Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Poker Diaries: Draw, Die, And Be Strangely OK With It

Last night in the Sit and Go game (6-person tables, no rebuys, designed to close in 2 hours or less), I had one of those nights... and it says something about the way that people process loss that I was more OK with it than winning. Here's the grisly details.

Table 1: Down to a half stack, I flop two pair with the board showing a straight draw. Hoping to either end the hand or get paid against a draw, I shove... and get called by a guy with a straight draw. It hits on the turn, and oh well. Being ahead 70-30 or so isn't exactly a lock, is it?

Table 2: After an unraised pre-flop, I hit the straight nuts with a player leading the betting. The turn is a brick, raise and re-raised called, which leaves me not much left on the river... which of course pairs the board, and completes the boat for my opponent.

Table 3: In an Omaha game, I flop a Q-3 boat, with trip threes leading it. I put my opponent on a flush draw with two cards on the flop. My opponent has a history of betting me off hands, so I shove after some minimal raises... and get called by a  pair of jacks and flush draw, which mean he's got two outs. He hits the jack on the river.

Table 3: In heads up for a win in pineapple (hold'em with three cards, one of which you discard after the flop), I've got about $25K of the total $60K in chips. Looking down at three kings, I raise big pre-flop and get called. The flop is rainbow hole cards, and I put my opponent on a lower pair than me... and my opponent puts me on A-K and raises. I shove, he calls, has jacks, and the jack hits him on the turn.

Now, there were of course some draw from behind moments in the mix as well, and poker players crying about poor luck is right up there with the presence of oxygen in the air as Not News Events. But while I was frustrated and annoyed with my losses, they didn't stay with me, say, the way that losing while making mistakes does.

Which is, of course, kind of dumb, since being happy about not winning is bullsquat, and so is telling yourself the story that your game and reads were so airtight as to be only beatable by luck.

But I will say this: there's no such thing as a poker player that can win without it...

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