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Who says experimenting is only for college?

postoakpoker Okay, I guess the title is a bit of a misnomer, since I’m still “in college,” so sorry for fibbing to get you to read. Recently I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things. For the past 3 days I’ve been putting in some decent, shorter sessions at the cash games to keep the blood/money flowing. Nothing special as far as results, but hey, I made a little bank. Honestly, the money is less important to me than rediscovering my rhythm and desire to play.

My session ended pretty abruptly today when a guy pretty much put his whole stack in on the turn with nothing but a naked OESD and hit. I don’t know why, but this tilted me more than it normally would (i.e. I hit my chair’s armrest a bit harder). I promptly ended the session and watched a movie (“The Bank Job”, a very good film btw). For the time being, I think my decision to end my sessions when I’ve taken a string of bad beats is a good one, because it keeps me from tilting. However, if I’m going to grow as a player, I have to be able to take a few punches to the chin in stride. For the time being, my solution works for me; after I work out the many kinks in my game, then I can start to work on my mental fortitude.

After I finished the movie, I kind of wanted to play again, but didn’t feel like doing the cash game thing on Cake, so I fired up stars and decided to try a few 180’s. I had probably played 2 or 3 of these before, but hadn’t had any success. I think that the 180’s are the perfect tool for anybody looking to improve their tournament game. Obviously the prize pools & FT money aren’t nearly as good as the tourneys with thousands of runners, but they take a lot less time to whittle down to the nitty gritty, and there’s obviously less variance. You go through each stage of a tournament, and since they're so much shorter, you can play that many more (unless you're Shaun Deeb, who plays 30 tourneys no matter what); practice makes perfect

One of the biggest weaknesses in my tourney game is that I play too automatically during the middle/late stages. I fold marginal hands and generally pass up spots to potentially accumulate chips. I decided to stop being such a wuss about it and consciously looked to pick up pots uncontested preflop and on the flop. Due to a combination of weak-tight opponents and well-timed aggression (and probably a pinch of running goot), I was able to build up my stacks and make both FT’s.

Unfortunately, despite having pretty playable stacks in both (25kish at 500/1k), I busted in 8th and 7th, respectively. In the first, I lost a race w/ AJ to 99 that brought me down to 12k. I then shoved AQs over a raise and lost to QJo. In the 2nd, I raised a limper (who loved to call utg w/ ace rag) w/ A10o. He donked out on the 1092r flop, and I shoved. He tanked for a while and called, tabling QJo. Turn bricked, but the river brought an 8 and I was down to 11k. I then shoved AQo and got looked up by KJo. The J on the turn sealed my fate and I was knocked out early again.

Overall, I’m happy with my play, but disappointed with the results. I guess that’s a feeling that I’ll have to get very used to if I decide to pursue tournament poker with any level of seriousness. I felt I was by far the best player at both FT’s (what’s that, a poker player with a slight ego?). With that said, I’m looking forward to continuing my experimentation a bit more with the 180’s. I look to be updating in a few days reporting the inevitable 180 victory! Hope you guys all have a fun and safe 4th of July. I plan on BBQing and drinking my ass off, all in the spirit of helping celebrate our nation's birth, of course. Also, best of luck to anybody playing in the Main Event!


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