Thursday, April 06, 2006

I don't need nothing

There are days when a pitcher's stuff is especially good. Days when the breaking stuff is filthy and fastballs are a blur. I've never had one of those, but that's not the point.

There are days when poker has its correlary. Everything is crystal clear. Your plays are tricky but correct, your reads sharp. I'm not sure I've had one of those, either. But at least we're closer to the point.

And there are days when the brain is only half engaged. You make plays (usually calls) that you know are ill-advised but make them anyway, and watch helplessly as your chips disappear. Memo to self: Folding is often the correct play. For example, fold pocket aces when the flop comes one suit (not yours) and there's a big reraise. Not that a low-limit junkie like me would lose with aces that way.

Hopped back into $1/2 NL on Titan last night for longer sessions. Don't know how many hands (Hey, Titan: If you want to be a real poker site, upgrade your fucking software to allow for stored hand histories), but I'm guessing somewhere around 300. Up in two shortish sessions, then down in two longer ones. Finished the night even.

Two funny stories. A few hands after taking a nice pot off some aggro-donk, he reraises me all-in for his last $40. I have aces. He has 5s. Aces are good. Before the penniless 'wipe skulks off, he types "N.I.G.G.A."

Say what? Then I remembered. My avatar. For the record, I think avatars are worthless and always turn them off. But I recalled that when I checked out the (scant) options available on Titan, I noticed that my default avatar was that of a sharply dressed brother. I didn't bother changing it and didn't think anymore about it until the racist donk reminded me of my true identity. Yes, I was born a poor black child. On Titan at least.

The other funny story: I open a table after the after two winning sessions and get pocket queens the first hand. There are four limpers and I raise to $10. I get one caller who has only $40 behind. Flop comes 2-high. (Okay, a 2 and some other rags). I bet $14 and he calls. A 3 comes on the turn. and I bet $16 and he calls. A useless rag on the river and I put him all-in. He calls. Queens lose to a monster -- 2-3. And they're not even suited.

That's why the Titan game can be so good. He not only limped with 2-3, he called an $8 raise with it. Nice. Crappy play led to more chips disappearing. Some competent players showing up did not help.

Reminded by blogger Acorn about the importance of table selection (make sure there is a donk or two at the table), I opened up a $1/2 tonight and within a few hands got bet out of a nice-sized pot when big slick failed to improve on the flop. I reloaded, won a few small hands and then limped/called $6 with pocket 3s. Raiser is a solid Danish guy who had been at one of my other tables. A short stack calls, as expected. Flop comes K-3-3. Nice. Great Dane bet $18, I called. Short stack goes all-in for his last $12. Check-check on the turn. Dane checks the river, I bet $20 and he folds.

There probably is some blogging prohibition against telling quad stories with anticlimactic endings. I bring it up, though, because I made a mistake not betting the turn. The Dane said he was open-ended, and I'm sure he would have called something reasonable. Moral of the story: Even with the dead nuts, slow-playing is usually wrong.

While not totally relaxed and confident at $1/2, I'm feeling okay. I'm getting more comfortable calling raises with ... pocket 3s. I'd call $2 in a .25/.50 game with 3s, so why wouldn't I call $8 in a $1/2 game?

I'm still too self-conscious about the cash I'm betting and calling with. You should never ignore the fact you're playing with real money that buys real stuff. But it would be better to think of those chips more as the important tools of a very strange trade.


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