“Greatness is defined by how one responds to adversity”

This was a quote hammered into me by my college football coach. And I’ve faced some poker adversity in my last couple sessions. I had my worst 2 consecutive sessions ever:
-$729 on 173 hands!!! On average, thats a $4 loss per hands. Almost a small bet every hand. WOW. These losses came on the $5-10 tables, and although I was playing slightly tilted, the majority of the losses were just bad luck.

If I get another turn-the-nuts-and-cap-the-turn-but-the-board-pairs-on-the-river hand I’m gonna have to hack the party servers and wreak havoc. The poker gods punished me brutally for trying to steal the blinds with ATo. Check out the hand:

***** Hand History for Game 291330040 *****
5/10 TEXASHTGAMETABLE (LIMIT) – FRI DEC 19 20:44:50 EST 2003
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to hdouble [ Ad, Tc ]
nemisisone folds.
ddosu folds.
CrazyN8 folds.
ngcngc folds.
hdouble raises (10) to 10
dsmith3622 calls (5)
squidpickle calls (5)
Hellmaker calls (10)
Boston2Vegas calls (8)
adjayscent calls (5)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 3d, Jc, Kh ]
Boston2Vegas bets (5)
adjayscent folds.
hdouble calls (5)
dsmith3622 calls (5)
squidpickle calls (5)
Hellmaker calls (5)

(I call with the gutshot draw and one overcard. Not a bad play in my book, as long as I know that no one behind me will reraise.)

** Dealing Turn ** : [ Qs ]
Boston2Vegas bets (10)
hdouble raises (20) to 20
dsmith3622 calls (20)
squidpickle folds.
Hellmaker folds.
Boston2Vegas raises (20) to 30
hdouble raises (20) to 40
dsmith3622 calls (20)
Boston2Vegas calls (10)

(I hit my gutshot and hold the nut straight. I can tell from the reraise that the guy has either a set or we’re going to split the pot. I make a note to offer the poker gods a virgin sacrifice for allowing me to hit my 11:1 draw.)

** Dealing River ** : [ Qh ]
Boston2Vegas bets (10)
hdouble calls (10)
dsmith3622 calls (10)

(The board pairs– I’ve seen this before. I curse the poker gods and tell the virgin to go back to school.)

** Summary **
Main Pot: $232 | Rake: $3
Board: [ 3d Jc Kh Qs Qh ]

hdouble balance $133, lost $65 [ Ad Tc ] [ a straight, ten to ace — Ad,Kh,Qs,Jc,Tc ]
dsmith3622 balance $135, lost $65 [ Qc 9d ] [ three of a kind, queens — Kh,Qc,Qs,Qh,Jc ]

Boston2Vegas balance $277, bet $65, collected $232, net +$167 [ Jd Jh ] [ a full house, Jacks full of queens — Qs,Qh,Jd,Jh,Jc ]

So, that was a nice $232 pot down the drain. Enough complaining. Needless to say, it sucks losing a huge chunk of your bankroll in 2 sessions, and I was pretty down. But I know I didn’t play too badly, and was just unlucky. Which is the tough thing about poker– playing perfect poker often costs you more than playing badly. I got my money in when I knew I had the best hand… I knew I was favored– the guy with the set has a 23% chance of the board pairing, so I like my odds here. So capping the turn is the right move. But I paid for making the right move.

I think the tough thing is to walk away, analyze what you did, and say “Ok, I got unlucky. I’m a good player, and in the long run, I will win.” This is true in all walks of life… I made plenty of mistakes on the football field, but I also did things that not many players could do. If you have faith in yourself as a player, these things will roll off your back and you’ll recover. If you let them affect your confidence, you will play poorly.

So I dragged myself back to the tables, and decided to take a shot at a $50 SNG. Sadly, even a first place finish would get me back less than 1/3 of my losses. Party now gives you 1000 chips to start at the $50 buy in or higher, so you have a tiny bit more room to work with. There were some real tourney players here… I don’t think I saw an all in until the blinds were up to 100/200, and people weren’t playing junk hands. I knew I’d have to play well and catch a few hands to win this thing.

I raked in a 170 chip pot on the first hand when a cautious table gave me a King on the river to go with my KQo. I got my muck on for a while until I picked up KJo in the big blind. The blinds were at 200 here, and I called the button’s 200 chip steal-raise after SB folds. Flop is Qd Jd 9h, and I sense danger, but have to test the steal-raise, so I bet out 400 more. Button calls, and I feel like I’m in trouble. Turn is 3h, and I check. He bets out 900, and I go into the tank. I’ve seen this guy try to steal, but he’s been pretty solid… could he have AQ? KQ? My intuition tells me he’s got a queen, and I throw away my second pair. He shows me AQo (why did he show?) and I’m happy about my laydown, but I’m down to 865 chips.

Sidebar: I just discovered an awesome new feature on PokerTracker! I downloaded the new version last week, and in reviewing the tourney, I saw a button that said “Playback this hand”. Click on it, and you get a graphical replay of the hand, betting and checking included! I’m really impressed with PokerTracker. Anyway, the way you find this screen is to select a session from the session note/game notes tab. Double click it. Then go to the “game notes” tab. Double click on a hand, and a window will come up displaying the hand history for that hand, but also a new button labeled “Playback this hand”. Click it, and you get to the hand replayer function. You can replay the entire tournament, or just a single hand. The cool thing is, if someone wants you to analyze their play, they can just send you the hand history file, and you can replay it in the Pokertracker playback feature. Gotta tip my hat to the guys (actually I think it’s just one guy) at PT.

Back to the tourney. The blinds are up to 300/600 and I’ve got 1100 on the SB. Folded to me, and I go all in with A9o. BB calls the extra 500, and here we go…
board comes 3 2 9 K 3… and I’m not happy, but BB has Q8s and I double up. I try to steal the blinds with K9o one off the button, as this table has been super tight. Oops… SB calls all-in, and the board is 8 A 7 3 T. I figure I’ve lost half my chips, but SB shows QJs!!! K high holds up! We’re down to 3 players and now we’ve all got the same size stacks. The next hand I’m the BB and reraise a limper (I almost never reraise on the BB but felt that this was the right play here) with KJo. He calls, and the flop is K J 9, and it’s all in time. He calls, and my 2 pair holds up over his K4o. Heads up with a big chip lead!

I’ve got 7395 chips to the other guys 2605, and I know that the blinds are so big (300) that I can knock him out with a couple good hands. I steal a couple hands, but he wins his all-in bet of 1K chips when his Q8o pairs up and beats my K6s.

The blinds go up to 500, and he’s up to 3260, with me at 6740. I get 65s in the BB, and he just calls. Flop is 7h 5c 8h and I like my hand… a pair with the open straight draw, so I bet 800 and he calls. The turn is a Kd, and the guy has been playing tight, so I try to win the pot right there with a 1K bet. He comes over the top all in for 2K, and I go deep into the tank.

I figure he must have the king, but I’ve got some outs here. I figure I’ve got 13 outs–the 2 5s, 3 6s, and the 8 straight fillers. So the odds are against me, but the pot is so big at this point I think I have to call. I barely make the call before time runs out, and the river is… a 9!!! Hdouble wins! Poor guy had K7, so I really only had 10 outs. The poker gods were kind. But even if I lost this pot, I still had 3500 chips to work with.

It felt good to win, especially after getting hammered for the past week. Gotta get a little win streak going, especially since Moss and Culpepper have pocketed my $100 bet with a 21-0 lead at halftime. I was right about one of these two things: < em>“Chiefs specials make the difference in this game, even though Moss will have a huge game.” It’s up to the Pats and Ravens, unless the Chiefs have an unbelievable 2nd half…

Hopefully I’ll get to dive into the Saturday night fish pond later on, and get some of those losses back… I watched The Intrepid Card Player get rivered to go out 4rth in a $10 SNG. But I guess that’s poker… and watch out for McGrupp, he’s getting ready to jump into the Party frenzy after Christmas. He’s building a photo book of poker bloggers… I’m curious how many players will reveal their faces and risk losing some B&M profits.

pic of the day:
Ghost story

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