Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I guess it's not just me.

There's a player who frequents the Depot, and while I can't quite remember his name, I won't forget certain aspects of his play that remind me a little bit of myself. Certainly players with opposing styles can teach you about your own game and what it lacks. But studying players with very similar styles can also yield valuable insights as well.

He's a solid player, and without meaning to be to critical of his play, I'd assess his style as nearly identical to mine prior to me paying closer attention to the unorthodox play of G-Rob and TheMark. It would be unfair to say he's predictable, but certainly tight and aggressive would be appropriate.

Regardless, last night at The Depot the aforementioned player managed to get all his money in against two other players holding top and bottom pair on a 2-spade board. The turn paired his lower card giving him 5's full of King's. Unfortunately, the other card on the board, a seven, paired on the river giving someone else 7's full of 5's. It turned out to be a one-outer. I felt his pain from across the table. But not right then.

The pain I felt happened perhaps only 15 minutes later when he flopped top set against pocket Queens. Again, the money went in on the flop and the player with Queens was pleading for the dealer to run out diamonds or just give him the 2-outer to end it then. The Queen hit the river and when it did, I read the player for being somewhat devastated.

Meanwhile, I'd managed to build my stack up by avoiding such beats and was riding high on a surge of confidence.

So what did I do? Here's where the sadist in me comes to life.

I tried to put my frame of mind in his. I tried to make me think that the beats had just happened to me. Why? Because I find it so hard to do the exact opposite. I still find it extremely difficult to force my mindset to the confidence that a big winning stack affords me after I take some improbable beats.

Perhaps the path towards that mindset lay in traversing it in reverse.

And you know what? I couldn't do it. Just as I can't seem to find that confidence after taking a string of bad beats, neither can I find that desolation with a pile of profit in front of me. It's odd. I just can't trick myself. And maybe that's what is holding me back a bit in this poker game I keep playing.

More than likely, the path exists, but it takes me longer than most to find it. I found myself muttering to the wife on the ride home from the vacation poker debacle and it wasn't until we arrived back at the hotel that I was over it. It took me about twenty minutes. Not five, not ten, but a full twenty.

Luckily The Depot has other things to do, because generally I just rebuy instantly to get back into the game after I go broke on a beat. Perhaps now, I'll make a martini (that takes easily 5 minutes to do correctly) and have a seat on the sidelines until I clear that path I can't normally find right away.

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