If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour…it’s me.

So I thought I would report immediately after my first session in my quest for riches through online poker, but things didn’t turn out quite as expected, so I took a few days to reflect.

You see in my mind, all I needed to do was stay focused, play a little tighter than usual, and fish should shower me with their cash. It didn’t quite work out that way. Long story short, I lost over half my starting bankroll in just a few hours of play, but I learned some very valuable lessons. I’d like to share them with you:

1) Aces beat kings. I know it’s pretty straightforward, but twice I lost big stacks to the *same* player (if you are reading this, you’re welcome) at two different tables. The play goes like this: I’m sitting at the $50 buy-in NL full ring table and am dealt KK, I open with a decent raise to about $3 in early position, trying to limit the field of chasers, and drive out any weaker ace that might tag along for less. Villain reraises to $10 from either the button or the blinds, and I struggle to put him on pocket aces or a steal, since he has shown a wide range of hands at showdowns over the last 20 minutes. The first time, I got it all in before the flop, figuring him for the steal. He turns over aces, they hold up, and he takes my $48 stack. The second time, I still know his range is pretty wide, and I elected to call. With a flop of 662, I felt the flop was pretty safe, so I lead with a pot-sized bet, which was $20 or so, and he comes over the top for the rest of my chips. I figure if he has AA or A6, I guess I’m paying him off, since I’ve now priced myself into this train wreck of a hand. He turns over aces, they hold up, and he takes my $55 stack.  This leak cost me two pots worth over $200 total, and could have made me profitable for the session, if not cut my losses.  I could cry about being cold-decked, but I know it won’t last—next time I get the aces.  If anyone can tell me a better way to play KK, I’m open to suggestions.

2) Manage your bankroll. Okay, so this is one I’ve struggled with for a long time. I don’t much care for the reckless abandon, that so many players play with at the lower limit tables, but really I should have been playing $10NL with a $500 bankroll (I still haven’t earned my match), not $50NL. I’ll write a little bit more about bankroll management later on, but if I am playing 4 tables, and have a bad session (which I did), it can devastate my ability to recoup that money, since I now have a little over $210 left to use for tools.

3) “Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.” I know that anyone who has seen Rounders has heard that before, and probably repeated it. While a few things in that movie are greatly exaggerated, like a winning poker player who has such an obvious tell as listening to Oreos when he has the nuts, one thing is for certain: Poker was created as a means for those who can learn the game to exploit those who cannot. That said, I usually look around the table, and within 15 minutes, I can figure out who we are collectively exploiting. Not that my first impression of Cake is that everyone is a shark, but perhaps I spent a little too much time multi-tabling, and didn’t really get to understand many of the villains as well as I could have.

Takeaways: In order to restore my bankroll, I’m going to pay better attention to my opponents, and get into lower limit games. Maybe I’ll toss in some Sit N’ Go’s to see if I can smooth out some of this volatility.

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One Response to “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour…it’s me.”

  1. kast says:

    To manage tilt I just hit the SNG’s too. Nice way to blow off steam.

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