Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rank-a-Leak

So much for the rush.

-400 for the night, meaning - I'm actually down $26 for the week. Unless I can win $1,026 tomorrow, the rush for 1k is more like "how to waste one week, 35 hours, over 1,00 hands, and a bunch of money pretending you know how to play poker."

What a fucking night.

After I finished berating myself for the first 40 minutes of my drive home, I started thinking about the night and the hands I played and how they went down. What went wrong?

The biggest problem was that I had a LOT of playable hands, but not a single draw came in. By "playable," I mean - big suited cards (AQ was popular for me tonight), suited connectors over 7-8 (from late position only - button, cutoff, or cutoff plus one), mid-pocket pairs... I was also at a decently loose table (6 people average to every flop - sometimes more, sometimes less) with a handful of calling stations that sweetened the pots by calling down with bottom pair. With most of my drawing hands, I had odds to see the flop and turn, and sometimes even the river. Not a single straight or flush came in. None of my pocket pairs flopped sets (I counted 9 pocket pairs 5's or higher).

In addition to my playable drawing hands, my big pairs got crushed (early and often). No sense rehashing, since it was mostly like I said in my last post.

OK.. so I bled a lot of chips chasing draws, in addition to the suckouts. But - was I playing any differently than normal? Was there anything I could have done, short of changing my starting hand requirements (which are straight out of Sklansky/Malmuth's Small Stakes Hold'em)? Maybe I was playing differently because I wanted too badly to have a winning session for my Spring Break Rush.

I did play a few extra hands. Let's play Rank-a-Leak. I'll tell you what I did differently than I normally do, and you tell me how big of a leak you think it was. (Big leak, small leak, or not a leak).

  • Hand #1: A2 of clubs, big blind. 2 limpers, and the button raises. I called the raise to see the flop. Flop gave me a gutshot wheel draw and a backdoor flush draw (plus the overcard ace). It checked around to the button, who bet out. I called the small bet. The turn failed to complete my straight or give me the draw to the flush, so I check-folded.
Big leak? Little leak? Not a leak?
  • Hand #2 (well, 2 hands) - Twice: I saw flops in multiway pots from late position with small suited connectors - 4-5 suited and 5-6 suited. (My typical standard lowest connectors I'll play are 7-8 suited). I folded after the flops missed me.
Big leak? Little leak? Not a leak?
  • Hand #3: I played AQ offsuit from UTG+1, limping instead of raising. I hit a Q on the flop and bet it all the way. I was called down by a calling station who played every hand he was dealt, until he popped me on the river with a raise when the third spade hit the board. I called his raise. He had AQ of spades for the flush.
Big leak? Little leak? Not a leak?
  • Hand #4: I raised UTG with pocket 10's (somewhat out of frustration... I normally limp from early position with 10's and lower in loose games, knowing that any overcard is going to beat me when 6 people come to the flop, unless I hit a set). I got no action and won the blinds. Maybe the set of 10's was coming?
Big leak? Little leak? Not a leak?
  • Hand #5: I played T-9 offsuit on the button when 6 people limped ahead of me and the blinds had yet to act. 9 people saw the flop. I flopped an open ended straight draw on a board of 7-8-K. I called a flop bet and a turn bet. (Everybody saw the turn, and 6 of the 9 players, including myself, came to the river). I didn't hit my draw and folded to the river bet.
Big leak? Little leak? Not a leak?

I've calculated how much I think I could have saved, had I folded the hands that I feel were the biggest leaks preflop. I'm curious what you guys think though. I'm not sure if I'm encouraged or disheartened by the fact that the bets I would have saved hardly affect the end result.

I'm trying not to fall into a self-pity pit here, or slip into the "I suck at poker so why do I even bother" mindset, because all of that crap is counter-productive. I know that I can't judge how well I play based on the results of ONE session. I know that part of poker is losing, and that bad luck is different than bad play. I know that the cards have no memory, and just because today's session was awful doesn't mean that the cards will be awful to me forever, or even tomorrow. I know that I cannot blame the math of drawing to outs for my losses tonight, and that I must believe in the math in the LONG RUN, not just over one session. I know that I do want some fish at my table, even though the suckouts are painful.

I know all of this, but it sure is hard to reconcile what I "know" with the fact that in one 4 hour session, my 2006 results at 5/10 limit have gone from an average profit of 1.7 BB/hour and 5.69 BB/100 hands to a dismal profit of 0.4 BB/hour and 1.48 BB/100 hands. In. One. Session. Granted, I only have 8 sessions and a total of 38 hours logged (just over 1,100 hands), but for someone who puts such faith in the math behind this game, the math of my results makes me want to throw up.

I know, I know... I could win that all back tomorrow and then some.

I'm going to end this rambling pep talk to myself and make tonight's mantra: you're still playing at a profit. Tonight was one bad night. Tomorrow will be better.

In the meantime, feel free to be honest in ranking my leaky hands. As much as I could use a pep talk to counter the negative voices in my head, I think it's even more important that I don't make the same mistakes in the future, and I could really use someone else's perspective but my own right now.

Thanks in advance, everybody. Your input is invaluable. Have a good day....



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4 Comments:

  1. Sloejack said...
    I'm sure the answers you will get will vary based on the responders and their own takes on playing but here's my thoughts.

    Hand #1: Probably a big leak. Something PT showed me during the first year of my online play is that Ax(little)s was a giant leak of chips for me because even though I'd have the nut flush when it hit, over the long run I lost a lot more than I won. I'm limited myself to A,T-Ks in any position that I need to call a bet or a raise. If it's free (BB) or half priced(SB) I'll see the flop.

    Hand #2: Missing piece of information, were the multi-way pots raised or limped all around? How many people constitutes a multiway pot for you? Even though they were multi-way pots pre-flop did you have the odds to gamble on? I use the word gamble intentionally here because you state that normally you wouldn't play these hands, probably for good reason, so why change your pattern just because a few extra fish are in the sea. A weak hand is a weak hand regardless of if 1 or 9 people are seeing the flop. Though with the position and the pot odds in your favor it can sometimes pay off.

    Hand #3: Based on the description I think this may only be a small leak. The leak being the play on the river. In my experience calling stations are just that. They rarely/never raise on the river unless they know they have the nuts and know that whoever is still in it is likely to call any raise from a calling station. The other part of that is calling stations are typically those on a draw of some sort, with the 3rd spade hitting the river that had to be a concideration and I would have check/called (if I needed to know if he was playing suited trash) or check/folded if I already knew that player liked to play any two suited and likely had hit his jackpot.

    Hand 4: I tend to develop a tight agressive table image after awhile so even in early position I don't limp when I've got a hand I want to have a chance to stand up. Even at loose tables your chances of cutting down the over card holders is pretty good. You'll likely hold onto Ax and people holding any two broadway (I'll ignore the complete nuts who will play any two cards because they generally don't last at a table long enough to matter) with that in mind, you see how the flop treats you and if it folds around back to your raise, that's ok too because that information can be useful later if the table feels particularly weak and you want to try and buy the blinds on a bluff.

    Hand #5: No leak there, with that many players it was difficult to not have odds and with an open ended I would have seen it to the turn at least and likely the river with that many bets in the pot.

    As you pointed out sometimes you have peaks in valleys in terms of how hard the deck smacks you around but I think you'd be surprised over the long term about how saving a few bets here and there does actually make a difference.
    cc said...
    Shelly--

    I won't get too much into specific hands, but it might be a bit playing hopeful poker rather than solid. I tend to start getting too speculative and wimping out a bit on my hands when I'm live in a funk. For example, I would 100% of the time raise #5 on the flop and at least get the free card, the limping instead of raising with AQ. One suggestion I would have if you're feeling things slipping when playing live is to take a walk, get up and take twenty or thirty minutes, wash your face, sit somewhere else, heck call a buddy. Not so much as to diagnose what's wrong as to clear things out so that you can play your best.
    Mark said...
    My 0.02:
    1) Not a leak. With A2s, you can pretty safely assume the limpers will call, giving you about 7:1 odds. The flop is also giving you about 7:1 (4 outs for the gutshot, 1.5 for the overcard, 1.5 for the backdoor draw), so a call is justified. Looks good to me.
    2) Not a leak. Small suited connectors suck in general ... unless they hit in a big multiway pot.
    3) Leak. AQ is a strong hand that needs to be raised, not limped. Calling raises on the river is also leaky, but it's one of the more difficult leaks to fix.
    4) Leak. Pocket 10s are a premium hand that will make you more money with a raise than a limp. If you limp with pocket 10s, they're worth little more than any other lower pocket pair.
    5) Not a leak. 10-9 sucks in general, but I like playing it on the button in a multiway pot.
    Good luck!
    Shelly said...
    Thanks everybody for the feedback!!! It's so helpful to hear other peoples' points of view.

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