Monday, February 12, 2007

Poker & Life Lessons

Okay, first of all, I now know that a "live" game doesn't refer to a game with living people. If this makes you roll your eyes, then re-check the title of my blog. Everybody has to start somewhere.

Second, I want to acknowledge that Phil didn't let me down in regards to discussing tournament play. I simply hadn't read that part of his book yet. At least I admit my mistakes.

Third, I've discovered a wonderful way to get experience with tournament play with UltimateBet. They have these things called "freeroll" tournaments- meaning, it's free to register and play (once you download their software).

I've played in three Be a Pro tournaments so far, and although my performance hasn't been stellar , I've learned some things about playing poker- and myself.

In the first tournament, I started out playing conservatively, so although I protected my chips, I quickly became the short stack at the table. Yet I should have learned something from the big stack (who routinely moved all-in before the flop on a number of hands), who called us all a bunch of pussies before busting out on the next hand.

The higher they go, the harder they fall. I also observed this as I watched the players in top three positions change every few minutes.

Becoming frustrated with my short stack status, I started playing too loosely, which was how I busted out. I placed somewhere in the 1000 range (out of about 2000 players).

In my second tournament, I played conservatively (meaning I only played pairs or high connectors, like Ace-King). The problem with this strategy was that I rarely got decent hands, so when I got a pair of 3's (after again becoming one of the short stacks at the table), I took a deep breath and played them aggressively.

Despite only being in middle position and having a bunch of overcards on the flop. I busted out in 1230th place (again, out of about 2000 people) by a player with position on me who made a paired a 5 on the flop.

Now, in my defense, I'd noticed that this player played practically anything. That's why I raised the player. What should have stopped me were the overcards.

I busted out in under 30 minutes. I need to learn patience. I also need to trust my gut, which was warning me about those overcards. Instead I paid attention to the bullying voice in my head that kept telling me to "Go for it!"

Tonight I was more patient. I folded a lot of hands, despite becoming the short stack. But I wasn't patient enough- I ended up losing with a pair of 8's, which was middle pair, to a player who managed to make a higher pair with the flop. I lasted nearly an hour (the longest I've lasted so far) in 670th place.

I always wanted to play poker because it looked like fun- a great way to have camaderie with people while playing a game. I never thought I'd learn so much about myself in the process.

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