Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I love shorthanded play

Damn, running well feels good.

I don't even feel like I'm getting good cards, but I guess that's probably a matter of perspective. I do feel like I'm making very good reads. I'm laying down losers and calling down with weak hands that are winning a high percentage of the time.

I think it all boils down to one thing: playing good poker. Forgetting about your own numbers, discarding rote rules, resisting the urge to tilt toward either extreme, maniacal or weak. The only thing that matters is the individual situation. How could you raise that river? How could you lay down that hand? How could you play those cards?

It depends.

I was thinking again about my end-of-November downswing. I've been trying to keep it in mind so that I don't repeat the same mistakes. One mistake was playing while I wasn't feeling well. Now, again, I'm not feeling well, but this time I'm winning. I hope the difference there is that I'm being very conscious of my mental and physical state at all times while I'm playing, and stopping if I feel like I'm starting to lose my focus.

Another mistake I made was that I really tried to push my luck as far as it would go. It worked for a while, but eventually I got bitten. There's a lot to be said for pushing edges, but when you push edges that aren't there, you're just spewing chips. And spewed chips are often just dead money.

Changing topics again: This 2+2 Magazine article got me thinking. Basically, the article argues that there are exactly three kinds of bets: value bets, bluffs and bets that are made because it's better to bet than to check. What impresses me about this concept is that there is little room for informational bets if they don't otherwise affect the bottom line. There is little room for raises on the flop with hands that are likely dominated.

If a bet doesn't directly relate to the expected value of the hand, then it has no purpose. It's just a waste of money.

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