Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tilty McTilt

Not much going on over here...

The fishes took me for $45 Sunday night at the Empress poker room, over 7 hours' time. At one point, I called Randy, after about 5 hours and up $80 or so. I said, "I was going to head home, but the table just got reeeally good... I'm think I can milk a few more chips off this table." He wished me luck and I went back to the table. I watched in disbelief as the new guy at the table donked off just shy of $500 in less than one hour.

He was on the waiting list for the no-limit game (which is why he had so many chips at the 5/10 limit hold'em table). This guy amazed me. L-A-G doesn't even begin to describe him.

On one hand, on a flop of JJx, he re-raised after 2 limpers, a raiser, and a cold-caller. The turn and river were blanks, though he raised the whole way. At showdown, he calls his opponent's bet, and goes, "Do you have the Jack?" The other guy goes, "Yes," and showed Ace Jack.

The muppet goes, "Nice hand, I didn't think you had it," and showed Queen Four Offsuit for no pair, no draw.

WTF?!?!?!

This was not an isolated incident. He literally went to showdown with hands as strong as nine high, bluffing his bets and raises all the way down. Hand after hand after hand.

Unfortunately for me, I started catching big pairs, which don't hold up well against 8 opponents, and are even more costly when a LAG keeps raising to build monster pots.

On one hand, I had JJ under the gun. I raised, and the usual gaggle of monkeys cold-called two bets to see the flop. It came Queen high, and I bet out. I had one caller. The turn put a 2nd club onboard, and the river the third. I checked behind my call-me-down opponent and saved myself ten bucks when he showed 8 3 of clubs for the flush. I marveled at his gutsy chase of the backdoor 8 high flush with no pair, and... well, I did the unthinkable.

I tilted a bit.

A few hands later, in the cutoff, I saw 6 people limp into an unraised pot. With the button and blinds still to act after me, I raised. What did I raise with?

I'm almost embarrassed to say. 10-5 of hearts.

Mind you - I never, never, ever raise with junk. I hardly ever even PLAY junk, let alone raise with it. (The Hammer does NOT count as junk). I don't think I have ever raised a junk hand in a live casino poker room, ever. I play straight up, grind-it-out, profitable-over-time poker.

Anyway, so the flop comes 10-5-x. From late position, I went on a raising frenzy, and got paid off by a poor guy who had AA.

You see, it wasn't so much the 8-high club flush beat that tilted me. I'd been building up some frustration with my game. I was playing weakly preflop and missing bets because of it. I wasn't raising my big cards in position, instead limping with AK and AQ and TT and such. I'll limp with those sometimes from early position, but not from middle or late. I was angry at myself because when I'm playing passively, it's almost always a sign of a losing day for me. It's not like I'm an aggressive maniac to begin with, but when I'm in a pot, I prefer to be betting or raising, because it's not all too often that I'm in a pot. I play good cards and push my slight edges when I can.

So, the 8 high club flush just twisted the knife. After the 10-5 hand, which paid back most of what I lost on my JJ, I vowed to myself, "No more limping with big cards..." You see, if I put in the extra raise up front and get 4 or 5 or 6 or 8 callers, and then manage to hit my flop, that's $20 or $25 or $30 or $40 extra dollars in my pocket. If I miss the flop, I've lost an extra $5. You do the math. It's my new "thing" lately. Sunday, though, it just wasn't in me.

Funny - raising just one of my AK's that hit probably would have turned Sunday from a losing session to at least a break even one.

So then comes this hand:

The guy to my left was a decent player. Semi-loose aggressive. Raised preflop with any two cards 10 or higher, any pocket pair, and almost any ace (8 seemed to be the minimum kicker he'd raise with). Under the gun, I found KQ of clubs and - keeping with my mantra of not limping with big cards - I raised. He re-raised me, and the rest of the table folded. When it got back to me, I capped it, because it's unlucky to play for 3 bets. Honestly, I don't believe that, but if I'm playing a hand preflop for 3 bets, it damn well better be worth 4, and again - if my hand holds up, I make more money than I lose by putting in the extra bet early (assuming I have more than one opponent).

The guy then says to me in surprise, "You're capping it??!" I said, "Yup." He threw in another red chip and we saw a flop of Ace-clubs, rag rag. I led out, because I was the preflop aggressor, and if he was holding anything less than an Ace at that point, I might take the pot right there. He smooth called. Knowing that he doesn't play junk (and that he's also capable of raising preflop and then throwing away a hand on the flop when action stirs up), I'm not a big fan of that call. I figure I'm going to need to slow down.

The turn, however, brought a 2nd club, giving me the nut flush draw. Well, we all know the mantra - bet your draws hard! I find this to be useful especially in limit (particularly in big multiway pots where, again, if you hit, you're making a boatload of extra bets). So, I bet out with my flush draw. Again, he smooth called.

The river brought a 3rd club, and I bet out again. He raised me. I re-raised him. He sighed and said, "You've got the flush?" With some mercy, I shook my head and said "Yes," giving him the chance to save the extra ten bucks. (If I really meant to be merciful, I should have just called his bet on the end - so I guess this whole mercy thing is just a bit of creative storytelling. I really wanted the extra ten bucks). He tossed in one last red chip to see my flush.

The guys at our end of the table gasped, "Oh my gosh! Runner runner flush!" as my opponent turned up his pocket Aces, for the flopped set. Brutal. My opponent, who was getting killed by the fishes as well, said, "Nice hand," in a dejected tone. I looked at him and said, "I'm sorry man... I raised preflop so I had to put in the continuation bet on the flop, and then the second club came on the turn..." He said, "I know, you played it well. It was my fault for slowplaying the set and not raising you."

True enough. A raise on the flop would have likely gotten me to lay down the hand, with no pair and only the backdoor draw. In Tilty McTilt mode, though, who knows.

I felt so dirty after that hand! That and my 10-5 suited. It was as if I was possessed by aliens for the evening.

I probably shouldn't have been playing poker. I was pretty upset Sunday, after hearing news that a friend's husband died suddenly that morning, completely unexpectedly and at way too young an age. I was enjoying the distraction of poker, concentrating better than ever on players and their patterns, but my emotional state wasn't good at all (as was evidenced by my late-evening tendencies toward tilt).

I used to be a member of the frequent tilters club. That's how I got my nickname at the local home games - Shellmuth. After seeing though how much damage tilt can cause to my game and subsequently my bankroll, I've made great efforts to keep the tilt under control and remain emotionless and "in the moment" at the poker table. Sitting down to the poker table in an already emotionally unstable state, though, is a recipe for tilt disaster. I'm probably lucky that I escaped with only 4BB damage over the 7 hours I played.

I toyed with the idea of heading to the boats again tonight, but opted instead to watch the Flyers game on TV. (Each playoff hockey game I watch likely shaves a year off of my life due to the added stress and rapid heartbeat that ensues). That ended up being a total waste of time, as Esche got shelled and the Flyers ran around the ice like Mites on Ice, making dumb plays and taking stupid penalties. All that, and they didn't even have their Enforcer (Donald Brashear) on the bench to crack some skulls. If the Flyers are going to suck ass in-game, the least they can do is beat the hell out of some people for me. Come on, now, boys! Revenge will be ours in Philadelphia (particularly against Wuss Man Connelly for the hit on Umberger which, despite being a technically "clean" hit, still deserves some retribution). I still can't believe Hitchcock sat Brashear tonight. He had to at least suspect the possibility of requiring some fisted assistance.

Anyhoooo, I think I might head to Empress on Wednesday night. We'll see. I've got to make right those errors of Sundays past...

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5 Comments:

  1. whirlingvortex said...
    Long time reader, first time commenter. I really enjoy your blog, especially hand history/discussion, etc. Just wanted you to know. Keep up the good writing.
    Donkeypuncher said...
    5-T suited is a monster! Flush + potential for straights around each card!
    CarmenSinCity said...
    WOW! I could feel that guy's pain when he turned over the set and you had the flush. BUT - it's just like you said - he should have went over the top on the flop or at least on the turn to get you off that draw. Nice job on your part! Good hand.
    cc said...
    The T5 hand seems to show how, in these everyone's playing games, hand valuation gets totally screwy when you figure the implied pot odds. I can raise for $10 to build a pot of $60 which could become $170? OK, I raise (I'll look at my cards later). The KQ hand, I think, was just a bit of misfortune for the guy. I like your capping, let him figure out what you have (especially if he has KK or QQ). He flops a set and you're betting? He sees visions of turn raising, so from there out it's probably the right decision with a non-scary board to call the flop. From there, well, there was nothing else that he could do.
    Shelly said...
    Thanks, all! Yes, it's almost impossible to put a value on hands preflop in these family-pot games. Small Stakes Holdem comes in VERY handy.

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