Smile, being angry doesn’t change a thing…

…at least that’s what I keep telling myself and it worked out pretty good tonight – not that I won anything, close but no cigar, but at least I took the usual beats with a smile. So, basically…I’m still trying to get back to normal, but things aren’t coming together, at least not yet.

Just like I promised myself (and you, my readers), I didn’t play a single hand of poker over the entire weekend and tbh, I didn’t miss it all that much either. I guess that’s easy to say when you’re running as bad as I was/am. But really, it made me think that maybe I should incorporate the “poker-free day(s)”-concept into my playing schedule, after all the consistent grind can wear you out, especially if you take the worst of it on such a cold run. If you’re running bad enough, everything will go wrong…but I’ll come back to that topic later.

Before I get to a closer look of tonight’s session, I’d like to take a moment to talk about some other poker related things.

1. I started to read Navarro’s book on tells (or “non-verbal behaviour”) and so far, I really like it. Some of the things he’s talking about in the first pages of the book make you wonder: How many of these things have I thought about so far? Did I spot something like this before? As I said, I’m just through the first twenty odd pages and after the introduction and everything he’s talking about the most reliable source of tells…the feet…lol…never thought of that before…but if you think about it and watch closely…he may be on to something here…although looking under the table as the flop/turn/river comes down isn’t a real possibility…although he comes up with some hints about how to spot it anyway…I’m really looking forward to the rest of the book and one thing’s for sure: this stuff can and probably will improve my live-game…although it takes work! But I’m up for the challenge…

2. Although I’m currently running bad, I’m still going to do whatever it takes to keep online poker alive, hmm, that sounds a little weird, maybe I should rephrase that to “I’m going to support the people who will do whatever they can/it takes to keep online poker alive”. So I joined the PPA a while ago (see here) and on saturday my “welcome package” arrived. It contained a letter, the membership card, a pin and a nice T-Shirt…maybe I’ll get around to take a pic of the stuff tomorrow…to make a long story short: Because I’m over here in Europe this whole US legislation doesn’t affect me personally (apart from the fact that good games could be hard to come by in the next weeks/months), but I’m not too blind to see that one thing could lead to the next and before you know it, the games dry up for good and other countries could adopt a similar stance on online poker and I don’t want that to happen. Think about it, even if that doesn’t happen, it’s still going to be a loss. Online players turn into “full time live players”, full time live players have no hand histories, no tools to track their play (to the same extent as in online poker) and before you know it, other stuff, like poker blogs, disappear too…and although that might increase workplace productivity, it would be a real shame. So, if you are (remotely) serious about your (online) game, join the PPA!
3. Full Tilt’s downtime on sunday: Bad but good. Why? Just go back and read the second paragraph. As I promised myself not to play any poker this weekend, I would have missed the bloggerpods tourney on Full Tilt, fortunately (for me) they had some server issues, so the tourney had to be postponed. I guess it’ll be played next weekend and I’m looking forward to it. Maybe I’ll get close like last time, maybe I’ll get the junk kick earlier, maybe no junk kick at all and I listen to my favourite jams on an ipod soon…who knows…one way or another, this is a cool tourney, thanks again to PokerOnAMac for hooking us up!

As for tonight’s session…I started with some “new stuff”. A cheap-ass triple shootout to the sunday million. Two bucks, short handed, chance to take down one of two seats. The first table was a real up and down and when all was said and done, I took it down. Almost an hour played, shorthanded, didn’t make any bad decisions (had to push one time with a marginal hand, because I got short, but that worked out okay…and not really a bad decision…or is it if you’re “forced to play”?). The next table was totally different though. Four out of the other five players where really “pushy”. The played almost every hand and the deck wasn’t too kind to me. I started out with the best…didn’t connect…had to let it go, time and time again. Made my exit with a 60/40 kind of hand, so not really a bad beat…it just wasn’t meant to be, but at least I got an hour of play…out in 22nd of 216.

After that I decided to try a three-table SnG and play was worse than I could imagine in my worst nightmare, really, it was THAT bad. I kicked one player out before getting my junk kicked yet again by a lovely two outer. Oh well, what else is new.

After that I went to the HU section and thought I’d give it a whirl. It was a good match, although it was kind of boring, not much between my opponent and me…first in usually takes the pot as we were battling 6-high vs 7-high on a regular basis. He was cool though, we chatted a little and I predicted that soon enough it’ll come down to one hand and to quote Scotty Nguyen “…it’s going to be all over” and I said it’s probably going to be something of the regular HU-nature, two pair vs set or something. Guess what? I was right…lol…although this isn’t too hard to predict either as it’s basically around a 33% shot (either that, T/M/BPxK vs x or monster vs monster are the usual scenarios).

I hold A4o on the button and I fire it up to 3x preflop…he calls…pot is 180 (blinds 15/30). Flop comes down A46 rainbow. Groovy! He leads out with a pot-sized bet (180). I reraise to 480, he insta-calls. Hmm…pot is 1140 (of the 3k in play) and the turn is blank (8)…he checks…I bet 400…he calls…pot is now 1940…so there’s basically no way the money isn’t going all-in…river is Kh…he pushes…now I’m worried about a small range of hands here…either AA (which would be a real cooler with the case Ace on board), AK (which would suck less, but still suck)…or he could have made a really bad call on the flop and turn and hit a set here (KK)…or I totally misjudged the situation and he had a hand similar to mine and his kicker plays as well (A6, A8)…or coolered by a flopped/turned set (44, 66, 88)…man, if you’re running bad…too many (bad) scenarios creep into your mind…maybe he has a hand that would make sense here, which is second best (AQ, AJ, A10, A9, …)…I make the crying call…and he shows?….KK for the set…now, if he any other hand mentioned above…I go straight to my closet, get out a hat and write “payoff wizard” on it…but KK…come on…two outs…again…sigh…now I don’t want to sound like a broken record here and repeat it over and over…but I just can’t help myself…why oh why? Why….oh why?

I guess the (short) weekend break wasn’t enough, as I can’t stand it…at least not any better than last week…I find myself in the same spot, complaining, moaning about the bad luck, feeling empty and annoyed and (maybe) annoying you with it…maybe I’m waaaay to deep into it all atm and I should take a longer break from it all? Maybe I should just learn to deal with it in another way? Maybe I shouldn’t play anymore at all? I really don’t know, one thing I know for sure though is the reason for all of this: I care about winning! I care about making good decisions! I care about “being better”! I care about beating my opponent(s)! I want to win every game I’m playing! I expect to win if I outplayed my opponent(s)! (I despise people “stealing” from me! I despise people making horrible plays and still winning with it! …) …I care about winning!
Maybe a bit too much – at least for a poker player?! Most certainly, as this whole “correct decision, correct play, wrong outcome, no reward”-stuff is still taking too big a toll on me. There’s no such thing as justice in poker – love it or hate it. All poker players do both…you love it when you’re running good and/or if you made a good/great play and it worked out, you hate it when you’re running bad and/or if you made a bad play or a good/great play that isn’t rewarded. The best way to deal with this fundamental “flaw” of poker, would be to be totally indifferent to results.

I’m trying to get there…but hell, it’s not easy, no, it’s HARD…and how could it be any other way?

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