Saturday, September 27, 2008

Learning Curve

Ronald: Did it look at you? Did the fire look at you? It did. Whoa. Wow. Our worlds aren't that far apart after all, are they? So, whoever is doing this knows the animal well, doesn't he? He knows him real well, but he won't let him loose. He won't let him have any fun, so he does not love him. Now who doesn't love fire? And is around trychtichlorate all day long?
Brian: Oh my God!
Ronald: See... that wasn't such a long trip after all.
"Backdraft"

I am no stranger to loosing streaks. They come and visit from time to time, and even though I'v been playing poker and cards for some time, I still get a little bit affected by them. They can drain confidence as well as the bank roll, and both took a beating recently.

But then I had a little ray of hope, thanks to a donkey fest $1 tournament on Stars - and I wasn't even playing. We managed to hook up the laptop to the big plasma screen, because online poker is that exciting that you should share it with the whole family. Actually, though that last sentence was sarcastic, it isn't that bad playing tournament poker with the family that way, few drinks in tow.

We were doing ok in this tournament, and I often get referred to for perceived difficult decisions because my sickness to the poker beast is well known. The rest of the family are fairly new to the game and their understanding of what to do when - and most importantly why - is limited somewhat (though I must say my younger brother is really getting good, thanks to working in a casino and reading SuperSystem).

What helped me was when the referred decisions to me, I knew what to do and could explain why you do it without thinking. These were not earth shattering ideas or moves, but they were automatic almost for me. They could be explained quickly and succinctly, and made sense to everyone. It felt good that they worked too, most of the time.

First one, pocket jacks on the button - I say you should raise the 3 limpers in front of you with position, make it 4BB. The Distraction (who was actually the one playing) did so, and two called. The flop was low rags, and the pot was T950, with us having T1100 left. Check - check - what would you do? I say push, there is nearly a thousand chips out there and we want them, we have every right to believe we're ahead, and an over card on the turn will make us doubt that. She shoved all-in, they both folded, we get in a good position.

Unfortunately, it was about this time that the Little Distraction got a bit upset, and we had to tend to her needs. My mum took over, and made a crucial error. With blinds getting higher, she made a good pre-flop raise to T500 with big slick. Another player went all-in after her for an extra T900, and she thought she should fold it. I reckon throw it in there, if you are dominated then so be it, this is a tournament after all. But that and some cold cards made us into short stack territory - all in or fold time.

With AsTs, I said it was time to shove it all in, despite a small raise from a player in front. With only 9BB, it made sense. The original raiser was the only caller, and they had two red sevens. That is about the best we could have hoped for - apart from the Ace that landed on the flop. Turn was a blank, but the river brought the seven of clubs and we're going home. Damn, lost to yet another set. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So we didn't even win any money, finished 100 or so places off the pace, but I felt a little confidence rise none the less.

Mind you, if a certain Brownlow medal bet got up on Monday night, I'd be on cloud nine. Instead, I lost my biggest sports bet ever, eclipsing the previous biggest sports bet loss which was also on the Brownlow medal a few years ago. I think I should have learnt something from this...

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