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The Wonders of HU and Confidence

I didn't really want to play poker, but at the same time I didn't not want to play poker either. I was sitting on the couch, wifey Kim already asleep on my right. The laptop stood two feet away on a tray table. It was open and I could see the glow of the screen. Television was abysmal and even though I've been sitting on the same Netflix DVDs for a month, I didn't feel like watching them. I tried to watch The Number 23, a thriller from a few years back starring Jim Carrey. It actually started off strong, but I have a multi-tasker's mind. I also could feel the tension of the film and I didn't want to get myself amped up before bed.

I looked back at the laptop and felt that feeling I get from time to time. There is a certain comfort to playing poker online. It is always available and if you begin doing anything often enough, it becomes a habit. Not a bad habit either, just a habit.

I manuevered myself out from under wifey Kim's feet and moved to the overstuffed chair that matches our couch. I turned on FullTilt and checked my bankroll. Pitiful. I openned Bodog and checked my roll there. Passable. I considered playing an SNG or a cash game, but neither seemed to call out for me. I didn't want to grind. I didn't want to play tight. I wanted to get in there and mix it up.

As I perused the SNGs, I settled on something that wasn't even on my mind when I got up from the couch: Heads-Up SNGs. I chose a cheapo $10 SNG and beat my opponent on the first hand. I immediately fired up a second HU SNG for $20. The match was long and well fought. Ultimately, I lost, but I came to a realization about the urge to play online.

Heads-up is the answer to many of my problems. If I can't play a long tournament but I don't want to play a cash game, I should play a HU SNG. If I don't feel like exposing myself to potentially large losses, I should play a HU SNG. If I felt like playing aggressive or playing too many hands, I should play a HU SNG.

After losing that one HU SNG, I shut down the computer. I had enough poker to feed the habit. All that remained was sleep.

I've got live poker coming up, folks, and I'm feeling goooooooooood about it. I was thinking back to my more successful runs, like when I bubbled in a live tournament at the Showboat in AC and then moneyed (albeit in the worst money spot) in the Resorts tournament a scant few hours later. Or when I went on a run of wins at the Wall Street Game when I first premeired. Or my early run of success with live homegame tournaments. In all of those instances, I felt like I was ready to crush the world. I felt confident and I played smart. I admittedly have moved away from that attitude in live games. I know longer think that I am the best player at every table. Some people may see this humility as a positive thing. I do not. We are all wired differently, and for me to do my best, live, I need to think that I am the best. I need to feel that no one at the table is better than me. Call it self-denial or false confidence, but whatever it is, it's effective. It's probably closely connected to the idea that one plays better when one is in a good emotional state. It's all too easy to play poker as a way to distract from inner turmoil. When that happens, losses tend to follow. I am hoping that entering a game with the old confidence will help. We will see tonight.

Tonight, I attend a rare long-form tournament at the Wall Street Game with a $70 buy-in. On Wednesday, I attend a homegame with my brother in law in midtown with a $200 buy-in and a slew of aggressive players trying to one-up each other. In both instances, my number one goal is to play with intelligence and confidence.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:15 AM,


At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gl as always

At 1:14 PM, Blogger advassy said...

I have found that playing in the Full Tilt HU Shootouts are very fun. Plus the payouts are better then regular tournaments.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

gl in the tourneys. do you mind putting up the structure of these because I am trying to put a good structure for my own big home game. If you don't want to post it just shoot me an e-mail. You can find it in the HUC excel sheet if you've lost it :-)

At 12:27 PM, Blogger RaisingCayne said...

I had a similar "head's up epiphany" recently after discovering how +EV the games seem to be. I really enjoy the 4-person flavor on Full Tilt, where winning just one out of three is easily accomplishable, and provides for a decent ROI.

Good luck in your upcoming tourneys!


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