Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chasing draws like a daw - an epiphany of sorts

Played the Fitz scalps last Friday and played as bad as I've ever played in my life. Not that I misplayed any particular hand, or played hands that were entirely without merit, but from a macro strategy point of view I played it wrong wrong ladyboy wrong.
Basically, my early exit (just after the break) boiled down to one failing: playing suited aces and connectors. I kept flopping draws, and bled my chips away chasing draws that never came. If you're going to play those hands, you have to be able to shove when you flop a big draw, but for the shove to be correct you must have at least some fold equity if someone else has something, and depending on fold equity in the Fitz is akin to hoping for tolerance of cultural diversity from a bunch of Christian fundies. When I started in the Fitz, I developed a game that was ugly but brutally effective: Nit 101, wait for big hands, bet them strong against stations and get paid, or check call against the bluff maniacs and get paid.
As I steamed home I had a mini epiphany of sorts and asked myself, why on Earth did I ever change a winning formula?
With that in mind, I played the satellite for the Emporium winter fest last night and just sat there patiently waiting for cards. Immediate result as I won a ticket. I was left short early on when I didn't believe a guy had called to fill a gutshot against me but had, but recovered from there to be almost double the average at the start of FT. Long period of card death saw me drift back from 30K to 23K and below average by the time we got 5 handed (three tickets, one money back cash prize). At that stage Tommy Buckley had raced to chiplead with about 35K, Vera had 30K, Ionapaul (I think) had about 20K, and the shortie about 12K. I picked up aces with blinds at 800/1600 and made a standard raise to 4500. Folded round to Tommy in the BB. There's a lot of history between myself and Tommy, I've probably knocked him out of more Fitz tournaments than anyone else to the point where he refers to me as his nemesis and calls me "sneaky bastard" at the tables. I'd already raised his blind a few times or come over the top of his raises and he'd folded hands he'd normally defend with like A5o or QJo saying he knew I was behind because "I don't have the balls to bluff". Anyway, this time he asks how much I have behind, goes into the tank and then announces "ok, let's go, all in". When I snap call he says oh fuck I've seen this one before. He has AK and the aces hold after a sweat with QJ appearing on the board. That more or less wrapped up the ticket for me, with the other 2 going to Vera and Paul, both of whom played very well. Personally I was happy that my return to a more patient style of play worked so well. Yes, it does depend on picking up big hands, but the longer you're prepared to give those big hands a chance to come, the more likely they are to come, and if you'e still willing to find customers even though it's obvious you're only playing big hands, why play anything else?

One other thing that came up in my recent well on Boards is that a few people commented when I appeared on the scene the quietness and stillness and total lack of personality I showed at the table was unusual, and it got me thinking that this not only helped my table image but also helped me maintain focus and concentration at the table. So basically I'm back to being a total antisocial sociopath at the tables for now. That awful awful man Willie Yuletired who I have on good authority is the subject of several restraining orders involving nubile eastern European women did make a good point on the blog recently about playing better when he prepares mentally. That's something I used to do very well but of late I've tended to just fall into a live tournament a bit punch drunk after a day of playing online, so I went through my mental routines on the train in and at the breaks and it definitely helped.
Next up is the Bruce launch festival which I'm really looking forward to. Then the SE winter fest and the Fitz one (which I also qualified for). Still grinding away online: last 2 weeks have been a bit of a struggle on that front.
Also, I'm back in serious training and feeling much the better for it. I did my first speed session on Monday. Norrie doesn't really believe in easing back into things: that lovely taste of vomit in the mouth was back immediately.
The New York ultra is this weekend and it's with a real pang of regret that I won't be running it. That race launched me as an ultra runner when I won it 2 years ago and the memory of being cheered to victory in Central Park still sends a tingle down my spine. Last year I ran it despite not being fully recovered from the World 24's and finished a decent third. I love the race so much I seriously thought about running it this year as I feel reasonably recovered from my latest 24 hour race, but in the end sanity prevailed. I've been invited over for their New Year's 5K, so I'm running that instead. We fly out the 31st and back the 8th so I'll miss the IPC in Galway but c'est la vie. I never run well in Galway anyway.
Still haven't got around to writing my Korea race report, so in the mean time you'll have to make do with this pic showing the local band.



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