Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Are Those The Nuts In Your Pocket...

Mama Ragetti: I find you disgusting.
Grandpa Gustafson: Well, just as long as you find me.
”Grumpier Old Mean”

One of my favourite movie quotes of all time.

I have been happy with my poker play of late. I dropped about $100 last week, and have now got a little over half of it back. I stopped making donkey calls and started putting people on hands. I have noticed the last few days that I am learning more about betting patterns and seeing when a bluff is just that – although I still find it very hard to put 50% of my stack in the middle with nothing but bottom pair.

I guess I am of a slightly different mould to most. What attracts most people to poker is the notion that the cards don’t matter. The ever magical “Bluff” that exists in the dreams of every Rounders-wannabe. I differ slightly, in that I am not a risk taker. Most poker players I believe would prefer to pull off a big bluff than to win with the nuts, and I can understand that. To win with the nuts, all it takes is cards. To win with nothing, that takes skill in reading your opponents, knowing your own table image, controlling your emotions and signals and so on and so forth. There is a lot of method to the madness of bluffing – and everybody has to admit that they feel a sense of pride and strength when flipping over 72o on a board full of paint.

I do too, I love it when a bluff comes off. It is taking a pot that doesn’t belong to me. But I love nothing more than someone else betting into me when I have the nuts. It is those moments that I play for. Sure, this is probably why I play too tight and can be accused as being a Squirrel (just gathering nuts). But when you check your quads on the river, and two people try to bluff you out of the pot, that’s when the fun starts for me. Sure, it’s a safe bet really. It isn’t if I’m going to win, it is only how much.

I think this is a weakness in my game, not a strength though. If I only ever win when I have the best cards, I am giving up a huge advantage. It’s hard to rely on winning the hand at showdown every time. Perhaps this is a by-product of playing at the low limits for so long. Why is it that I am still at the low limits after nearly a year? I think I make more frequent withdrawals than most part time poker players. Again, this is to reduce risk. And to pay for a bloody wedding.

Is it all a confidence game? Of course that plays a part in it. I now don’t flinch when I shove $50 into a pot. I don’t do it more than once a night either though. I’m happy grinding out the penny tables and the small SNG’s for now.

Made the final table of a MTT last night, and it has been a while since I have done that. Unfortunately it was only 67 players at a $2 entry fee. I walked out in 7th pocketing a few dollars for my troubles. I spent a little time at the top spot when we were down to 8 but made a bad call when I had a bet in front of me heads up on the river. I thought my TPTK may be good and perhaps this was just a steal attempt, but it turned out to be the nuts trying to squeeze some more juice from me. I was overall happy with my game though.

Time for some linkage, and for a MTT final table finish last night, it would be grand to include
Part Time Poker in my blogroll. I always love reading about different tournaments and results, and this blog is worth a read.

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