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Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Final Countdown

Today's the day. My flight leaves at 3, so I only took a half day of vacation, and now I'm stuck at work with Vegas thoughts in my head. I busted through everything I needed to get done yesterday, and so today finds me in a holding pattern. No sense starting any new projects, and so I play the waiting game. "Oh, the waiting game sucks!" Homer exclaims. "Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!"

I played a couple of the PokerStars cheapy tournaments the other night ($1 + .10 and $2 + .20). I cashed in the $2, but just barely, and so I ended up down 40 cents or so. Fortunately, my bankroll is healthy enough to handle violent swings like that.

While I played those tournaments, I tried to focus on the worst leaks in my game. I came up with the following rules, which comprise a strategy I have named "The Don't Play Stupid Poker Strategy." Catchy, eh?

  1. Yes, he does have that king. I frequently talk myself into calling or reraising in situations where the voice in the back of my head is screaming that I'm beat. The idiot at the front of my head says, "Nah, he's bluffing," like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day playing chicken with the train.
  2. Playing the K5 in the small blind is always a bad idea. Always. Even if everyone limps, and you're getting amazing pot odds to call, just fold. Almost every time, you'll feel compelled to play if a K flops, and then you'll be outkicked.
  3. If you make a continuation bet with nothing and are raised, fold. Clearly, if you represent strength pre-flop and the other guy hangs around, and then you show strength again and he responds with more strength, then you're probably beat. Convincing yourself that he is bluffing will cost you money. See rule 1.

Hardly an exhaustive strategy, but it never hurts to work some things into your game.

I am not likely to post again until next week, so best of luck to everyone in Atlantic City and Tunica for their respective tournaments. It figures that I would fly to Vegas when there are two big tournaments elsewhere, but maybe that means there's more tourist money waiting there for me.


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