Friday, June 21, 2013

Losing begets bad play just as winning begets good play?

I know it shouldn't be this way, but sometimes, when we experience these kinds of trends it pervades our thoughts and our game.  Clearly, this is not the way it should be; whether we're winning or losing, we should strive to play a solid, "A" game every time we are dealt cards.

Card dead?  Not a problem!

Pay attention to the guy who's folding or whatever on your left.  It's a valuable opportunity to improve your reads and perhaps pick up a tell or two.  As a minimum, you may be able to determine whether he grabs his chips when he's readying to make a raise.  That tell will save you money from limping or raising your weaker-ranged hands.

Watch for other players and how they play their hands.  Do they check the turn when they give up?  Do they shuffle their chips nervously when they make a bluff?  You should treat this time as a learning opportunity to improve your intangibles game.

Finally made a hand?  You can fold it!

I got into this situation where I couldn't believe my made hands are constant losers.  For the past month or two, I've become used to missing my draws.  I understandably got excited when I finally made a 5-card hand.  It was clearly not the nuts, and I should have folded it in retrospect given the action.  However, I got into the mindset that it was incomprehensible to me that I make my hand [finally after 2 months of waiting] yet am still behind.

For the hand in the link, I was not ready to accept that fate that the hand I held was a loser.  More to the point, if I believe the hand is the winner, I shouldn't be just calling a river bet - I should be raising.  I think part of me subconsciously knows I'm beat there by my lack of raise, but I willfully accepted my beatdown like a lamb to the slaughterhouse.

Get over it!  If you're a winning player, you're still winning.

There is no "due" or "owe" in poker.  The simple fact is you can be the best player in the world, and fold fold fold your way out of paying off the winners of the hands you play, yet the cards owe you nothing.  You are not due for a nut hand.  You are not in line for Sklansky (which, as I'm writing this, blogger tries to auto-correct Sklansky to Klansman - go figure) dollars.  There is no EV bank in the sky keeping track of your lifetime variance.  Each hand is independent from one another.  Each new player is independent from one another.  One player and one hand has no memory of how your past session / week / month went.  They don't know and don't care.  They're just playing their cards.  (Good thing, too - because they probably wouldn't want to play with you if they knew your lifetime winnings or history / experience with the game.)

You have a choice: you can either accept your fate as the natural course of cards, or you can fight it.  Acceptance will lead to an eventual turnaround (hopefully), and fighting the "fate" will lead to further losses (i.e. improper bluffs, bad calls, bad play).  Your choice.

One last footnote.

I want to point out something that happened to me while playing last night.  It didn't really affect my play, but I was seething mad at an annoying guy who kept laughing inappropriately.  He wasn't doing it get reactions, but he was more the type to laugh for tension release or reasons unknown.  I couldn't wait to stick it to him; I never got the opportunity, but I really took it too far.  When he lost a major pot, I started laughing loudly, and in a forced manner, trying to mimic him.  I tried to tilt him as he was subconsciously doing to me.  He was too aloof / dumb to really understand or know what I was doing, but it didn't feel good to be the verbal bully at the table.  That's not me - that's not my game.

I don't understand why it annoys me so much when player play laughably badly.  This guy (first, from the SB) called a raise to $25 (my late position raise to iso with QcJc on a straddled limp pot) with $51 behind with 6c4c.  Flop came 4d Tc Kc and he auto shipped the flop.  Natch, I called & missed my 19 outs.  This is the same guy who, an hour later, insisted on checking out an opponent's stack to "see how much you have behind - for pot odds!" and proceeded to get it in with 2 pair against a flopped nut straight for totally incorrect pot odds.

I need to stop allowing this kinda crap to bother me.  I need to zone it out.  I need to stop focusing in on the hatred and anger for this guy (I'm sure he's a very friendly guy outside of the casino), and work on more productive things like creative ways to extract chips from every player instead of zeroing in on the annoying guy.  Even though I'll likely never see him again, and he'll never read this article, I want to take the bottom of this post to apologize for my over-the-top inappropriate behavior.  To the dude that looks like an Asian Harry Potter, I am sorry for my behavior at the table last night.

Point is: we need to stop sweating the small stuff and focus on the important things when we're playing.


  1. Sometimes it is hard to focus when a player just irritates you for whatever reason. That usually signals a table change for me. I try to remember that horrible players are the land of opportunity and try to stick with it out even when irritated in hopes that they will soon be digging into their pockets for a rebuy courtesy of me.

    1. Absolutely, which is why I love cash so much more than tourneys. However, when you're sitting at a good table of Level 0 or Level 1 players, it's really tough to convince yourself to change tables.

      I was at the ideal table - this guy was not affecting my game, but more of a meta game tilt; I found myself targeting him on more than one occasion, which, while I'm confident in my game to play ATC, there were hands which I shouldn't call a raise but opted to based on the raiser and the chance to bust him.

  2. "I don't understand why it annoys me so much when player play laughably badly. This guy (first, from the SB) called a raise to $25 (my late position raise to iso with QcJc on a straddled limp pot) with $51 behind with 6c4c. Flop came 4d Tc Kc and he auto shipped the flop. Natch, I called & missed my 19 outs."

    Seems like a dream spot to me but I get that if you are running bad it can get old quick. Oh and if this frustrates you to no end might want to steer clear of

  3. @Brian - Yes, dream spot. I couldn't believe he's first to call with 64cc for $25 with $50 behind. It was such an easy snap call.

    I started playing PLO online and got very frustrated very quickly - it took all of 3 weeks for me to take a break from online altogether. I need to get back into it again. I was starting to 2 table, but I really want PLO to be a fun "sideshow" game rather than a primary game. I want to keep NLHE as the bread & butter, but PLO was turning into a daily thing. Couple my online returns (or lack thereof; I think I've been more or less sideways since I started PLO) with the live results and I've been in a real bad place for the past 2 months.

  4. I have found that Limit Omaha 8 is a fun game if some diversion is needed.

  5. How about, A run of bad cards begets bad play just as a run of good cards begets good play?

  6. PM,

    I totally understand what you are talking about. This sounds like a common theme to the play at CT.

    I sit there like a fox waiting for my oppurtunity, which never comes, I wait some more (expanding my range), in the mean while, I become instrumental in contributing to his ever growing stack.

    Played two hands with an asian as well:
    He joined the table new, but, I did play him before. This guy doesn't have a fold button if he feels he has a decent hand. We are playing a 1/2 game.

    H1: Raise to 17, one caller, I saw two black Q's (with 120ish stack). He was sitting with a stack of reds less than 100. I didn't see a point of calling and folding here. I raise AI to 120 total. One more caller joins for less. He deliberates for a few secs (good no K's or A's) and makes the call bringing in the black chip that was hidden under his whites!

    Flop: An A with two diamonds, turn diamond, river diamond. I loose the main pot to shorty's KJos with a J diamond and loose the side pot to the Asian's AQ hearts.

    H2: 56s clubs (stack: 170) , I raise to 10 from the button, 4 callers. F: A78 with A8 clubs.
    EP bets 20, Asian makes it 120. Once again I love this flop with its multi draw potential (I am thinking the Asian has two pair at best), so, I get it in for 170. EP folds, Asian deliberates for a few secs and makes the call with pocket 7's for the middle set.

    T: was the wonderful Q clubs. R: was the dagger with A of spades.

    GG Me!

    I run to the exit as I was nearing my cut off time. The revenge has to wait for another day.


    1. I'm very much in the camp of either you crush them or they beat you with suckouts. It's either one extreme or the other - fortunately the crushing part is a larger win than the suckouts' smaller losses. I'm waiting for that sizable win "push" too.

      I'm also seeing the stupid rat holing of the larger chips at the bottom of the stacks. In fact, I am going to say something to the floor / management the next time I see it. The dealers should be enforcing the rule of larger denomination chips to the top of the stack. Frequently, I've been seeing players hide their greens and black underneath. It's very hard to distinguish the greens from the reds in a stack at ctown.

  7. Late to the party, but better late than never. Your title reminds me of my saying, "Losing begets losing; Winning begets winning." I think it is more than just losing causing bad play and winning causing good play. It also has to do with perceptions. People will call you more if you are losing and therefore, you will get caught more or suffer more suckouts. The exact opposite happens when you appear to be winning.

    Also, you already know this, but those terrible players are your money makers. They also loosen up the table and get other players off of their game. I don't know if it will help, but if you really want to screw the guy, next time just encourage his bad play. Say, "well played" or "nice hand" or "I couldn't read you to have that there, sir. Well played!" Make him feel confident that he is playing the right way and earning respect. Shaming him will just make him self conscious and probably will cause him to tighten up and play better.


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