Saturday, April 23, 2005

Fighting it

I'm fighting the second bests today. Bubbled out in 4th place in two $20 SnG's on FTP, and lost half a buyin on the $25NL table - though was up and down and up and down.

The last hand in my last SnG: I've got KhQh in the big blind. Button calls, two folders. Flop comes KKx rainbow. I (very mistakenly) decide to slowplay. It goes check-check. Turn comes a blank. My opponent so far has proven to be a solid player, taking advantage of aggression to sweep up those orphan pots that lay hanging in the wind, so I want him to bet at me. I check again on the turn. Sure enough, he throws out a pot-sized bet (half my stack). I call. River comes an ace. I have a sick sense that I'm beat, though it really didn't compute: every noted showdown hand I had on my opponent had him raising with AK (three times), and he'd just had a conversation with another guy at the table how it's his favorite hand. Somehow, I knew he had it. I prayed not and pushed all in.

He had the AK for the boat, kings over aces, trumping my three of a kind.

Oh well. The positive thing I take from that is that for whatever reason, I was able to put my opponent on the hand. It was part deductive reasoning, and I suppose part poker intuition (which I really think is just the subconscious recognition of patterns in events). Even though the scenario differed from his previous plays on that hand (the typical 3.5xBB raise he made with AK), my gut was right.

On the down side, I don't yet always trust my poker gut, and in this case, my inability to lay down my hand based on my hunch cost me a spot in the money.

I think that trusting the poker intuition just takes time. I play the game of trying to guess my opponents' hole cards quite a bit, and sometimes I'm way off, and sometimes I'm on. But I think that the process of guessing the cards and then seeing the actual result all counts towards patterns that get filed away in the ol' noggin. As the frequency of my correct guesses goes up, I think I'll begin to trust it more.

Well, I'm off. Probably won't be back on tonight, as I have a birthday party to attend. I'll see everybody tomorrow on Stars for the WPBT WSOP Satellite!


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