Thursday, February 02, 2006

Pomp and Circumstance

Following up on a weekend that saw me make two final tables in sizeable multi-table tournaments and win nearly $1000 in cash and tournament tokens, Lady Poker has not been good to me these last couple of days. Regular readers of this blog will be accustomed to me listing bad beats or occasional bad luck for my poor performances, but this time something more personal to me (Pomp) is combining with some awful luck (Circumstance) to leave me in not much of a constructive poker mindset.

Beginning with the Circumstance, I have in fact been a victim of two or three *vicious* bad beats in the last couple of nights. As I've discussed before, this tends to happen to me more than your average bear, because I am so often in with the best hand, leaving myself open to get sucked on more often than most others I play with regularly. Last night, for example, I played in the party $40k guaranteed tournament in the evening, buying in for $20 and expecting to at least cash (top 220 players) if not continue my streak of at least one final table a week for the last couple of weeks. I made it all the way to the first break, when about half of the 2300 entrants in the tourney had been eliminated, and I was in the top half of the remaining players, when on the very last hand of the round (they already had the message up that the break would begin after this hand), I was dealt KK in late position. There were two callers when it got to me, and I was around the middle of the leaderboard, so I moved in, hoping someone would read me as somewhat weak and just trying to make a move heading into the break. The first caller folded to my push, but the second guy quick-called, flipping over 44. As he is typing some swear words into the chat, leaving spaces as appropriate to "trick" the oh-so-clever anti-swearing feature of the application, the flop comes with 3 rags, but then the turn brings a third 4, and before I know it, instead of vaulting into the top 100 remaining in the tournament, I am out. Those 2-outers will get you every time.

But the even more frustrating beat occurred on Tuesday evening, in the pokerstars $5 turbo tournament with 1300 players. There I was doing quite well, through round 2 and down to just 195 players remaining, still some 60 spots out of the money, with me in 84th place out of the 195 remaining entrants. At that point, I was dealt A4o suited, and was able to limp in in late position with 3 other callers. The flop came 4h4c2c. After one check, I bet out about the size of the pot, and got just one caller from the SB. The river was the 2h, giving me the nut boat and making me a hearty implied-odds favorite over anyone holding a flush draw or even a 2, who would be unlikely to put me on a 4 and could therefore easily hand over the rest of their chips to me. So, to really fuck this guy up, I checked to him as if the 2 scared me. He bet about twice the size of the pot, which by that time was getting rather large. I smooth called after thinking for some time, trying to maybe make the guy think I had a draw of some kind (straight or either of two flushes, given the board). Well, the river brings a THIRD 2, which is a great card for me because if the guy had ANYTHING to be betting before, that card has to make my opponent feel even better about whatever he's been holding and betting up to this point. I move in. He quick-calls, and flips....

The fourth 2. My nut boat busted by quads that came flop-runner-runner. That kind of thing should not happen. This guy almost had me covered, so on the next hand I didn't even care when my K-10s got busted by the big stack's J7s. That kind of thing has been a real bummer this week for me so far.

There has been another problem plaguing me at the virtual tables lately, and it has nothing to do with my cards. Essentially, I have definitely just more or less given up early in a couple of $20 sng's this week. By "given up", I mean I have moved in in the early rounds with a hand that I KNOW I am behind with by the betting up to that point, just to see if I could push the other guy off his clearly better hand.
In both of those situations, I have not been successful, and that was $40 down the drain. It is stoopid and indefensible, but I think I know what's going on. After my big wins this past weekend, and my generally good streak of cashing in these large online tournaments, I have been acting smug these past couple of days. It's like I expect people to sit down at a table with me, and immediately recognize me and starting whispering amongst themselves "There's that guy I was telling you about who made the two final tables last weekend! He's great! Better stay away from that guy whenever he's in a pot." Of course, no one who sees me on line knows that I've been on a hot streak recently, any more than they knew I was on a cold streak before that, or that I'll be on another one starting tonight for the next month or whatever. Even if they DID know it obviously still wouldn't have the kind of impact on their game that I seem to be pretending it would. Yet, I have been showing up at the table lately, acting like I don't really care about a "measily $20 buyin", even though in reality losing $20 like that, playing to just give it away as I have a couple of times already this week, is disGUSTing to me and is money that I would VERY much like to have back. All this just goes to show you -- just like the Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa, you have to keep that "eye of the tiger" at all times in order for your tournament poker game to remain sharp. From now on, I need to make a real effort to only play in tournaments that I am actually interested in finshing, and willing to play like you have to play in order to win.

Wish me luck tonight not being a pompous ass at the tables. Or, come look me up on pokerstars or party and take some of the money I've been just throwing away lately. At least someone should get to benefit from my stoopidity.


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