Thursday night, I had tentatively made plans to myself to play in the Step 6 WPT tourney at DoylesRoom.com if a table opened up. Prior to playing we went over to my younger son’s home to wish his wife a happy birthday and to say hello to our youngest granddaughter. We had good time visiting, left later then we planned, did some grocery shopping and went home.
I logged onto DoylesRoom and went to the Step tourneys and found no one waiting. I registered and while waiting I sat down at a cash table. It was No Limit Hold ‘Em with blinds of .10/.20 and I bought in for $12.00.
My goal was to play extremely tight and in position. I would take an occasional shot at the pot with good drawing hands. I would limp in with small pocket pairs in the hopes of getting in cheaply and hitting a set. In many circles, this is called set mining. With the right flop, small pairs turning into sets can make for winning good size pots. Of course you need to be careful. Someone else might make a larger set if the flop have cards higher than yours. It’s a risk versus reward kind of play.
In any case, unless I had AA, KK, QQ,JJ, TT or AK, I was planning on folding to a raise or a re-raise. It seemed every time that I was in the small blind and I called, the big blind would raise me and I would fold with my drawing hand. If I was in the big blind with a hand of any kind, every one would fold to me and I would win half a bet. I was not seeing a lot of action on the good hands that I caught and would be raised out of the pot with the poorer hands.
After an hour of folding hands, I caught an A 10 in the small blind. The big blind raised a minimum bet and I called instead of folding this poor starting hand. The flop was A 8 3. I raised the size of the pot, the big blind raised again. He only had $1.13 left and I was bound and determined that he was not going to push me out of the pot. Besides, what could he possibly have. At the turn, which was a 7, he bet the pot again which put him all-in. I still had him covered so I called. He turned over pocket Aces for three of a kind. The short answer is “Yes” he could have a hand every time he raised me from the big blind. Oh well.
Going back to playing tight, it took over 2 1/2 hours but I won back the 8.00 I had lost with poor decision making and $1,75 more than I started with. By allowing myself to stray from my plan, I had cost myself some time and profit. It was good that this happened now instead of at a Steps tourney or major event. I need to keep more focused and disciplined in my playing.
When you don’t get good hands, do you start to lose focus? Do you start to think that A 10 looks good in the small blind? How patient or disciplined should you be? Or perhaps the better question is, how disciplined should I be?