Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Dangerous Day to Play

I've got the urge to grind some cash games, but not quite the heart after a long day of cooking for family. I know from experience that this is the worst time to load up some tables and go to war. A kind of trance-like tilt can take over your mind when you're too tired to care, and your game (and bankroll) will slowly unravel unless you snap out of it.

Some of the early floundering downswings in my cash graph are the result of such a mind state, which I call apathy tilt. With the click of a button you are calling in spots that you should fold, bluffing with air when it's clear your opponent is strong, set-mining, playing spec hands out of position, paying people off when your gut says you're beat; generally not planning your entry and exit from a hand.

So instead of getting into trouble, I will drop a lime in a Dos Equis and be my own best ally: I will study hand histories...the most interesting hand histories in the world. Here's one now:

In this hand we are both dealt AQ and I have position, yet I miss a chance to win the hand with a bluff-reraise, repping the 9. Unless he is 2nd leveling me, he will not usually continuation bet with a 9 himself, since it would be more +EV to check. If I bet, he can keep calling me to extract value. If I check behind, and he actually has a 9, he can bet on a strong turn card like an ace or king to throw me off and keep me in the hand if I hold one of those cards myself.

So we know in hindsight he shouldn't have a 9 there, and didn't. He made a strong continuation bet, and I surrendered early. Need to remember this situation because it comes up often.

My cardsharp friend bluffed me off a hand just like this in our league tourneys, although I was first to act. I hit two pair on the flop, not trips. He correctly thought if I had the trips, I would not bet into him, so he called my flop and turn bets, thinking I was bluffing. I slowed down on the river, and he bet a little more than half the pot. 

My thoughts were he could have trips himself, or top pair with a better kicker, and I forgot to include a chance that he might be bluffing (he was). I folded, and he told me what he was up to. That kind of play takes heart, experience, and a thoughtful mind.

Well, there's a hand that I could've played better. The fireworks are popping outside, and I think Dos Equis is a good enough play for now.

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