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I really need to focus on adjustments in order to continue my improvement at this dastardly game. The first adjustment is to avoid falling back into the trappings of online poker. I played in the Hoy tournament last night and really played horribly. Part of it relates to my second point, which we will get to in a moment, but for now, I want to focus on online poker.

When I was at the recent Sunday night homegame, a couple of the players were discussing online poker success stories (and I'd be remissed if I didn't give a shout out to new father and big MTT winner, SoxLover). I have still been resting on the laurels of my $3k win, but I have also fallen back into the online poker trap. In the tournament last night, I signed up last minute and then returned to wifey Kim, expecting to pick up the game a little late. Sure enough, I was playing within 15 minutes of the start time, but I was not playing well. I was forcing the action, trying to make plays where there were no plays to be made. This strategy can often get me into a huge stack, with which I like to run over the competition. However, it can also cause me to donk out quickly, which isn't the worst thing in the world, but a tad embarassing in front of my blogger bretheren.

The big issue, though, is that I fell into the very pitfalls I lamented about in January. I don't play as well online as live because I'm often intoxicated, distracted, and playing impulsively. In this case, I was all of the above. Playing poker online everyday might work for some people, but it doesn't work for me. I'm a creature of routine, so eventually, my play becomes part of my routine and not something that I am independently looking forward to. This leads to bad decision making, first playing too loose, and then playing awfukit or absent-minded poker. Plain and simple, this is not good for me or more online bankroll. So, I will have to adjust my mentality, and that will likely mean some 'time off' from online poker. (Note: Time off may consist of as little as one day, potentially later in the week).

The other adjustment is a bigger deal, though. I need to get back to adjusting my game for the current conditions. I won the $3k because I was playing my game. It just so happened that my game worked given the table conditions. However, there are going to be times when I will have to switch up my game, because conditions are not primed for my chosen style.

So, when are those times. Blogger tournaments are great examples. Believe it or not, I find these games to have looser calls than most regular tournaments, so my aggressive style is probably not a winning strategy. It doesn't help that I have a reputation. That said, I need to USE my reputation, lest it abuses me. That means playing smarter, more patiently.

In fact, that smart patience is really the major adjustment I have the most problem making. I can think of two other examples quickly. The first happened last week at the homegame/undergound poker room hosted by Two Diamond Phillips' boss. There, the action was super-loose aggressive, and if I could have controlled my impulses to limp or make plays with crap cards, I would have been in a lot better shape. After all, at those sorts of tables, I can fold all day and get paid off when I suddenly start betting out with the nuts. So the correct strategy is to do just that.

Similarly, the LI poker club I went to this week had a very loose style. I was into the $20 rebuy for $140 because I was so willing to mix it up. It wasn't as bad of a decision, given the rebuy structure, but I could have been better off if I played a bit tighter.

Alas, these are all things that I can and will work on. If you cannot be self-critical in this game, then you are going to stunt your own growth, so I don't see this as me getting down on myself.

Interestingly, I think my style works best with tables that have lots of limpers. This is opposed to the generally tight or loose tables, which both have pitfalls that mess with my primary style. In loose games, I can't shake off enough competitors to make my small preflop raises with mediocre cards. In fact, I can't even make those raises, as they will be re-raised. In tight games, I can only pick up the blinds with that style. But give me a table with lots of limpers and I feel confidence. Maybe it is my confidence in post-flop play, or the benefit of stealing those limped blinds. But it seems to be what works for me.

It also tends to piss of the competition and get them to make mistakes. An example from the $3k win:

"Beautifully, all of this stealing started to annoy the hell out of the guy on my right. In fact, it caused him to eventually gift me his stack when he was fed up. As per usual, it folded to the SB who called, and I raised from the BB with K9o. He called and we saw a flop, KQx. He checked, I put in a pot-sized bet and he raised me. I thought for a moment and decided to raise him back. He pushed all-in and by then the call was academic. He showed Q7 and I didn't get unlucky, eliminating a player and further strengthening my stack."

I wonder, what table conditions work best for your given style, and while you are at it, how would you describe your style?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:05 PM,


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time reader... first time commenter... I enjoyed the post, and really like the question posed. Personally, I would describe my style as tight/patient, while still appropriately aggressive. I believe I play much fewer pots than most, but am good at being able to identify when ahead or behind and act accordingly. Given my understanding of my "style," I think the best table conditions for me are the real loose tables with lots of limpers/bluffers. I never cease to be amazed by how often I'm able to buy five big blinds with a value raise of AceJackoff from the button, given my TIGHT table impression. This strategy seems to work consistently for me in MTTs and SnGs (yet I'm a consistent cash game loser!) Many choose to fault my tight approach, providing evidence of often winning SMALL pots with monster hands. But, I choose to be happy everytime my KK wins pre-flop, as I too often see big pairs losing to AceRag. ... However, all this being said about 'my' style and the best tables for this style, it still needs to be said that one's play should always match the table. And all good players need to change it up. I just REALLY prefer the "crazy" tables with loose players, and lots of limpers... allows me to play what I like to call "my game." ...

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

I hear ya cayne, and thanks for commenting. Naturally, most people think tight players prefer a loose table and loose players prefer a tight one, and I think there is a lot to that, generally. Certainly, your style and table preference matches up. I think I'm a bit of a wildcard in that scenario because I prefer a passive loose table. I don't mind preflop calls or limps, but I need folders post flop. I love this freaking game, because there are so many layers of information and factors that go into everything! Thanks again.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Interesting post Jordan. I tend to think of myself as relatively tight, with a nice dose of weak in there as well. I won't hesitate to fold on the SB if it's folded to me, and a c-bet is usually enough to take me down.

All kidding aside, I do consider myself to be a tight player. I think I make more laydowns than the average player. I'm able to change it up fairly well, but I need to improve on my timing.

Honestly, I'm not sure what preference I have for a table. I'd probably lean towards tight actually. Sometimes I'm patient to a fault, and without cards to play, I get into trouble when I wait too long to build my stack (I'm thinking MTT terms here only).

Curious to know how you plan on making these adjustments.



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