Friday, February 19, 2010

Playin' High

Although that could also apply to some portion of the poker I've played in my day, the title of this post actually does not refer to my mental state when I'm playing this game lately. No, instead, it refers to something I think I figured out about myself and my poker play at some point on Thursday evening.

I've been playing too high lately.

It's not a financial wherewithal thing. What I mean is, I've never even considered playing poker at levels that would actually have a demonstrable effect on my financial condition. I know some people do that, in fact I know plenty of people who kind of rely on doing that just to get that "rush" to satisfy their gamblor urge, but personally that could never be me. Gambling of any kind would immediately cease to be enjoyable for me whatsoever if I knew that losing in a particular game would mean actual financial pain to me. I don't mind pushing the limit and moving up or even taking a stab a little higher than I might otherwise have been playing of late, getting out of my comfort zone, yaddayaddayadda, but never ever close to the point where I would have any semblance of a financial issue if I lost. You'll never find me playing at that level, it would not fill any kind of a need in me, and in fact I would seriously hate it. I'm shuddering here just thinking about playing that way. So it's not like I've been risking my family's financial situation or anything resembling that of late with my poker play.

That said, I'm not totally blind to the amounts I'm playing for either. And lately, I think I've been playing a bit too high.

As I mentioned yesterday, recently I've been going through another one of those rippingly horrible streaks of luck. I could not begin to count the number of suckouts I have taken lately at the tables. Probably more than 100,000 per week if I had to count them all up. It's been disgusting, it's happened before, and it'll happen again. And again. And again. It's just something I've always had to deal with. I get in ahead when the money goes in a lot, and the inevitable result is that, while I win a lot as well, I lose in that situation more than you could probably imagine, and more than many people could handle. Even me it seems, as the past couple of weeks have seen me flipping out in the chatbox at random dickheads at an alarming rate. I mean, I just haven't been able to keep my mouth shut after taking my fifth or sixth 80% hand for a suckout-elimination midway through an mtt in the span of an hour after some nutmonkey just had to call my allin reraise for 10 times his preflop raise with his 22 and then runner-runners the wheel to beat my pocket Kings. I've called people all kinds of names, I've wished ill on them, I've invented hundreds of new and often highlarious ways of insulting their play. I mean, I haven't just tapped on the glass, guys. I've taken a sledgehammer to it, shattered it into a million pieces and let the fish pour out all over the floor to flop breathlessly and die like we're watching a "Faith No More" video or something. I'm totally embarrassed about my behavior, and yet at the same time I can totally understand it as well. No matter who you are or how calm or unaffected you think you are, you would have to withstand the string of beats that I have in order to know how you would really react in my situation, and while I am quite sure many of you would not lose your cool as much as I have, I'm equally sure that most of you would lose your cool a heck of a lot more than you think.

Anyways, I've spent more and more time trying to figure out why I keep doing this lately even though I know the suckouts are inevitable and nobody is making me play the game at all let alone play it as much as I do. And the answer, it finally occurred to me yesterday, is the level at which I'm playing. I was thinking it over, and while I haven't exactly been pleased with my nightly donkeyfucking in the $26 buyin 35k guaranteed mtt on full tilt or the $27 25k guaranteed mtt on stars, the bottom line is that those beats simply don't set me off nearly as much as when I get 1-outted in the $100 buyin 1-rebuy 1-addon tournament, and certainly not like when some masturbator monkeypusher button-mashing window-licking assclown dicksniffer sucks out like a little bitch in a $220 heads-up sng as I enjoy playing from time to time. And it occurs to me that it's the money involved that's the difference.

Like I said, none of the amounts I'm playing for are going to bankrupt me or my family, or ultimately have any real financial significance to me at all, and I wouldn't play anywhere near that level under any circumstances. Shit, I go out yearly to the WSOP and drop a couple large on just one poker tournament, and I don't care financially if I lose that one either, so a hundy here and two hundy there really isn't a drop in the bucket in the overall scheme of things, especially after the hugely profitable last several months I've had playing this game. But it has dawned on me this week that losing my buyins at a $200 and $300 per game clip, and getting monkeysucked out on to do it, definitely pisses me the hell off. A whole heck of a lot more than those $26 and $28 suckouts. And I have finally decided to do something about it.

So on Thursday night, I didn't play that 33k guaranteed tournament at 7:30pm ET nightly on full tilt -- the $100 1 rebuy 1 addon event I've been killing lately until the inevitable suckmonkey 20-80's me and then finishes me off by calling my preflop allin with his 76o and 40-60'ing me to send me home. And I didn't play either of the $200 nightly satellites into the $2500 FTOPS tournament coming up on Saturday, a satellite I have had significant success winning in the recent past. I also didn't let myself get talked into playing the $216 stud FTOPS tournament at 9pm ET, even though I am highly confident that I play stud better than pretty much everyone in that tournament given the action I watched go down over and over and over again last night in that event. And I stayed away from the higher-buyin sng's as well, which have probably been the source of my best ability lately to get in hopelessly ahead and yet end up unbelievably behind. Instead I stuck to the $26 and $27.50 buyin mtt's at 8pm ET on full tilt and pokerstars, and the highest I played on the night was the $30 rebuy that I've played so profitably over the past few months on full tilt.

The result? I still got monkeyfucked, so gheyley it's hard to even describe. In the 25k on stars, I busted about two-thirds of the way through the field when I raised preflop with 87s, flopped two pairs, bet and got called, and proceeded to turn a boat which also completed the flush draw that was present on the flop. I strung my intelligent, kind opponent along like the nice little man that he was, got him all in, only to find he held overpair Kings, which was great until a third King hit the river to give this nice, nice man a higher boat courtesy of that 5% shot that I have come to know all too well. I busted early from the 35k on full tilt after chasing two unfoldable straight-flush draws early at good odds and missing them both. And in the $30 rebuy I destroyed the field redonkulously to the point that I was in 3rd place out of 200 some runners at the end of rebuy hour, only to see half of my stack disappear halfway through the starting field when my pocket Queens got called allin preflop by pocket 7s and the cute little guy across the table flopped a set of 7s, a blow I could never recover from as I busted about 50 players from the money. It was a brutal night of poker to say the least, and in reality no different from what's been happening to me almost nightly lately, other than again the level of buyin I was playing at.

But you know what? I didn't wish brutal, painful death on any of my opponents -- in front of other family members or otherwise -- and I'm pretty sure I didn't even swear at anybody in the chatbox at all as I recall. No doubt I couldn't resist commenting on a couple of these people's play in the chatbox -- you gotta give me some time to come back down off the ledge, especially given some of the stuff I saw on the night -- but it wasn't the same that it has been lately for me, and for the most part I didn't do or say anything that most of you out there would not have done either. So I think I learned a good lesson about myself after a couple of weeks of playing higher than my true comfort zone. Just because I know I'm better than the regular caliber of players at a certain level doesn't mean I should automatically play regularly at that level. If my psyche -- for whatever reason -- can't handle the regular swings and in particular the inevitable downswings, suckouts and just general horrifyingly poor play, then my job needs to be to move down to the point where I can.

Guess I'll see you in the $1 mtts on stars tonight!

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Blogger Hellblood said...

Respect, that was a damn long post! :)

Playing too high is a common problem for sure. Everyone is just looking for the big money but when taking it as a serious investment .. so called small money games are often way better I think.
Feeling comfortable makes you play better poker. You also take losses way easier. I prefer non live affecting sessions way more than one monster win and one depressive super loss (hello Isildur1, read this! :) ).

9:24 PM  
Blogger Gregory Bogopolski said...

If you have these confident to win then bet high but if you're not experienced enough on playing such poker game then you must start slow. Loosing is a hard thing to take. So before you go for a play, make sure to have with you this confident of winning.

6:55 PM  

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