Old rules to live by...

I've gone back to some rules of my cash game that I used to have. I used to have a far better ROI then I have recently live. I need more discipline, plain and simple...

Rules I used to live by and will do so again:

1. Limit my buy-ins per sitting. Instead of being prepared to go deeper and deeper into the pocket (UNLESS the table is especially JUICY), I'm back to my limits. Just about everything I've read or heard on the subject says that if you feel you have an opportunity to make money or an edge on the table you should play. It's one long poker game and you want your next hand to be played on a table with an edge. Doesn't matter if the next hand is tomorrow or today. However, I've definitely had bigger losses chasing lost money. Probably I go on a slight tilt at some point after digging in my wallet. Don't know why, but I don't play as well. Bad beats seem to come in batches too.

2. Be prepared to table jump more frequently. If I'm at a table with 6 rocks, get the f up after 1 rotation. Doesn't matter if I've just won a big pot or not. Leave to where the going is good.

3. Going back to my minimum profit. If I cross a certain line, I'm leaving for home with that amount of money. I used to be a stickler about this. Sure I'll continue to play, but I have a stop-loss point. Won't make it obvious by the way I'm stacking me chips but let's say I'm up 4 buy-ins. Maybe I'll make myself depart if I dip below 3.5 or 3. Usually I use a sliding scale which as I'm winning gets higher and higher. I find it helps me when consider big calls with borderline hands. Getting away from that, sometimes I've recently made marginal calls because my I got the stack to spare.

4. On my last buy-in, there is another stop loss point. On a 1-2 table it's $30. If I get below $30 I pick up and take my chips with me. I put them in a jar (like the tilt jar I recommended) and wait until they build up a buy-in. Then use that as a freeroll of sorts one night.

5. Not adopting a hit and run philosophy, but if the table is tight, or competent and money is hard to be had, not being afraid to get up and leave after a double up. Sure, survey the tables for looser money but if I don't see it, don't be afraid to head home.

The last few months, I've been willing to put too much money into the games and not just wait until the next time. Probably been playing tired, a little frustrated, and not at the level I'd be with a night of rest and a return the next day. Point is the game is always there. You can wait until the next day or night.

This past weekend I played and lost a buy-in, an under 30 chip freeroll (see rule 4), so it wasn't that bad, but doubling up+ early, I flopped top set of Queens, there was a bet, I called, and some kid came over the top all in. First bettor stewed forever and folded. I called and the kid turned over KQ 0/s. Nice.

I was sitting next to the super nice Summerall from Houma. We were chatting and he got a little short-stacked and said he was having one of those nights. We get involved in a five-handed hand where I flop a pair of aces (suited weak ace on the button). Checked around after the board brought two diamonds. I didn't think I was in first. Turn brought another diamond and Summerall bet it (but small). I call. Everybody folds.

River is a 4th diamond. And Summerall checks, scared. I know if I bet it he'd fold. So, why didn't I bet it, (you can't play poker if you are compassionate), and I was compassionate, since it was a smallish pot, I decided we'd see which of our weak aces was better. I also thought he might have a weak two pair as the turn was successive to a card on the flop if he was playing suited connectors. He flopped two pair with the Ace (!) and confessed that fourth diamond had him in foldo state of mind had I bet. Odd, can't believe he didn't protect it a little bit after the flop. So, compassion costs me chips.

Later I get KK in MP. I fire out a bet, guy in the SB min-raises me. Shit! He's got aces. Feel it in the cockles. Just read an article waiting for a table there is only a 3.8% chance somebody holds aces when you hold kings. Hello 3.8%. Action returns to me and I consider a reraise. I'm watching him watch me fondle the chips. I'm getting a read of strength. Big strength. Wow. I'm right he does have f'ing aces.

Okay, let's flat call and hope to hit a king. Flop comes Ace high. This is the part in the narrative where I'm supposed to say, I saved all this money by not pushing on him preflop. Where I pulled the ripcord and get out. He checks. I check (can't fold to no bet). Turn is a brick. He fires out a tiny bet. Argh! I look at his stack and it's not going to cost me too much if we end up getting it in. As Reid says it's F8CK or WALK time, but I don't.

Caution wins the day. He's either got me or he doesn't. I'll hope to call another small bet on the river.

All the while, I got a voice going on inside my head. It's saying, you got a huge read of strength on him preflop. You feel he's sitting on a high pocket pair. Feels like he's got way more than AK. Then an Ace hits. Which makes it less likely he's got pocket rockets. Now, could he have AK and you misread it? People here overplay queens, jacks, and 10s. (We also overplay Kings--note to self). Does he think his second pair is good?

River, predictably, the rest of his chips go in, which is only 1/3rd of the pot. I stew for a long time. Funny thing about this hand is typically, if an Ace hits I'm ready to discard fairly quickly my Kings or Queens. It's like a ripcord or get out of jail card. But in this instance, I felt so strongly that he had a high pocket pair the Ace was actually a bad card for me. He'd have to have a set or he's got queens (as kings is equally unlikely). His stacks and the sizes of his bets were also trappy. I review the hands in my head. I have to be right just slightly more than 1 times out of 4. The hands I have to consider is a suited AK (which some players think is the nuts), AA or QQ. Ultimately, I call because AA is less likely than QQ. Course, him betting twice into an Ace high flop says quite a bit about the strength of his hand. Especially after he saw I was considering repopping him preflop.

Classic case of overanalyzing a hand. I went from hoping to hit me set preflop and sniffing out his aces to doubling up the guy. I even got a reprieve from the governor with an Ace on the flop and still, let him nickel and dime me to the end. Yes, he had AA.

Ultimately, the right answer to that hand is to bet the flop. Probe and see where I'm at. If he really has queens, and my secondary conclusion is right, I take it down there. If he has something else, like the Aces, I proceed to cf. He might get overexcited and push with top set. He probably also checks the turn to me. Thanks to Durbin who helped me come to this conclusion which seems fairly obvious all along. Reid's F8CK or Walk moment was on the flop.

So, I'm tilting. Not because kings ran into aces but because I put him on that and could have saved myself (I think) an additonal $60. Summerall, sums up exactly what I was thinking as I was punishing myself inside for, "I fold kings any time I see an Ace hit the flop." Thanks.

Alright, more bad play from me later.


Reid said…
Nice post. I desperately need to integrate #4 into my life. I don't even want to contemplate the amount of $$$ I've tilted off when I get short, especially considering I am a tilt machine.

And Bill....just keep trusting your gut! That's why you put in so many hours - to hone your instincts. Forget about "seeing where I'm at." Betting/raising for information is exploitable (and spewy) against good players.
Anonymous said…
bill...don't take this personal, but please don't ever agree with anything summeral ever says...althought he is a nice guy he is one of the most unoriginal players i've ever seen...
C.S. said…
I have a story about a beat he laid on me which I thought was a really bad call at the time to post about this week. I did the math after the fact and he had the right odds, to my surprise, to call. Of course that was only half the story because he thought he had draws he didn't--even though he put me on a hand, and of the outs he did have he didn't know if they were boss draws or not.

Reid, good point. I do think an occasional probe bet isn't bad depending on your playing style and situation. If you rarely do it, it has value. In this hand, I questioned my read that he had aces just because an Ace hit the flop. One bet would have told me all I needed and I wouldn't have had to play for his stack later because I wasn't sure where I was at. Let's say he's a good player that has Queens or Jacks, it's an odd place for him to float against a tight player betting the Ace. Possible, yes (I guess I have to question if I'm a good player, lol, and he took me to the river with an Ace high flop and I had kings--so maybe not). Also, the bet was important because had I judged his stack I could have anticipated a smallish turn bet and a priced in river bet. I lead out, he probably check-raises and I fold. Even if he flat calls I'm folding to his next bet.

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