This trip to the Horseshoe-Bossier City was filled with perils and pitfalls for me, both on the table and psychologically. If you keep up w/ my blog, you know that I am on a total heater for the month of August. One of the problems with running hot is that you can become over-confident in your own abilities. Over-confidence leads to bad play, bad play leads to resignation to the variance of the game, resignation leads to acceptance of failure, and acceptance of failure leads to playing not to lose. Playing not to lose isn’t winning poker; it’s a slow bleed of your bankroll that demoralizes you. It’s a downward spiral and is very tough to pull out of.
I continue to run WHITE HOT: Parts I & II
In the first hour at the table, I was playing tight and well. I had basically broken even for a little while, when I got dealt Pocket Rockets
in MP. There were 2 limpers ahead of me and I made it $12 to go. Both of the blinds called and the two original limpers folded. Pot = $40. The flop hits T
and the SB pushes AI for $28. The BB thinks a second and smooth-calls the $28 and I make it $100 to go, thinking that if the BB is on a flush draw that he will fold to this bet. The BB mulls over his options again, and eventually calls the additional $72. I put him on a JT or a flush draw and decide that I am probably not ahead at this point. The turn is the most perfect card in the deck, the A
. The BB checks again and I give him the speech, “You hit your flush didn’t you?” I check behind to lure his last $70 into the pot on the river. The river is an absolute brick and when the BB checks to me again, I grab a full 20 stack of reds and spike them into the pot. He thinks briefly again and announces that he calls. I don’t even wait for them to reveal their hands, I flip my hand over and tell the dealer to ship it over my way. The SB shows his K
for the nut flush and the BB shows the J
for the flopped trips. How good do I run? This pot gets my confidence swelling and I’m the first big stack to emerge at the table w/ $445 in front of me.
The next hand is questionable, but I had a gut feeling and the BB was $300 plus deep after the SB made his own very questionable move. I limp into a multi-way pot from MP w/ the 6
and am joined by a few more late position players. The SB completes and the BB makes it $7 to go. This pot-builder raise doesn’t dissuade anyone and we’ve now got a pot. When the action gets back to the SB, he pushes $30 more into the pot and has $1 behind. The BB calls and it folds around to me. I evaluate the situation as follows: there’s around $40 already in the pot prior to the SB’s move, the BB is almost as deep as I am, I’m being offered >3 to 1 preflop with a very deceptive hand, I am unlikely to get reraised out of this pot from the LP players who have just called twice already, the SB isn’t likely to have a very strong hand since he didn’t raise initially and the BB isn’t likely to be super strong since he didn’t make an isolation raise to get the pot heads up. I elect to call and the LP players all fold. The flop comes Ace high, all hearts and they both check to me. I attempt to bet $1 to put the SB AI, but the dealer informs me that the minimum bet is $2. They both call, so we now have a $2 side pot! Woo hoo!!! The turn is a total brick, the BB checks to me again and I figure that I am through with this charade and push a $50 stack out into the middle, which gets the BB to fold. The river is another heart and the SB shows down A
for TP and I flip my flush over FTW. This stirs the table up a little and I am now on uber card rush tilt!!!
Hubris sets in…
Seizing the momentum, I start playing around 60% of the hands dealt to me because I am INVINCIBLE. This goes on for about an hour. I get called down bluffing after I semi-bluffed the flop and turn by an old man who ends up having my number all day. I mean, I flop TPGK against this guy and I bet the flop and turn, the river pairs the bottom card from the flop and we get his entire short stack into the pot, and he flips over his rivered trips. Sometimes there is just nothing that you can do!
At this point, I am back down to only a $90 profit on the day and I have resigned myself to accepting a small win to a loss. I figured that this rush of cards has got to end eventually and that this could be that time. I tightened up and began to play some weak tight poker, trying not to give away the small profit that I had left.
Even nits make money when they are running goot!
I’m convinced that AJo is a very neutral EV hand in cash games, so I play it accordingly. One particular hand, I limped in from MP3 w/ it, along w/ 6 other players. The flop was J
and a lady in the SB leads out for $10. Typically, a $10 flop bet is called by everyone, but this lady hadn’t played too many hands and no one seemed to want to tangle up w/ her, so the table folded around to me w/ my TPTK and I just smooth called to await further developments. The turn was a brick, and the lady fired off another $15 into the pot. I smooth called again, trying not to fall into any traps because I was playing like a weak-tight nit. The river finally made me feel that I had the best hand by virtue of my kicker as the J
fell off. I had put the lady on a jack the whole way, and I was just hoping that she didn’t have some sick two pair that had just filled up on me. She led for $25 on the river and I reluctantly made it $75 to go, and was prepared to call an AI for her remaining $50. She called the raise and mucked to my top trips w/ top kicker.
Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery…
At this point, I took hold of myself mentally and did a little self-assessment. I realized where my mind was and how I was playing the game—not to lose. I missed $50 of profit on that hand, I was just playing my cards and wasn’t playing my tight aggressive A game. My session ended shortly after this mental recap because my friend and ride back home had gone busto. I racked up my chips, still $200 up, and headed out satisfied that my overconfidence didn’t run me aground, and that I had recognized when my game had spun out of control. Note to self: leave the hubris at home next trip!