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24 September 2010

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 13 years and 153 days ago. Viewed 3,545 times. #5
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Tonight was unbelievable

I've been away from poker for the last couple of years or so, only getting in a few sessions here and there. According to my Check-Your-Bets account I've been playing at a loss for over a year with only a small percentage of profitable sessions over that time.

A "session" for me these days is two play-money 5/10 NL tables, one "Fast" and one not so. Both bought in for 2K. No rebuys. I load an album into the mp3 player and start it off. I set the timer on my blackberry for 45 minutes, then after it goes off I click the "Sit Out Next Big Blind" button, and that acts as an endpoint for the session, winning or losing.

I picked 45 minutes as a session length because my experience suggests I'll see on average one hand which can double me up every hour for each table. So this gets me into the zone where I'll see the hand once per session, but acts as a brake should things just turn into a grind.

For the last month I've been doing this once a week or so, and the fact is that my game had deteriorated to the point I couldn't win even against the no-stake turbo-donkey game that is the play-money 5/10 NL. I'd regularly bust out one table and finish the second one down 75%.

(Interestingly it's been almost exactly two years since A Table Exchange, a chat which more or less lays out how I approach the play-money NL tables.)

The last couple of sessions I started to get the feel back, so while I was still making stupid donkey moves, I felt them before I made them. Last night was a good night, where I made the decision not to all-in race a pair of 6s against three callers (would have flopped the third 6 and won), and when I made the heads-up decision to race a pair of 8s against what turned out to be J-6 (lost to a flopped J). Both of those were good poker decisions, and had my opponent with the J-6 not beaten the odds, I would have been up on that table, and probably combined for the night.

Tonight was something else though.

Seen above is a screen-grab of my two tables shortly before the timer went. Same starting rules as before, and I was up, very up, on both tables.

The final numbers for tonight were a little higher than what you see here. This graph shows what impact being that up has on my history. Tonight I basically reversed the year of losing in one sitting. It was an incredible rush, featuring things like

  • a pre-flop all-in of my 77 called by three others, including a KK; he flops the third K, but I river a flush for an 8K pot
  • me rivering an ace-high flush to beat three K
  • drawing AA twice (cracked once, but didn't go broke with them)
  • drawing KK three times, including once immediately after the cracked AA (turned Kings-full)
  • winning something like three times with AQ-suited
The fast table was very chatty, and we had a nice hockey talk with one of the guys there.

At the end of the session I clicked the "Sit Out Next Big Blind" button on the fast table, but due to the way that the all-in monkeys were getting stacked, I got three passes on the big blind, something which translated into more than 20 minutes of extra play.

And the thing of it was, I nearly bailed on the fast table very early on. When I landed, there were five people there, but two sitters; it quickly dropped down to me heads up with another guy. I don't like heads up, especially on fast tables, especially early in the session when I have no feel for the rhythm of the table. I was one hand away from clicking-out when someone else joined, and we were off to the races.

Nights like tonight are why we play, when it feels like it will all go your way no matter what. Sure, it's 90% luck, but there's a lot of skill in recognizing the luck and recognizing how hard to push things.

I'll remember tonight for a long time.

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