and AJ as limps and then bet out if I hit, assuming everyone else limped. I made little dough that way, but I also saved myself the potential of losing a lot more when I whiffed completely.

I got into one hand with Ruff that surprised me. I had AJd and limped from early position. He was in the BB, and we saw the flop along with maybe 2-3 other players. The flop was AT5, and it checked to me. I bet out $10 into the small pot and Ruff and one other player called. On the turn, another 5 came out and, if I'm not mistaken, Ruff check-raised me. I opted to call, but I couldn't help but think that he flopped two-pair with AT. The river was another 5, and suddenly, I had 5s full of As. Ruff bet out $75 or so, and I called. "Do you have the case 5," I asked. "No," he tabled A2o. SONUVABITCH! I was ahead the whole way, but I give him credit for playing hard against me and almost winning the hand by forcing me to fold earlier. I still don't think I played this hand particularly well, especially given the result.

I had AA once. A straddle was out, so I raised to $20 and got too calls from very loose players. The flop was all low, and they checked to me. I bet $50, hoping to keep one player in, but they both folded. I guess its better than losing.

I made a nice laydown with AK. It was preflop and I was in the SB. There were 5 or so limpers by the time it got to the button, a kid who was tilting and down to his last $50 or so. The button raises all-in or enough that he'd be committed to going all-in. I looked at the AK and decided to muck. I'd be out of position against the rest of the table, and I was behind any pair. One player isolated him, and when the cards were put on their backs, the button had AQ and the other player had 55. I was calm about it, though. The river was a Queen, incidentally and I would've lost anyway. I'm still working on playing those A-highs out of position.

Then I folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded. and folded.

It got to the point that a player across the table actually said pretty loudly, "You haven't played a hand in over an hour." "It's not by choice." My cards were a steady stream of 26 or 28 or 29. If I never see another 2 in my life, it'll be too soon. Whenever I got high cards, the other card was inevitably a 6. So K6, Q6 and J6 were coming out of the woodwork. It just felt like it would never end, and frankly, it didn't. I folded and folded some more and finally realized that my game was over. I wittled myself down to $150 in chips (-$450 total), and packed it up.

As I thought about, I realized that no matter what happened next, I was not going to win. People play different styles of poker, but fold fold fold is NOT my style. I was forced to play that way because of the cards, and even if fate had turned around, I had ruined my chances of profitability by my folding. After the string of horrible cards, I felt that I wouldn't know what to do with a great hand, let alone a marginal one. If I get KK and bet out, most of the table is going to fold, if not all of them. I don't want to slowplay though, because this table is loose and I'd be running the risk of losing a big hand instead of winning a small one. God forbid I get 88! Shiyit, with the way things were going, I'd probably fuck that up too. It wasn't that I was playing bad. It was that I was out of the flow of the game. I could just sit there and watch my chips dissipate, but I was unable to do anything out of it.

It didn't help that I had a horrible leak. I was calling way too much. It's part of the problem with the QTh hand. It's VERY easy to start to believe that the table is filled with monkeys betting at draws or bluffing altogether, but just because you believe it, it doesn't make it true. If I curbed my calling, I probably could've saved $250 or $300 of the $450 I lost.

Plain and simple, sometimes you will be card dead. I almost feel glad that I got the card deadedness out of the way, so that I can go in there next time with Aces blazing. My new goal is to embrace these moments as an opportunity to read the table and the other players. All too often, I found myself simply playing the two cards in front of me. It was a sort of card dead tunnel vision, and its something that I must work diligently to eradicate in the future.

Good thing for me, I'll be playing poker again soon enough. My next go round will be on Tuesday, when I return to Salami for the $60 tournament, this time with special guest star TripJax. Being in the a big city like NYC has lots of benefits, but I'm finding that one of the best is that people from all over the country (and the world) are constantly passing through here, giving me an opportunity to hang out with some people I normally wouldn't get to see. Trip is one of those people, as is 23Skidoo. Fortunately, Salami is cheap enough and open enough that I can get these guys into a game whenever they come into town. So far its worked out for Skidoo, winning 2 of the 2 tournaments he has played, and its worked out for me, because I had a great time chopping the first one with Skid and drinking on his dime in the second. Booya!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:58 AM,


At 1:52 PM, Blogger madbrooklyn said...

I had a time at the other table - no good cards at all. About 95% of my speculative hands didn't hit and with so many people involved in the hands I didn't try to bluff a lot. I even had the same type of Q10 hand where I bet out and the guy (who was showing down crap) re-raised me. After thinking and thinking I laid the hand down and the guy showed me his AQ.

I decided to head out at 7 and for my last hand I got the black Kings. Sweet! One guy raised, one caller and I then reraised. Both guys called. Flop came 972, two hearts. Both guys checked to me. I decided to push all in - not very thrilled with the straight/flush possibility. One guy called, the other folded showing his pocket eights. The caller shows JJ. And of course a Jack hits on the river and I lose the $580 pot. Ouch!


At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Running bad is part of poker. So is playing a hand poorly. At least you take the time after a session to think about and write about your hands so you learn something from it. That's part of what separates good and bad players. Good ones try to learn from mistakes, and bad ones just bitch about being unlucky.

The one big thing I took from your post was this: A lot of pots were being played 4 and 5 handed.

Opening with weak holdings and calling loose just isn't going to be profitable in a game like this. Folding might suck, but tightening up and then smashing people with strong hands is about the only way to crack a game like this.


At 9:09 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Here's a question for you to mull over:

Why didn't you try to exploit your tight image?

Was stealing/bluffing not a possiblity at your table? It seems like you were tilting because of the lack of cards and that tossed out any chances of you taking a shot or two at pots.

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can only bluff people who are decent enough to be able to fold. Judging by the number of limpers and the number of people calling raises in the hands he wrote out, he was at a table of weak/passive feebs, and that rules out bluffing.

Those games suck because getting smashed over the head with the deck is the only way to turn out a great night, and it just won't happen often enough to make it worth sitting there.

Just having one or two aggro players makes a world of difference.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Trust me, Wolf, that was my goal, but Czech is right. This was no table to bluff at, and that is why I lost $450. When I tried to make plays with top pair, weak kicker, I'd get called in three places and have to go passive. This was a table that required getting hit with the deck and the bigger stacks did just that.

BTW, Czech, you offer some great, thoughtful advice in both of your comments. Thanks.

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem. I love talking poker with anyone who will listen and you seem to love the game just as much as I do.


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