Monday, December 15, 2008

Try a little tolerance

I arrived at Dave W's Saturday night in a good frame of mind, amped to play some poker. I've enjoyed success at Dave's over the last month and a half, cashing in three of the five tournaments I've played. Cash games have been good to me as well.

Mailman, who has energetically embraced his role as TD for these Saturday night donkaments, is in the habit of being punctual. He opens new tables when enough late players have arrived. A few minutes late (as usual), I drew a seat at Table 3 in between a father and son whose mannerisms sent me careening toward the dark edge of tilt.

Unless their bumpkin personna was an act, there was nothing malicious about their behavior. There was one curious soft play between them when the son didn't bet on the end with the second nuts and dad had a pretty big hand, but they had shown themselves to be passive, calling stations to that point and I dismissed the possibility of skulduggery. They were unsophisticated both in poker and in life.

What annoyed me most was their constant blathering and the way they repeated each other's inanities like an old married, but slightly retarded couple. One such blatherer would have been bad, but in stereo it grated my nerves like a block of aged parmesan.

At first break, I headed upstairs and out into breezy cold for a smoke. I took stock of my situation. No matter how idiotic their behavior might appear, I realized I had no right to judge them. They were there, like me, to play in a $30 donkament because that's what they could afford. Were they slow? Yes. But that's the hand life had dealt them. That's not their fault. I might hold a self-image as a semi-worldly, decently educated individual, but I'm sure there are people I've met along my journey through life who have viewed me as rube. It's all about perspective.

I returned to the basement in a better frame of mind, but even that was a largely self-serving sentiment. I discovered some time ago that I play my best poker when I shed my surly tendencies in favor of a positive, upbeat attitude at the table. In this case, I believe I succeeded. I busted during the second level after the break, but at least I felt better about myself and my neighbors.

I moved on to the cash game ($1/$1 blinds) ready mix it up at a tough, tricky and fun table . I had some hands early on that put me in some tough spots that required reads that I mostly got right. I was up around $30 or so when my flopped two pair (A-3) lost to A-10 on the river for a $100-plus pot. I then spent the next three or four hours folding like an origami master. I can't recall when I've been so cold decked. There was no reason to play the garbage I was being dealt. Limping was barely an option, much less calling raises hoping for miracle flops.

When I finally got a couple of hands near the end of the night, no one dared stay in pots with me. I couldn't blame them.

I have worked hard at opening up my game since I began playing with the Group four years ago, but my performance Saturday night may have re-cemented my reputation as a nit. At least I know better. Or do I? Once again, it's all a matter of perspective.


Blogger GregDude said...

I assuming you're talking about Papa Z and Jr. I haven't played much with Jr, but that is how Papa Z plays - very tight & passive. And he does luv to talk.

- Mailman

7:03 AM  

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