Little voices, wrong attitude

by ~ February 13th, 2009. Filed under: Personal key entries, Philosophy and approach, Poker aggression, Weaknesses.


Sometimes you hear little voices in your head when you do or say something. Maybe it’s a repeat of something your mother told you. I remember my mother telling me when I was about 10 years old after I had picked on one of my sisters, “don’t do anything to girls because they’ll tattle on you.” Or a general life rule you heard somewhere, “play nice, share your toys with your friends”. Or just something that you’re thinking, even while your actions or words are different, you’re next in line at the supermarket when a new register opens, “Next customer please”, but the person behind you is already on the move and is halfway to the register. Donkey.

I get these little voices often while playing poker. Sometimes I’m more aware of them than others.

You consider raising preflop with the third good hand in a row.

  • They won’t believe me
  • They’ll get mad
  • Can I get away with this?
  • I’d better have a better hand than before ’cause someone might play back
  • I’m being a bully/impolite/cheating
  • Keep doing it until they start to fight back
  • Got to keep protecting my good hands, and building the pot when I’m a favorite to win

You’ve been playing tight but now you raise preflop. Someone 3 bets. Or they raise your flop or turn bet.

  • Dammit. Think I’m weak, do you?
  • Think you can push me off this hand?
  • I wasn’t just bluffing the flop
  • Do I need to prove to you that I have a hand?
  • I’ve got an overpair that beats your paired 9
  • Given his stats, the board and earlier action, what is the likelihood that he has something, or instead is testing me or trying his fold equity?

Bad beats. A short stack all in on the flop chasing his flush draw pairs both the turn and river to beat your overpair. K2s calls your QQ PFR, calls your c-bet and catches a king on the turn.

  • wtf?
  • q*%[a+!!
  • #5p`,yyy
  • 40tkf0s
  • ;ltr=s5
  • I’ll get you back, buddy
  • Make a note of that play, make sure to bet for value against this guy in the future

Raise what you suspect to be a blocking bet or stab, either positional or from a LAG, at a unbet pot. Or, raise frequent limpers preflop.

  • What do I do if he calls?
  • What if he’s under-representing his hand?
  • I’m making the pot bigger when I have no idea whether I’m ahead or behind.
  • Do I have the guts to bet the next street as well?
  • Given his stats, the board, and earlier action, I think I have fold equity

Being card dead and/or missing flops and/or getting played back at more often than usual:

  • He just thinks I’m weak because I haven’t played for a while
  • Dammit. This is the best hand I’ve had. I can’t fold this.
  • I’m down this session, but I’m a better player than these guys. I want to play so I can win some back.
  • If it’s reasonable that he has something that beats me, then I can wait for a better situation.

Obviously I’ve put better, more appropriate thoughts at the end in orange.

Generally it looks like an anger or fear response being tripped, which makes sense given the natural fight or flight reactions.

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