Still running bad, Tilt and playing beyond the push
Tuesday November 07th 2006, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Bodog,Heads Up,No-Limit Hold'em,Opinionated,Poker Stuff,S&G

Wow, what a title. 🙂

Let me work through it in sequence:

I. Still running bad. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t seem to catch a break these days. Maybe it’s just the bad side of variance, or what not, maybe it’s just me being not up to par. I don’t know. But I guess it’s a mixture of all of the above…

a) Nice: hitting your two pair with crap cards on a ragged board against an opponent HU and getting all his chips in the middle.

b) Not so nice: exact same situation but you holding the TPTK (or similar) and getting all the chips in.

This situation made me pause today. It’s weird how nice it can be to be in situation a – you basically outflopped your opponent and don’t give it a second thought. Once the opposite scenario b arrives you curse your opponent and call it bad luck. Hmm…

II. Tilt: This happened to me again today after getting sucked out on in consecutive hands. I jabbed my way to a 3:1 chiplead and hold a monster after the flop. We get the money in and my opponent is nearly drawing dead. He needs to go perfect-perfect to beat me. Turn perfect. River perfect. Hmm…now we’re even in chips again, aka back to square one and the tilt-bells are ringing in my head. The very next hand I’m looking more than good on the flop again and guess what…he still calls my overbet and we get the rest of it in after the blank turn. River…perfect…boom headshot. Now the tilt-bells are so loud in my head that I can’t get my normal game on. I should have taken a pause right there, but didn’t…so I put a little dent in my HU record and my bodog roll…nothing too dramatic though.

III. Playing beyond the push:

Waffles wrote something interesting about postflop play and pointed to a nice post by the oreo man about the same topic.

Not pushing All-In preflop all the time, not looking to take races at all times, etc is something that has really been on my mind in the last few weeks, especially since I started to play an excessive amount of HU matches. It’s funny to see how often people are pushing in those things – without any necessity to do so I might add.
A few months back, I would have called some of these pushes in a heartbeat – nowadays I think hard and more often than not, I’ll not call. Why? Because I have to take a look at the situation first and there are MANY situation that I don’t want to risk a lot of chips, especially with five cards to come. Let’s have a look at two of those situations (especially in the HU SnG situation):

1. I hold a strong drawing hand (e.g. AK), BUT I have a substantial chiplead. Why should I risk bringing my opponent back by taking a coinflip (or worse)? I’m not going to start saying that I don’t like coinflips because I never win one, because that would be bs, but I don’t like playing a big pot with marginal edges/deficits, especially if there’s no need to do so (e.g. level 1 – the classic donk move: pot is 15 chips, players start with 1000 chips…third hand in and the donk opponent pushes preflop…hmmm….I would have to call of 990 into a now 1015 pot…hmm…good odds…no wait…are you kidding me? Unless I got Aces/Kings here I hit the fold button so hard, it’s almost crumbling)
2. I hold a small or medium pair, BUT I have a substantial chiplead.

I don’t know if it’s the tv boom and all the all-ins that are shown all the time or if it’s just the “ultimate equalizer”-approach of many (inexperienced) players. One way or another all the pushing is crap. During my excessive series of HU matches I found my love for playing pots again. Nothing is more satisfying than having your opponent right where you want him, “knowing” what he’s holding and acting accordingly…beautiful! Although it won’t work out every time, it’s still so much more fun than looking down at your cards and playing the old two-gear-box…push or fold.

On another note: the push, depending on the situation, can be one of the biggest tells too. I mean, nothing is certain until the last card is dealt and the cards are turned over, but more often than not, the push will leave you with a hand full of explanations…you “just” have to make the right decision which one it is 😉

From my HU diary:

1. Push preflop as a massive overbet into a tiny bet…

I. Small pair [Player is scared to play postflop; 90% of the time at the low levels I play]

II. Medium to big pair [Player is sneaky trying to represent the “scare push” or totally inexperienced player or plain and simple a total donk]

III. Strong drawing hand (e.g. AK, KQs,…)

IV. Random hand
But enough talk about pushing. What’s even worse is all the fuss that is made about “taking coinflips”, especially over here in germany. With the poker boom finally hitting the main-stream television, it’s hard not to catch some sort of poker tourney [interrupted every 10 minutes by PokerStars or PartyPoker commercials] every other day and you wouldn’t even believe what crap some of the commentators are telling the viewer: (Paraphrased translations from their original (german) comments)

1. “What is he thinking about, he’s looking at a coinflip. […] He’s the big-stack, he should look for such situations” – yeah right, did you have a look at their respective chip-counts? Table-image? Prior hands? Nope? Didn’t think so…
2. “Coinflips, the situations you should look to take advantage of, especially in tournaments” – errm excuse me, what the fuck are you talking about? Are you retarded or what? How can you take advantage of a coinflip? Wheeeeee I’m a 2% favourite…I guess there won’t be a better spot in the next gazillion hands I can play with my stack…yeah right…

3. etc etc

Sidenote: Now we all know that you will have to win a coinflip or two (or some more) in order to win a big tourney, but why in the world would I look for those situations? Don’t you think that I would like to get my money in with the best (let’s say 60/40, 70/30, …)? Yeah, thought so…but that’s not something that isn’t said in those broadcasts…

So maybe it’s really the tv shows that are putting the “race me and push me for all my money”-crap inside many players’ heads…sad…sad…but enough of the rambling for today…




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Thanks for the pimpage. I do not think coinflips are a necessity in big MTTs until the final table.. maybe when it gets down to small numbers. I think you would be surprised at just how far you can go playing post flop.

Comment by sirfwalgman 11.08.06 @ 6:57 pm