Well, it’s time for the Wednesday poker report. Somehow that sounds funny to me. I had said that my Wednesday reports would talk more about specific hands and strategy so I’ll dive right in with a hand I played the other night at the South Point Casino. The casino where they shoot High Stakes Poker happens to be less then a mile from my house.
The $200 Tacos
It was getting late and not having dinner yet I decided to shoot down to the corner and get a couple of chicken soft tacos from Del Taco. I planned to return home and plant myself on the couch with a taco in one hand and the remote in the other as I recline in front of the TV to watch ESPN‘s coverage of the WSOP. The plan went south however when a friend called me as I was sitting at the drive thru and asked me if I could bring him a couple of tacos. Sure I said, “No problem.” He ordered fish tacos but that’s not important to the story.
So I go into the South Point Casino where he was playing to drop off the bounty and he coaxes me into joining the game. Well, it’s a $1-$2 NL $300 max buy-in game which is the highest game in the room. High Stakes is not filming at the time and I don‘t care what the game is anyway as long as it involves chips and cards. So I sit down and while I’m munching on my tacos I quickly join the fray and play my first hand. I make it all of seven dollars to go with AJ suited in third position. The guy on my left makes it fourteen and as everyone quickly folds I’m thinking,…Well, he obviously has kings or aces…maybe I can flop two jacks!…”eehh..it’s only 1-2...I call.” Flop is A/K/5 and it goes check-check. Turn is a jack (making two hearts) and I lead out for $20 and he calls. I’m pretty much done with the hand when a jack of hearts falls on the river to make me jacks full and put the possible flush out there. I brazenly move all-in and he quickly calls with…kings full, of course. Duh! I pick up my other taco say “you want some hot sauce for your two-hundred dollar tacos? To my friend and quickly head home to find my couch with an open arm to comfort me.
I watch the end of Denzel Washington’s movie Dejavu and then The Firm, starring Tom Cruise. Two really good movies that I had seen before but didn’t mind watching again. Reflecting on the hand in that little game I discovered a lesson that was well worth the $200 that I lost that I’ll share with you now and is the point of the article. I told you when I started this gig with Poker Pages that I was a little long winded, didn’t I? Well, here we are four paragraphs into it and I’m just getting to the point. What is the point? Oh yeah, my play of AJ.
One of my key points I discuss with people trying to bring their poker game to the next level is to change their focus from “Down and In” to “Up and Out.” Which in short means to keep your focus off your hand and chips and onto your opponent’s chips and cards and their most likely holding. Noticed that I did that at the start of the hand described above but lost sight of my instincts and read by being blinded by the development of the board. I remember one time in a tournament that I was so focused on my opponents hand that it effected me the other way. This was before you had to turn your cards up when both players are all-in. I had flopped two pair and my opponent who had turned up his hand was on a flush draw and not wanting to give any free information I kept my hand down. As the dealer was turning over the river card I remember concentrating so hard and chanting to myself “No heart, no heart, no heart…” that when the heart fell and paired the board I was so focused on my opponents hand that I lost sight of the fact that I made my full house! It finally dawned on me but not until my hand was buried beneath the muck and I had to ship some chips over with a cup of stupidity.
Not only being focused but staying focused whether there’s cameras rolling or elephants walking by will keep you from making these silly mistakes. Luckily for me they were cheap lessons that I will keep mindful of in the major tournaments where you definitely don’t want to make those types of mistakes when there’s millions of dollars on the line.
Oh, and the answer to the Sunday reports fourth step: Control. Controlling the application of what you’ve come to realize is the fourth step in my learning process.
Good flops and happy days,
|< Prev Blog||Next Blog >|