Friday, August 31, 2007

The Nit I've Become

I'll be honest. I think that I've fallen into the trap of playing too cautiously. I'm trying to avoid losses rather than maximizing wins and in doing so, I'm leaving money on the table.

I confess, I've become a bit gun shy. Of the pots I've been all-in on where I'm greater than a 90% favorite to win, I've won only 1 out of my last 5. And that gets to me. Still. And that's bad.

Because when the odds shift back into my favor, I'll not have as much money in the pot as I should.

Case in point: Wednesday night, impromptu rake-free game at the Depot. Player Appreciation Night, if you will.

I'm in the big blind with a monster, 83o. Funny how these no-name hands tend to win you the most. Funny how? Like a clown?

Anyway, I see a free flop and it's the classic flop bottom two-pair on a flush draw board - T83 with two hearts. With about six players in the pot, I lead out for $10 and get called in 3 spots. OK, should be easy to put people on hands here. There's at least one flush draw and some guy has a ten, more than likely.

Turn is another 8, giving me 8's over 3's. Again, I lead out, this time for $30. I get one caller to my immediate left and then get raised to $80. As it's folded around to me, I take a peak at the raiser's stack. We're playing similar sized stacks of about $400. The player to my direct left who simply called would be all-in if he called the $50 raise.

I hesitated. I didn't know what to do just yet. Was I beat? Did the guy have T8 for a cooler? Frankly, I kind of thought so. But at this point, I justified my smooth call by trying to get the guy to my left all-in too.

That's right. I sacrificed a potential $400 double-up to win an already committed $45.

The river brought a King and completed the flush draw. I made what's called a Vaj-tastic, blocking, value, SCARED POKER bet of $100. The guy just smooth called, obviously afraid of the flush.

Afraid of the flush. Because he only had trip 8's holding A8.

Granted, I dodged a 3-outer. I figure I have about 36 more of those to win before the stats even out. However, I left about $300 on the table by not pushing on the turn.

I asked the player if he'd have called my all-in bet.

"Yes." Trips with Ace kicker, of course he would. I've seen him do it before for more money.

And so I won a pot and came to the realization that I've been playing like a cautious nit lately and decided that I won't be doing that any longer.

No comments: