Playing poker, our goal is always to win as many pots as possible – the bigger, the better. But there are obstacles in our path – too many of them sometimes. Recently, those obstacles have taken hold of me. It would be even worse if my bluff wasn’t very successful at the start of the session (Note: I’ve always followed the teachings in The Art of Bluffing, especially Esther Bluff).
We all know that early selection is very important. Play weak starts, then you rely on luck – tight gambling. Then, in the long run, you are bound to lose. But what do you do if you are given only a few good starting jobs? Recently, after a good start on $ 4- $ 8 limit hold’em, I found myself joking. It felt like forever. “Be patient,” I muttered to myself. “That will change.
Sure, but in the meantime, we each have to pay two blinds once every spin, so the price is even when you don’t have a hand to play. With 30 hands dealt per hour at a full table, that cost will add up. That figure is roughly three revolutions per hour. Play limits are $ 4- $ 8, with blinds of $ 2 and $ 4, which cost around $ 18 per hour – even more at short-handed tables.
I bought into the game for $ 60 (minimum is $ 40) and built my stack to $ 100 after an hour of play. Then, that losing streak knocked me down. I broke after about a few hours of extra play. So, I bought another $ 60, hoping for the best. Patience alone may not save the day. You have to win enough hands to catch up.
I was wondering if I should change my seat. When I looked around the table, studying each opponent, I decided that I was already in the perfect sitting position at the table – two seats to the left of the most aggressive players (“crazy guys”) and to the right two very passive players.
Even worse, when I finally (seemed forever) given a good starting hand and stepped up on the flop, I found myself being a river oh so often. Too often in fact.
When I play them aggressively, hoping to thin out the playing field, too many opponents hold on to the end – too often catching one of the few out on the river. Often times, it was a bad beat where my opponent had a little out – but he was lucky.
Do not laugh. This happens to all of us. And it hurts.
As I thought about my situation, it occurred to me that after observing my plight, my opponents now consider me to be the eternal loser, and are determined to call my bets up to the river. Come to think of it, maybe I should change the tables, hoping for a tighter opponent (Note: Tables that are too tight are also not allowed. In that case, you can’t build a big pot when you end up catching a monster’s hand).
At that time, I decided to take a break from the game. Of course, I didn’t want to risk it sideways. It will make things worse. But I feel like I’m headed there.
I went for a brisk walk outside the casino, took a deep breath of fresh air and thought about the situation. It’s time to eat a light meal, and then start over – at a different table.
Fortunately, I can afford it. And I have a few hundred dollars from previous big winning sessions, saved in the casino cage, which I can take advantage of when I have a really bad losing streak. As I relaxed and enjoyed my snack, I decided to accept my loss, call it a night, and go home to wait another day.
A few days later when I returned to visit the casino, the Poker gods decided to smile at me. I won two big sessions in a row, plus a $ 100 bonus for Aces. After all, patience pays.