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Hockey Mirrors Poker Mirrors Life...

If you've been around the poker scene for a while, you've undoubtedly heard poker players mention that "Poker mirrors life". Everything that you encounter at the tables - the people, the ups, the downs, the joy of raking a monster pot, the agony of losing your buy-in - reflects situations and life in the real world. I've really found that poker has changed the way I look at things in my everyday life.

I remember going for a job interview last August. I'd been playing a lot of poker in the months leading up to this interview and was on a pretty good winning streak. So when I sat down in the window-less room, I was ready for anything.

I met with two people: the recruiting agent and the client. I remember watching the client come in and sit down. As he started speaking and asking me questions, my mind began to alter the scene in front of me. We weren't sitting at a brightly lit industrial table talking W3C Compliance and Internet Publishing Standards; instead, we were staring each other down across the felt. Our stacks were even but I was steadily gaining ground. The client fired shot after shot and it was all the agent could do to get out of the way.

Raise? I re-raise.

Small river bet? I fold.

All-in? Call.

Back and forth we went until I finally peeked down and saw the cowboys looking back. Client pushes in with the last of his chips and it's over. We shake hands and I leave knowing that I'd totally outplayed the client and the job would be mine.

I took some crazy chances during the interview and played it really aggressively. Anyone out there who's interviewed a lot knows the feeling that comes with dominating the interview process and it feels good. I didn't really want the job since I was looking to go out on my own as a consultant: this probably gave me the cojones to play it as hard as I did.

All this to say that poker is life and life is poker - you do well at one and the other will follow. But last night, as I played my usual limit game at Interpoker, I noticed the Sens game mirroring my game.

The Sens played somewhat sloppy at times but really lost the game on two or three lucky breaks for the Sharks. The Sharks scored on a breakaway goal and a 2 on 1. It didn't matter how well the Sens played for the rest of the evening: these two goals were all the Sharks needed to break the mighty Ottawa Senators.

The same thing happened in my limit game. I was playing pretty well. I may have been overly aggressive at times, but I was pushing my edge as much as I could when ahead. A few times, I made mistakes: when the neutral-passive player re-raised me on the turn with the board showing 6 K Q J, I should have laid down my TPTK. In fact, had pot odds not dictated a call on his initial turn bet, I should have folded. Instead, I raised his original bet and capped his re-raise. Ignoring that one hand and a couple other small mistakes that cost me a total of one or two big bets, my results did not reflect the quality of my play.

I lost 4 big hands and split another big pot when the river card was a queen. For three of the big hands that I lost, my opponents hit their 3-,4-, or 5-outters on the river. I ran into two straights and trip 8s and all three cost me at least $6.

Would I cold-call a pre-flop raise with a Q8o? Nope. Would I cold-call a pre-flop raise with a K9o or a JTo? Not a chance. Although the loose play of my opponents cost me, it was that same loose play that allowed me to finish down only 50 cents by the end of my session. Had the tables not broken up, I would've kept playing and stood a good chance of making my money back.

I've noticed that the limit play at Interpoker tends to feature a number of regulars, many of whom are fish. As the fish lose all their money over the course of a week or two, the sharks move on and a new set of fishy and sharky regulars take over the 0.50/1.00 tables. I'll keep playing these games until I clear my October bonus then take a shot at the $1/$2 tables again. I refuse to accept the fact that the $1/$2 games are out of my league. It's time that I take a shot at the gold (or bronze) again.

I also played some more $5 NL at TigerGaming. My results turned out as mediocre as ever. I was really missing a lot of flops, getting crappy cards, and not getting paid off on a lot of great hands once I became the table leader. I was pretty upset when I put a guy all-in with my JJ and having him show me AA. What makes this more upsetting is the fact that, just 15 minutes prior, I'd run into KK with my QQ. The funniest thing is how people describe these types of hands in the chat: Tiger hands. You will never meet a more cynical bunch of conspiracy-theorists than the $5 NL crowd at Tiger. Damn, I love this poker thing!

On a brighter note, I picked up enough monsters to put me up for the night and I'm happy! There's nothing better than hitting the nut-flush on the turn, checking from the SB, and having the BB go all-in and the CO re-raise! I knocked two guys out at once on that hand.

Anyway, I feel as if this post has really been a steaming pile of shit. The ideas worked in my head but didn't translate to the page, I guess. Oh well, you've gotten this far so you might as well finish, right?

Tonight...my wife and I are going out for dinner with friends. Then it's back home for some well deserved rest (is there any other kind?). I may have a few drinks and play some poker - we'll see. I'm going to try and play some more SNGs this weekend: I'm 64% done and I've got some lucky cards owing me. I really need to improve my ROI. Since January 1st, SNGs have cost me $35 due to some bad luck and weak-tight play. I'm hoping to turn it around tonight and this weekend.

One last thing...Last night, MrVercetti and another friend, I'll call him John, were supposed to come over. Well, John got a couple tickets to the Sens game, so he and MrVercetti did that instead. You'd think my friends would be more keen on coming over and watching me play poker in my boxer shorts?! Actually, my wife got me a pair of poker-themed pajama bottoms and a WSOP t-shirt. I'll normally wear those when playing online, along with my snazzy new Interpoker baseball cap. But if it'll put you on tilt, you can picture me playing naked save for a pair of sweaty boxer shorts and some half-eaten rice crackers caught up in my stomach hair...damn, I think that image just put me on tilt.

Back to my point...my wife felt bad that no one was coming over to watch the game so she brought out one of my birthday presents early - the latest edition of Bluff Magazine. My wife's cool...

Have a great weekend everyone! And don't forget to sign-up at Interpoker or TigerGaming. I can't guarantee that you'll make a fortune playing there, but seriously - you'll make a fortune playing there!

Ok, now get outta here you lazy buggers!


I'm a sucker for new bloggers starting out in the cold, hard world that is Internet poker. Although aware of poker for a while, his wife only let him start playing online in December. And as is usually the case, he's already winning a hell of a lot more than me.

So check out The Silent Four when you get a chance. I've only read the first entry (and commented on it thinking that it was the only entry...embarrassing...) but so far so good.


Just found another blogger that I'm gonna read. He's just starting out as well and has already won his first $10 SNG at PokerStars. That's right, another protégé! At least he agreed with me on some comments I made on another site, so he gets pimped! See how easy it is to impress me?

Anyway, his name is iamhoff and you can read all about his exploits over at The Randomness of Hoff.


iamhoff said...

Well hot damn. Thanks for the pimpage! I am finding that poker does mirror life. I'll defer to my little sister on the hockey correlation, as she's the big hockey fan (Avs and Preds, it's a long story). Either way, great post. Wish my gf was as understanding as your wife. "There's actually a magazine called Card Player?" Sigh. At least she has to work Saturday morning. Time to play! lol

Klopzi said...

Yep, my wife's cool about the whole poker thing. Given a choice between poker and videogames, she prefers the poker.

She could probably do without me staring off into space while analyzing a hand during dinner. And when I respond to her "I love you" with "Do you think I should've folded that AJ?", I'm sure she love nothing more than throwing my laptop out the window.

Just make sure to spend time with your girlfriend, she'll come to understand it. And if that fails, place third in a $500K guaranteed...

Alan said...

I've been doing the job search thing too. I feel like poker gave me the confidence to negotiate a better salary at the only offer I got at a company where I really want to be. It felt like a bluff because I probably would have taken the first offer, but they increased the offer by around 12% and even offered me a signing bonus. So now I'm off the job hunt.

Thanks for the link. I'm putting you up in my sidebar in a few days.

Oh, and my wife is cool about the poker thing too. She even plays. She's just nervous about me going off the deep end and losing all of our savings to poker.

Klopzi said...


Thanks for stopping by and I always appreciate the links. Job searching is tough and I'm glad that that part of my life is over for now (knock on wood).

Still, poker's a rough past-time as well (I'll write on Monday about two hands that busted me out of two NL ring games).

But having the support of a wife or girlfriend can really make the difference between being a break even player and a winning player. I also find that my wife is the voice of reason if I ever start to tilt.