I continue my heavy grinding hours with back to back ten hour sessions, but a different Persuadeo shows up to each one.

On day one I was at nearly my best.  I pulled off a pretty spectacular three barrel, featuring the ole’ pot sized bet on the river to finally get a guy to release top pair on Axxxxhhh.  Sticky these guys!  It was the right play given texture, position, and holdings- I should always have a better ace in that spot than he does from the button. He took a long time and nearly put the money in.  Of course I showed the bluff to make sure he slept well.

I also like my decision to slowplay a big hand later on, putting a Super Action Villain on exactly aces.  By the end of the hand, I was really hoping I was right, because the alternatives would have sucked. 66 from UTG1 and get minraised by the gamblin’ villain.  This is a huge hand when he does this, and I get to exploit his bet sizing tell by continuing with my entire range.  However, I’m not even given that more challenging option, because several other players flat him, and now I end up getting to call twenty to win to 140, which is pretty ridiculous.  Our flop is K62, and I check to aces guy.  Now, we are deep and I have to determine if he has top set so I don’t just punt off several buy-ins.  My track record with sets is abysmal and I have been on the losing end of two giant set-over-set situations in this very room.

So when the SAV leads pot I know I have him drawing to two.  He is just not going to try to protect top set so hard.  What I’m also liking is that an Old Man Coffee type calls the lead!  Wow, can he have a set of deuces???  Please, please, please!  I so want to felt this guy along with doubling through Super Action Villain.  He’s one of those guys who comes disguised as a poker player, with mirrored, Terminator sunglasses, and a fucking WSOP hat! So I on this dry board, the play is to call and keep these funny fellows hopeful.  Not only is it king high, there are no two pair hands to rep, and I’m playing my range coherently.

The turn is a Q, which is a good and bad card.  Aces will be afraid of king-queen, especially from the OMC.  However, while I normally would think queens would not pot the flop, this guy is capable of it.  However, that’s just one scenario and the plan is to get my remaining 220 bigs in somehow. So I check again, and now SAV puts in a big bet.  Unfortunately, OMC doesn’t have KQ, which he really should, and snap folds.  Really, this guy is so terrible it makes me laugh just thinking about him flatting the pot sized bet with KJ.  There’s even a good chance he flatted AK and is now bitching out, having mangled it on every street prior.

So now the old out of position dilemma.  The play now is to check raise all in, which I do.  The reason for this is he can pot control the river, and there is no draw I can have missed to do a front shove with, which is a pretty retarded play anyway.  I pull the trigger, he decides to go with it, and I scoop a huge pot.

He gets a big chunk back from me by calling with garbage and coolering my aces up, but the damage was  done.  I’ve pulled a big chunk out of the game and begun righting the ship.  This hand was a disappointment, as that action villain peeled for a gutter (bink) and took 140 bigs from me when I decided to play for stacks on the turn.  Give me the win there and I actually get everything back that I lost at my last 5/10 session.

I failed versus this old enemy to pull off the river pot sized bet routine successfully. I was a little surprised at how eager he was to snap call me with middle pair, but I guess that is history for you.  I can’t really regret much from this session except maybe finding a fold in the second SAV pot.  I even put the OMC on exactly AK in an important pot, and was rewarded for my precision.

However, at yesterday’s session I apparently tapped out and sent in the back up, my poker Danny DeVito.  I don’t entirely understand it, but from pot one, nothing worked, and to make things worse, I started getting extremely angry.  I could barely think coherently, and was having real Gargamel moments.  I wanted terrible things to happen to a run-hot villain.  His ostentatious watch disgusted me, and I hated the message his prideful wife wanted it to send.  I wanted to shrink his neck with it- that last click of the strap when it fully fits and his eyes pop out would be so satisfying.  He made nut hand after nut hand against me, never folding to three bets (he’s a PLO player), leaving me pantsed and holding Ace or worse high every time we got involved.  I even tried continuing into a caller’s board, like all the donks love to do, oblivious to why it work or why it didn’t work, but of course I got the fake grimace and call. Sometimes it’s amusing or irritating that I’m playing a different game than them, trying to get them to fold, but their game- flop the shit out of it and put out some stupid small bet that’s hard to refuse- seems a lot easier!

By the time I cooled down I had lost half of my gains from the day before and decided to switch from anger to despair.  To compound everything, I failed to turn over a high hand bonus and so passed on a pretty sweet tiramisu, just when I needed something, anything to go right.  What a fucking fish this Twin is.  What can I put around his neck?  The cheap to make but expensive to buy blue tie Watch had on, its vulgar silk too glowingly blue, its insignias too textured and meaningless, might be an appropriate start.

I played on, soldiering for hours, trying to recapture the spirit of the day before, but at every turn I failed.  I missed a turn bomb and let a fish win with middle pair.  That pot was ripe for the taking and I let it fall on the ground for the poker insects to gather. With this pot still fresh in mind, I miss another raise, heartlessly.

By the end I had climbed out of the hole a bit, but my game was detuned and my best spot missed.  I even had to pass on a super action game at 5/10 with a monstrous, spewing whale who was opening his wallet every time I turned to look at the table.  I’m not allowed to play 5/10 for a while, but still.  I watched the chip runners hussling to color everyone up, those cleaner, fresher, younger, black chips gleaming and tossing their hair. Pain.

I’m not sure what to make of this reversion, but everything is a lesson.  Was I tired?  Did something emotional happen?  I don’t think I came in with a focused plan and was more trying to ride yesterday’s high.  However, there is no high, and there is no yesterday.  No one cares.  You go to war with the army you have, yadda yadda yadda.  I would have like to see myself zero in on convincing lines and not so much on squeezing and exploitative stuff- that would have protected me a bit.  I also probably should have left a couple hours earlier and just called it a day once the game quality worsened.

When I do cash out my remaining warriors, a serious player approaches me and asks about a tough hand I played last week.  I had taken a lot of time in a four bet pot before deciding to stack off.  I basically wave him away, telling him something simplistic.

However when I hit the cafeteria for a late and consolatory dinner, the situation – both the conversation and the hand – won’t leave my mind.  The spot itself was complex and interesting.  A known pro was isolating a whale with a very wide range and I had decided to come over the top with a value hand in order to make it look like a squeeze.  After the whale gave up, the pro made a strange flat that not many players would understand, but I think I followed his reasons.  The flop was very bad for my hand, but I think I made the right decision in continuing.  When he put a terrible beat on me with his second tier holding, I wasn’t shocked and went home without a word.

Why didn’t I talk about this damning situation with the player, and instead blow him off?  He was not teasing me or being an ass in any way.  I suddenly was thinking clearly- and I realized that all day, despite being aware of it, I hadn’t been able to.  I started explaining the 5/10 hand again, to myself, as if in conversation.  I thought through all the decision branch possibilities, all the math, and why I had done what I did.

All day I had not been this focused.  Perhaps I should never have played today, or taken a long break once I was so angry, and avoided this Bad Twin session.  More importantly, I wish I understood why I was so irrational to begin with; it’s unlike me not to have a clue.

Nevertheless, for the renewed $5 grinder Persuadeo, there is no real time for rumination and reflection. Those weeks of only getting out of bed for big games seem ridiculous as they are behind me. Tonight, it’s home game time: super deep, low stakes NL with a few real champs, including the ever tricky Crawfish, crusher of home games (and not enough chumps, unfortunately). This will be fun, but I can no longer just spew to be a good and welcoming host; the money just isn’t there. And that’s not all: after this battle, weekend at the always buzzing Village, where chips change stacks fast and furiously.  In bloated pots with active players, blink, and your stack is gone.

There is not much room for error at the moment, but thanks to the recovery of my work ethic, I’m ready.

About persuadeo

Chris Murray, poker player and low stakes coach. persuadeo@gmail... etc.

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  1. You’ve written a few times about how you play a different game than them… Isn’t that the point?

    Here you find it frustrating, but if they played the same game you do you would say the table was full of good pros.

  2. I find this piece frustrating, speaking of, looking back. What really got me back to sanity and thinking clearly?

    Often I bury the key information for a purpose but here I just seem confused.

    As for your question, I don’t even play like the other pros, so I don’t have to worry about that too much. We all have our own style in poker. You might even say that the mark of a good player is just having developed his style and clarified it.

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