Thursday, July 14, 2005
After this afternoon's boat brutality, I've won a nice little tourney. Not a big windfall, mind you, but a very satisfying win.
After my last post, I went and did as I said and cleaned the basement. Randy's moving in with me in a couple weeks, and I've been doing some minor home improvements and a ton of cleaning. You see, I bought this house 3 1/2 years ago. I've lived here by myself all that time, and have somehow managed to fill every nook and cranny of this place with STUFF. Lots and lots of STUFF. At first, I used the basement as my office (it's finished). Then, I got tired of never seeing natural sunlight (since I spend so much time on the computer). So I turned it into a rec room... and a place to put all my junk! I don't think I've thrown anything out in 3 years. So... time to clean out the junk. The worst was my collection of obsolete computer hardware and parts and half-built machines that have been stripped for parts over the years. I'm throwing out so much stuff - an old scanner that doesn't work with XP, a handful of old ISA NIC's and modems (the motherboards on both of my desktop systems are too new to have ISA slots), a boxful of old SIMM memory... I thought of putting it all up on eBay as a computer junk box, but the stuff really isn't even worth it. Who wants my old socket 7 mainboard with a 350 MHz processor? I almost kept it. You never know when you're going to want to throw up a Linux box as a firewall or router or something... ARRRGGG!! "That's why you have so much JUNK in the first place - THROW IT AWAY!" (that order courtesy of the voices in my head).
So it's all going. Going going gone.
After moving the air hockey table to the now-empty other side of the room to make space for Randy's couches, I did some vaccuuming and spot-cleaning of the carpet, and wrapped up for the night. Then, I caught ESPN's SportsCenter to get the latest info on the NHL's return. (Randy told me that Jeremy Roenick was interviewed, and being the native Chicagoan and die-hard Philly Flyers fan that I am, I was looking forward to catching his ever-entertaining comments). WAHOOO! HOCKEY IS BACK!
Sorry. Using a lot of caps in this post.
After catching JR's comments (he managed not to put his foot in his mouth this time), I made my way to the computer. Dare I sign onto the poker machine again?
I pulled up Pauly's WSOP LiveBlogging for entertainment and enlightenment while folding, and fired up Full Tilt. I was almost to the next bonus money release from last week's $100 reload, and had $38 left in my account. I decided to put the pedal to the metal - I was either going to bust out tonight, or make me some money. I pulled up two $.50/1.00 limit tables - one for $10 and one for $20, and signed up for a 2-table sit-n-go for $5.50.
I ran into the bad beat smackdown on my $10 table and busted off of that one, but was catching monsters preflop on the other table and they were mostly holding up. I found myself up a buy-in quickly, and by the time the table broke up, I had $45 on that table.
The SnG... not so good. Cold decked as a mofo. I resisted the urge to play hands like K6s (it looked so juicy good compared to the junk I was folding!) and kept telling myself to be patient. While I didn't have high hopes for the tourney as I blinded away, somehow I also didn't fall into the "might as well push and get it over with" mentality. Lately I've had that problem, which is probably a lack of focus more than anything. I managed to limp into the final table with barely 4 big blinds in front of me. Goal #1 accomplished. We're down to 9 players.
With a couple well timed hands and a little luck, my holdings allowed me to double up a couple times and get back in the race. In the meantime, a few people went out, and we were down to 6 players. I was 5th in chips, but not behind by far. Four places paid in this game (though I really wanted top 3).
I stuck to my oober-patient self and resisted the urge to make blind steal attempts. I couldn't afford to be called with marginal holdings and miss the flops. The two people to my left were the two chip leaders, and both of them were blind defenders (the 2nd guy more than the first). I folded my small blinds unless I held an overcard & decent kicker or had a decent hand (since 2nd guy also liked to raise all-in every time I limped. I vowed to wait it out and catch him at it with a monster).
The guy immediately to my left was a bit too impatient, and managed to give his chips away to the aggro to his left, and I managed to take out the guy to my right when I found AA in the big blind. It was folded to him and he min-raised preflop. I smooth-called, and when the flop came rags, he pushed all in. I had him covered, and of course called. He'd pushed with A high, and my rockets held up. We're in the money!
I was now chip leader over the other two guys, holding more than twice what each of them had. They were about even. I remained tight as a rock, and let them beat each other up. They also liked folding the blinds to me, which was nice.
I managed to lose 1/3 of my stack to aggro when I raised from the button preflop with A8 diamonds. He re-raised all in, as he was famous for, and I decided to try and pick him off. He turns over A5o and I'm happy as hell about my call, until he spikes a 5 on the turn and beats me. I was still chip leader, but now aggro and I were about tied, and the third guy was the little man on the totem pole.
Somehow I can't remember how the 3rd guy went out, but I ended up heads up against aggro. He wasn't the type to play out a skillful heads-up match. On the first hand, I limped with Ace-ten, and he pushes all in. He had me covered, but... well, if I'm not going to get a good game out of him, here goes nothing. I called, and he turned over 8-6 suited. He hit an 8 on the flop, but I turned an Ace and crippled him. On the next hand, I'm on the button with K2o. Blinds were 500/1,000 and he only had 4,000 left. I looked down at K2o. A king is a favorite to any random hand heads-up, so I min-raised. It would take half his stack to call, and he pushed all in. I called, and both of my cards were live. I had the best hand preflop with the king high (can't remember his hand), and I managed to hit the King to take the win.
Wheee! $36 I think was the prize for first place. I'm back up to almost what I bought in with, and feeling much better.
What I'm most proud of is my focus and discipline in that tournament. I feel good to have beaten out 17 other people. I haven't won much lately, and even when bad beats are sometimes the cause, it can still be discouraging. I have yet to perfect the art of accepting bankroll variance as a constant. (Is that an oxymoron?) I'm getting better, and have made great strides in keeping a lid on Shellmuth and accepting losses as part of the game, but it still can be discouraging. When I'm discouraged, my game REALLY suffers. I play worse these days when discouraged or disappointed than when I'm angry and tilty. I'm not sure how to combat that - maybe focus on positive thinking after something has discouraged me?
It is certainly true that my cards cooperated with the style of play I had adopted for this game, and that is crucial in any tournament win. But I'm happy that I was able to set my mind to play a certain way and I stuck to it without deviation from my plan. The circumstances only required minor adjustments, which I was able to make. I made an excellent comeback from down to the felt, and feel good about how I did it. It wasn't just dumb luck, for once.
I wonder... some people say they're better short stack players than big stack, and I've always thought that is just silly. But, now that I'm thinking about it, this was the 2nd tournament this week that I've won by coming back from less than 5 BB in front of me. (The other was a single table SnG). However, when I have a nice chip lead, somehow I manage to make donkey dumps and push too hard trying to bully people out of pots and not recognizing when they don't back down. Could it be that being shortstacked forces me to focus and come up with a gameplan and execute it? Of course, I should have that same focus and game plan with a big stack, but honestly it's easy to sit back and relax when you're riding atop a ton of chips. It's also easy to blow a ton of chips as the ego gets involved. Again... it seems to be all about focus and discipline.
No surprise there, right? It's one of those realities of poker that it never hurts to remind ourselves. I can always use the practice at those two skills.