Lessons learned, Lessons to Apply

Palace - Gambling Keno Poker
Image by love not fear via Flickr

Ever since I decided that this was the year to try my hand at becoming a professional poker player and playing up to 20 hours a week either online or at a casino or poker room, I knew that the journey was not going to be easy.  I currently own over 29 different types of poker books. Some are specific about playing cash games or tournaments; some are about playing Limit Holdem; some are about playing No Limit Hodem. Some are about poker math and poker theory. I have read many of these books twice  and will probably read them again as the need arises. Even now, I have added to my shopping list 13 more poker titles that I need in order to complete my junior and senior years of poker playing before I graduate this year.

Whenever I am having a tough time at the tables or have had a significant loss, I turn inward to myself and to my poker reference books for answers.

Last Saturday night I had one of those tough times. I went to the local Seabrook Poker Room, located inside of the Seabrook Greyhound Racetrack in Seabrook NH. I played $2/4 limit poker from 6:30pm to 9:30pm and had a losing evening, for a total loss of $106.00. My original buy-in was $60, and I reloaded for another $60 when I was down to $12 in chips.

So far, losing deeply had not been a problem here. I have been here a total of five times to far, and up until this evening, I had won a total of $128. Most of those prior evenings, I would have large chip fluctuations before ending up on the plus side. The reason for these large fluctuations is due to the type of players at the table.

At a table of nine there might be one or two tight players and two loose players and then the remaining ones would be  extremely loose, playing almost every hand to the river regardless of their holdings or how dangerous the board may have looked. This type of table can provide a very profitable experience if you are a good tight aggressive player and play your premium hands to the end. Because of the looseness of the table you are going to take a bad beat from time to time.

In a prior evening, I had pocket Kings and this hand was the best hand right up to the river. My opponent had a pair of pocket sixes and caught a 6 at the river to bust my hand. He called everyone of my raises;  the board had over cards to his holding, yet he kept on calling in the hopes of making his two outer ( a two outer meaning there were only two cards left in the deck that could help his hand).  After he scooped up the pot, I just said nice hand and cleared my head to get ready for the next hand. By playing tight and aggressive I grew my original $100 to $228 over the prior four games despite the occasional bad beat.

This Saturday night however was slightly different. I was what is known as card dead. I was not catching anything that could take down the pot. Over the course of the evening I was dealt over 120 hands and only had about 10 hands that were barely playable.  I had pocket 10’s once, pocket 8’s once, and pocket 3’s once (which I folded “UTG”). The other playable cards that I did were A J, A 10, and I even played A 9 on the button. I did have a couple of small suited connectors such as 7 8’s, but even these holdings were limited.  I won a couple of small pots but basically I would get a hand and the flop hit me so badly I would have to fold to heavy betting. Because the table was extremely loose, I would have needed a better hand to get to the river and survive. Tonight I was not catching cards. Luck was not on my side. The table was so loose that I could not even try to bluff now and again.  Now I don’t really believe in luck, but in the randomness of the cards. It is said that the cards have no memory, but after having been dealt a 7 3, three times in a row, you have to start questioning that saying too. My original plan of action was to play for three hours and at 9:30pm, it was time for me to leave. I had lost a total of $106 that night, but was still up $22 overall over the last five sessions. Had I been playing poorly or was tired, then my course of action would have been to just get up and leave and not stay until 9:30 pm.

Since last Saturday night I have had time to think about what I could have or should have done. I have re-read a few chapters of some of my favorite books and decided that my playing was sound. The only thing I could have done differently was to change tables. This might not have helped what hands I received but it would have given me a chance to change my table image. At my current table, I was appearing to be a good natured loser who was getting chipped away at (the big and the small blinds every nine hands were eating away my chips, especially if I called to see a flop before having to fold).

By moving to a new table, I could have started out with  a fresh table image. I could play the players regardless of the cards I held because these players would have no prior knowledge of what had just happened to me. They would not know if I had a hand or not. Moving to a new table might have been one way I could have turned my “luck” around. Of course, I trust that my next outings are not similar to this one and that the cards truly have no memory and that I don’t see a pile of 7 3 or 7 2 cards in front of me most of the evening.

Be careful on the felts. You could get rug burned.

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4 thoughts on “Lessons learned, Lessons to Apply

  1. Pingback: Lessons learned, Lessons to Apply : DadsPokerBlog

  2. Nice post Steve. I was at a Pro Chat with Howard Lederer recently and he was asked “How do you avoid bad beats.” His answer was, short and poignant – “Don't play good cards.”He went on to explain that Bad Beats will happen in poker. It's inevitable. And you will go through runs that are good, and runs that are bad for absolutely no reason whatsoever. But over an extended period of time should tell you where you stand with respect to how well you've played. Once you can minimize your losses at the lower limits, and maxmize your profits, you've arrived as a pro. Good luck.

  3. Sometimes you just have one of those days, cards will not always be hot for you and if you are playing at a table with all calling stations there is not much you can do. Great blog btw look forward to more of your poker stories.

  4. Sometimes you just have one of those days, cards will not always be hot for you and if you are playing at a table with all calling stations there is not much you can do. Great blog btw look forward to more of your poker stories.

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