Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Precious

It was a Ruby Tuesday's. Back when the Gaelic Game was running and on a night wherein there was no Procedure, I walked into the nearby restaurant chain and found a couple of fellow, local card players already saddled up by the bar.

Rhodes and Eddie were there, like-minded if but for a moment, ingesting sustenance before a long night out seated at the tables. Both of them have different life situations than I. Single. No kids. No real restraints on their lives except their own imaginations. Without much to lose, not much can really hold them back when it comes to an occasional risk.

Me? If you've met me or read this blog for a while, you can probably guess where my risk-aversion falls on the scale of degeneracy. My gambles are calculated and even at the slightest hint of ruin, I hold back. Two years ago, when I began keeping a totally separate bankroll for live poker, I formulated a long-term game plan for my time on the G-Vegas underground game circuit.

"I'll never go broke," I told them. Rhodes and Eddie listened, perhaps keeping their thoughts silent for the moment. In hindsight, what I said there was rather arrogant. It was my way of saying that I play within my bankroll and my skill level in relation to the other players we played with was sufficiently larger such that I'll maintain my winning status over the long-term. I didn't need to take a shot at the 5/10 game. I told them about my plan.

Keep a twenty buy-in bankroll, invest the excess, and maintain the status quo. George Peppard would be proud. And for a while, I was loving it as the plan came together.


Somewhere along the line, something happened. I suspect it was the combination of several things. I took some bankroll cash and lost it in Vegas in June at table games. Not only that, but the costs of a Procedure add up. Drinks, food, and unmentionables. When your bankroll is $5k, starting out each night of poker $100 in the hole isn't too big of a deal. But as it declines, the dents begin to stand out more and more.

More importantly, my poker game changed. When you adopt a higher variance style of play, you have to be prepared to swallow larger losses. In truth, what once was a sufficient bankroll may no longer be. I didn't adjust.

My play suffered and it created a downward spiral, the bottom of which was an empty money clip where once there used to be stacks of hundreds and twenties.

I used to treat my bankroll with a near obsessive reverence. It would hold it, hug it, squeeze it, love it, and name it George.

But that was in the past.


Before we get too far in this tale, let's just say it's not finished. I'm not broke.


I've had to make some adjustments. Adjustments to my play, adjustments to my habits, adjustments to my mentality. I don't want to go broke. I don't want to withdraw from the investments I made last year to support this year's poker play. I could. I'd hate it, but I could. I just don't want to.


I learned something about my game during one hand last Friday at my home game. I made a play at the pot with pocket 8's. The flop came King high but the rest were undercards. To everyone watching, including those in the hand, they were all convinced I either flopped a set or turned two pair. By the river, I was all-in. My opponent called me down with top pair, even saying "I know you have me beat" as he threw his call into the pot.

I'll let you guess what adjustment I made.

More to come.

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