The Poker Game of Life

Poker and scotch on the rocks. Below are my reflections on life and poker. My journey from $4-8 as a past time to $30-60 for serious money and my life experiences in between.

Name:
Location: seattle, Washington, United States

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The drive to improve my poker playing

At the end of last night's session I was up $1,257 fot the night, playing in the 6-handed $10-20. That's a great 2 hour session dollar wise and it pushed me to an all time high on my "year to date dollars won". :)

Even though the night finished a success after every session I always focus on how I can improve as a player. Last night was no exception, here are 2 hands which I believe I played poorly.

Hand 1:
I'm in 2nd position with Aces and limp in hoping to get some action. Someone in late position limps in and the small blind folds. The flop is J, 8, 3 with two diamonds. The big blind bets out, I smooth call and the late position player folds. Turn is a 7 and the big blind bets out again. I smooth call with the intention of waiting until the river to pop him. The end is a 6, he checks I bet and he folds.

Analysis:
I'm pretty sure that since he didn't even call he was on a flush draw. In retrospect I should've put the pressure on him on the turn which would force an extra big bet out of him in order to potentially make his flush. Also by just calling the mistake is that if the flush hits and he does bet thru it do I call here? I hate being a caller, particularly in short handed games where I need to be aggressive. That being said, my slow play was meant to mix my game up a little bit. I missed out on $20.

Relevant Quote: "As a poker player you hate to call off your money" - Erik Seidel after losing an old WSOP.

Hand 2:
A passive player Under the gun (UTG) limps in, and i'm in the small blind with Ace, 8. I raise, the big blind 3 bets and UTG cold calls. I'm pretty sad now and call. Flop is 8,8,Q rainbow. I check, the big blind bets, UTG calls, and I call.

Turn is a 5 bringing a club draw. I check, the big blind bets, the UTG raises and I hesitate and cold call 2 bets. Big blind calls.

The river is checked all around.

Analysis:
I allowed myself to be intimidated by the turn raise from the UTG player. He's not so poor as to have Q/8 and he's not tricky enough to have pocket Q's. I'd bet my Lexus on that. He could have possibly had pocket 5's but I'm about 75% sure he would've raised with any pocket pair in a short handed game.

The big blind almost certainly didn't have pocket Queens because he just called the raise and is not tough enough to wait until the very end to check raise (although that would have been brilliant but he's not capable of that).

I should've reraised and probably would've trapped the big blind in for another bet as well as the UTG player. If it doesn't get capped I should've bet the end as well. That's an extra $80 I missed thru a misread.

Conclusion:
I've got a few weeks left before I leave my job and play even more seriously. While I don't think these small mistakes are enough to stop me from success they have to be corrected or I'll never become the world class player I hope to be.
Thoughts?