Monday, January 03, 2005

I mentioned earlier that online poker has been brutal to me the last few weeks. Truly brutal. I have never lost $50 faster in my life, as I did the last couple days on PokerStars - on the bubble EVERY time. Literally.

So tonight, with the $3.08 I had left in my account, I decided to play one of those garbage $1.00 no-limit hold'em tourneys, and sent a dollar over Randy's way so he could play too. (Are we degenerates, or what?!) I decided to experiment a bit. I'd play premium hands only. Here's the list of playable hands: AA, KK, QQ, 10-10, 9-9, 8-8, 7-7, AK, AQ, AJ. That's it, unless I was in a blind and could get in the hand without a raise. No A-x suited, no K-x suited, no suited connectors, no A-10. None of that. Premium hands only.

It was looking pretty grim for the first hour. I made no progress at all and was slowly blinded away. I don't think I won a single pot that first hour, of the very few hands I played. After the break I caught a couple premo's and won a couple pots. Put me up to around 175 rank out of 600 or so people left. I had around 6,000 in chips - right around the average.

I start thinking, hmmm maybe there's something to this. Maybe I'll actually place in this one. Top 225 spots paid, but the last hundred or so spots were a joke, paying $1.13. (I'd take it though!)

Towards the end of the last hour, my demise. I'm holding AA with a raise all-in for 2800 in chips (about half my stack). The rest of the table folded. I called. My opponent had pocket 10's. Wanna know what the board hit? 4-6-7.... 8-9. You've got to be kidding me. Someone piped in, "Nice catch!" Nice catch??! That's not a nice catch - that FOUR CARDS he caught! Unbelievable.

I was surprisingly calm considering the meltdowns of the past week, and continued my play of premium hands only. I caught QQ in late position and played it hard. Lost to runner-runner-runner-runner club flush - I believe the opponent was holding Kc-4d. The room echoed, "Ouch."

By now I'm down to 1,000 in chips, and the antes are eating me up. I fold my big blind and decide to see the next round of hands, hoping to see an overcard or pocket pair I could go all in on. Nada. One hand before the big blind again, and I've got K-3 in my hand. I go all in (which is barely over the big blind anyway), and have one caller. He holds J-9. Flop comes a king. Nice. Turn and river complete his straight. Are ya serious??

That's 3 times where I bet with the best hand pre-flop, even had the best hand on the turn, and got rivered. Seriously rivered.

I went out 372/2087. I guess I should be happy to have beaten 81% of the field. My play statistics for that game:

114 hands played and saw flop:
- 3 times out of 13 while in small blind (23%)
- 7 times out of 13 while in big blind (53%)
- 14 times out of 88 in other positions (15%)
- a total of 24 times out of 114 (21%)

Pots won at showdown - 3 out of 10 (30%)
Pots won without showdown - 3

Note: I was folding small and big blinds when raised, if I didn't have a premium hand. I'm thinking that maybe I should have played them for a discount, but then again - maybe not. My Poker Tracker free trial is done (gotta register it tonight) so I can't yet go back and look at those SB/BB hands I folded to see if I'd have won any of them.

Rivered rivered rivered. I know, it happens. It just seems to be happening to me a lot lately. Then again, I'm sure the caliber of players in a $1 tournament is exactly what you'd expect in a $1 tournament. On the other hand, I probably should not be so quick to judge or stereotype people - after all, ** I ** was playing in a $1 tournament, was I not?

This is where I have to remember to have faith in the numbers. Faith in the fact that over the long haul, statistically I will win playing top hands, and statistically those people who are rivering me like mad will lose in the long run. I don't think you can really be a serious poker player without thinking of this as a long term thing. I read a thought the other day on Maudie's poker blog that really has struck me - the thought that when you sit down to play cards, if you're getting beat, just walk away. Don't try to make up for it so that you end up "up" for the session - because this is really all just one big session. Tomorrow is just a continuation of today, for those of us that are committed to this game. I really like that thought. I've had a hard time putting it to practice this week, but I believe it's definitely an attitude to aspire to.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Shelly (and to all you other PokerStars junkies out there),

    I'm about to get blasted for this post, but...oh well. This is just a lesson I learned from playing on PokerStars. The site rewards risky and loose play ( most poker players...morons). Cases can be made for all hands being pre-determined and "set up" (see Randy's fold 7-2o and have the flop be 7-7-2 reference) but more often than not, the underdog will prevail. In one stretch of play, I busted AA 14 straight times (many of those en route to a 2nd place, $6,000 finish in a $11R) and have lost AA more times than I have won. Not that I am saying, bullets are invincible, but beating (and also losing with) the best hand in the game with that kind of can only make the luck reference so many times before looking elsewhere.

    I have since "retired" from PS (and unfortunately came out to play a couple tourneys in the last week...oops). In two weeks time I took over $8,000. I took second in the $11R mentioned above (out of 1160) and finished 23rd in a $500+$30 tourny on Halloween that paid close to $3,000. In the time I spent on that site, bad beats are all too common. My most recent beat: I was playing a $22R a couple days ago and had KJ suited. I was short stacked and a better ahead of me raised to 60% of my stack. This guy has made a name for himself bluffing and blind stealing so I grow the balls to re-raise him the rest of my stack. He calls (to my dismay) and flips over 6-2o!!! I'm thinking...I got 'em! That'll teach him to push people around!! Flop...J-4-2. I'm ahead. Turn. 3...crap more outs for the ragmaster. River. K...I WIN!!...but the chips slide away and I get the lovely "You finished in blah blah place" window. I didn't notice that the 3 gave him four to the flush with his 2 of clubs! Yeah, I had a Matasow meltdown worthy moment.

    So, in closing, I'll take the rest of my winnings and run. You guys have fun and I promise not to laugh (out loud) when you tell me about your bad beats online!

    See ya later!!


    Oh yeah!

    Part deux....

    I'm looking to have weekly games at my place. Any interested parties in close proximity to Orland Park that I currently don't have contact information for please e-mail me at the address just above.

    Shelly said...
    I'd never blast ya for that post :) I'm probably retired from PS myself - (though I never say never). I had been retired from there, but since everyone plays there, ya know... heh! I prefer the Party sites - even more now that I've discovered Poker Tracker and their heads-up real-time display of statistics during ring games. At least ya got a kick ass poker table out of PS! :)

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