Something’s off

by ~ August 14th, 2008. Filed under: General poker strategy, Philosophy and approach, Poker aggression, Short stack poker.

So I’ve been focusing on playing short stacked, buying in for 20 BBs, recently added tables so that I’m playing 6 instead of 4 at a time. Having good results, until two days ago. Minor downswing, but it worries me.

First there was a minus 8 BB session over 200 hands. Almost not worth considering other than it’s quite a ways below the 20+ bb/100 I had been running at. Followed by a 2 table short session while listening to a poker video. I got stacked twice (first time KK has run into AA, and then shoved with AT over a minraise on a Ace high flush draw flop and the flush filled; I guess that’s why bad players limp K6s from early position?) without stacking up so finished minus 36 BBs or so. Next session finished minus another 38 BBs over 200+ hands.

But what concerns me is the last session. I was somewhat card dead; VP$IP of 8, PFR of 4, my raises were getting called, missing flops, c-bets were getting called with bottom pairs to the point that I almost didn’t get paid in a 5 way limped pot when I hit a set. And the one that concerned me most; I caught myself open folding KQo from the button.

I think I had 5 tables going at the time. I recall looking at the stats of the players in the blinds, but I don’t know that they were extremely loose. For me, playing 5 tables, there are a lot of actions that don’t get a lot of deep consideration. There’s a certain degree of “instinct” involved; preflop I’m reading the cards, the position, the players, the previous actions, the previous hand(s), then acting. When I’m on my game I’m not above raising K2 from the button in an unopened pot, especially if I haven’t raised much in the previous orbit or so. KQ on the button I shouldn’t even have been considering the player’s stats; that should be an automatic raise. Instead, it was a quickly considered, reactive fold.

And that’s why I’m concerned.

Some potential factors:

  • running badly over the session
  • running poorly over the previous two sessions
  • having a tough time with the super turbos, which I still play occasionally
  • playing more tables
  • playing SS more often; when I started it was twice a week and now it’s almost every day with longer sessions
  • running hot early created unrealistic expectations/hopes
  • some frustration at not having a full stack behind me
    • means I have to fold medium pairs and connectors preflop
    • I have little threat behind me on the flop and especially on the turn
    • I get pot committed trying to c-bet
    • I get little respect playing SS. That used to be fine as I could get lots of value for the better hands as people call with weak hands, but when I’m not getting decent hands and my raises/c-bets don’t get respect, I’m not playing much and winning even less.
  • maybe I focused too much on HUD stats for stealing and it over-ruled the cards

I know one thing; I’m definitely off my game right now, if that last session is an indicator.

It’s funny how things seem to go in cycles for me. The last focus was the super turbos, where I ran really well, then dropped off and never got back into any kind of groove again. Before that I was trying to get myself to grind full ring again and did so for about 6 weeks, grinding up, then losing interest and having some losing sessions which brought that project’s results down again.

Some combination of confidence turning into arrogance or into some unrealistic expectation level, or boredom/casualness is maybe changing my attitude after 6 week periods.

But I can’t be open folding KQo from the button, at any level, any situation other than a bubble situation. I don’t know if going back, playing less tables and forcing myself to be more aggressive is the thing to do, or to get away, not play poker at all, or to play full stack or regular SnGs for a while. I may actually take some time and play with Poker Academy for a while instead. Just so I can whip through hands quickly and critique myself as I go and try to re-build my poker mind map.

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