Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

I might not suck as much as I think

So, an interesting development has appeared on my poker horizon. No, it’s not some super-cool announcement about check-raising bunnies, or some concerning tale of decking another blogger. It’s not even anything as purely poetical as offering up a big blue vein to anyone.

I’ve been making a little money playing tournaments.

See, nothing earth-shattering. Just a slight shift in the axis of the earth, and a few decent nights playing multi-table tourneys and sit n go’s, and I’m slowly grinding away at some of my month’s losses. Now these aren’t big wins, mind you. I haven’t even final tabled any of the multis. I’m no CJ, or Alan, or Facty or Speaker. I haven’t brought the house down with any crushing wins. I’ve just cashed, very quietly, in 4 out of the last 5 multi-table tourneys I’ve entered. The exception being the blogger tourney, of course.

So what’s the cause? Is there a great strategy shift that I’ve been empoloying? Nope. Just playing my A-game for a change. Just because it’s only a $10 mtt, that doesn’t mean I am required to donk around like I don’t care about the money. Because let’s face it, I do. I may not miss the $11, but I would certainly welcome the $700 first place. So let’s take a look at what I’m doing, and what I’m NOT doing.

I am – choosing to play in smaller fields. The payouts are obviously smaller, but that’s okay. I’m dodging fewer bullets playing against 400 people than against 1400, so my path to profitability is clearer.

I am – paying attention. It’s pretty easy to get distracted and open up a couple more tables while I auto-fold for the first hour, but that results in me not picking up information on my opponents. And since I’m picking tourneys with smaller fields, I have more time to study these opponents.

I am – limping into uncontested pots with good position and middling hands. J9 sooted is crap UTG, but with 5 limpers it can turn into gold in the cutoff. This is something I picked up from April’s SXSW tourney report that Ryan picked up from his LAPC time, and it makes sense, yet also flies in the face of conventional wisdom. It also has been paying off decent dividends.

I am – shifting gears. Consciously making an effort to tighten up after 2-3 aggressive hands in a row, or making a decision to bet out on any non-scare turn if I’ve got position on a checked flop. I’m paying attention to what I think people think I’m playing like, and how I would respond in their shoes.

I am NOT – playing 3 tables at once AND downloading from iTunes AND talking on the girly chat thing.

I am NOT – starting a tourney past 9PM that isn’t a SNG.

I am NOT – forgetting the great posts I’ve read by CJ and Speaker on how they play multi-table tourneys.

I am – showing positive results. Like I said, these aren’t earth-shattering results. I’m talking about maybe $75 in 4 days. But that also isn’t bad for the limits I’m usually dredging around at, and is showing me a slight profit, which is a lovely change from the rest of my month. So I’m having fun playing poker again, I’m winning a little playing poker again, and I actually feel like I’m making progress on a part of my game again. It’s been a good week in that regard.

On a totally unrelated note, don’t you love telemarketers that call you at your office and pretend to know you? I just had a great conversation with a guy who wanted me to buy 1,000 shares of Starbucks because they’re expanding into Asia. Aside from the twitchy feeling I get from the concept of a billion chainsmoking, latte-swilling Chinamen all jacked up on caffeine and belting out disco karaoke at the top of their lungs, if I’m going to start out buying individual stocks for the first time ever, I think 1,000 shares at $30 a clip is a little more than I’m going to lay out there. And when I suggested that to Mr. Dipshizzle, he said “I’ve been doing this a long time, blah, blah, blah.” To which I responded with “And if in fact you did call me a couple months ago, I probably hung up on you then, too.” Click.

I loved that moment.


Shelly said...

Nice :)

C.L. Russo said...

I worry when I start thinking I'm any good. That's the time when I'm most liable to do something stupid.

I agree about the concentration thing. Sitting at one limit table is boring, but I do noticeably better when I do that, as opposed to playing two tables. At the ultra-low limits I play, it doesn't seem like paying too close attention is necessary. Also, there are people coming and going so fast, it's hard to get a read on anyone.

But, it's a habit I'm going to need as I move up levels and it's a lot cheaper learning it now than at the 2/4 table!