Friday, August 03, 2007

Random thoughts

Aint posted anything for a while but then I haven't played much this week. I had 2 bad sessions last week, dropping over 1k each time, and I haven't yet made it all back. Suffered some fairly harsh coolers, but I admit they are not the reason I finished down; it was from some fairly poor play on my part where once again I do my every-street bluff against an opponent without doing my homework on whether they can be forced to fold a vulnerable hand. Admittedly, when a player calls your allin after heavy agression at every stage of a hand with TP5K on a 6 high board, you have to wonder what side of the genius/donkey line they sleep on. Sure, they beat your AK unimproved, but how often will they lose to an obvious overpair? Or TP7K for that matter?!?

Anyway, I've been doing a bit more kungfu recently, and while training the other night I got thinking about the similarities between good fighting and good poker. There are actually quite a few. Making as many observations about your opponent as possible is vital to understanding and beating them. Putting pressure on your opponent through constant aggression is the best way to dominate them. Mixing up your attacks will keep your opponent off balance and unable to counter effectively. You get the idea.
Many poker authors quote Sun Tzu when discussing how to play winning poker, and as one-on-one fighting is directly comparable to war, it follows that you can apply Sun Tzu's teachings in martial art training every bit as easily as you can at the poker table. What interests me is how many other activites would also benefit from application of such ideas. I suspect most competitive endeavours find that substantial gains are made from employing an aggressive behaviour, but alas I don't have enough life experience to guess which ones!

Another thing I have been thinking is why take 50-50 chances for pots when playing cash games? I played for a $95 pot the other day at $0.25/0.50 (yes, I know, I'm working on it) where I called an allin with AKo knowing that my opponent was pushing with an underpair, giving me an effective coinflip for the entire pot. Now, that's ok by me, as I can afford to lose here, and I had already put in $15 preflop before I called the allin. However, I got to thinking afterwards and I believe getting into these situations is a mistake for cash games. I am MUCH more skilled than the players at these limits (I'm generalising, but not being big-headed) and my edge against these players comes from playing lots of hands against them. Why should I give them effectively even odds to beat me? By making the allin call here I'm simply gambling: taking away every skill and advantage I have worked so long and hard to gain! I should have folded, and beaten my opponent in subsequent pots through superior playing ability. Thinking some more, I recall that my best results on the lower limit tables come from winning lots of small to medium pots, not from winning allin after allin. Will fix up.


Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I agree with your comment about taking coin flip chances in cash games. In cash games, since the blinds don't increase, you can actually wait for better opportunities instead of getting in a coin flip situation against an opponent that you can outplay more often than not. Having said that, if you already have money in the pot, then pot odds are offering better return than the risk (50-50) so calling is ok too. But in terms of a general comment, I agree.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I got your comment about you living in NY for a year. Are you going to be in the City? If so, there are some live poker clubs too that I know other bloggers can hook you up with. Let me know if you are interested.

As for playing online, yes, it's completely legal for anyone to play poker online. There are no legal restrictions there so no worries. Don't worry, bunch of us blogging here in the US aren't all criminals! :)

lj said...

look at you alan, hooking people up with poker clubs in nyc. ;)