Monday, April 29, 2013

The Poker Diaries: The Joy When They Don't Believe You

Happy Happy Joy Joy
Let's not talk about the tourna- ment, since I'm still kind of peeved about it, and it cost me some significant cheddar. Instead, let's discuss the cash game moment that will stay with me for some time, really.

Our cash game is dealer's choice and attracts a fair amount of aggression, which means that Omaha gets called fairly often. Under the gun in a game of Omaha high low, I get Ace-3-4-4, with the Ace-3 being diamonds; a pretty sweet starting hand. I raise it up to 5X the big blind, which is pretty standard for this game -- it's $0.25 / $0.50 in name only -- and get a big mess of callers to juice the pot nicely. The flop gives me trips, a near nut low draw, and two diamonds to the nut flush draw; about everything that I could have asked for, really. I check it, and then see exactly what I want to see -- a raise and then another one, which I then snap it up to $20 to make it look like I don't want to see any more cards. (Like that ever works in Omaha high-low?) Neither man believes or wants to get away from the hand, and I get two men shoving in front of my raise after some thought. I snap call, and the flush and low hits on the turn to make the river a non-sweat card to scoop the whole damned thing. Yahtzee.

There are, of course, fewer better moments when playing poker than getting called with the nuts, and it is in those moments that you make what I think is one of life's bigger mistakes... thinking that there's more skill to the game than luck, and that you just might have that level of skill. In that moment, you step away from the years of up and down, the knowledge that you have about where your wins and losses come from, and the more or less equal with a little gain trackline that is your earn level... and think that, no, now is My Time, the deck and my game and my skills have somehow changed for the better and forever.

The bad beats and worse play will come later, as they always do, but for one hand and one moment, I broke the game and made my nut in the final hand. There's only a few times in life that you get to do that, really, so I get to note it here... and try to figure out if it helps my game to remember it, or to forget.

You can't win without confidence, but overconfidence costs more.

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