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A Slight Burning Sensation

With many poker bloggers claiming to have lost money last year, many of these same bloggers are showing a lack of interest in poker for the New Year. I've experienced poker apathy on many occasions and I feel for my fallen brethren. Although I have no doubt that many will bounce back, only time will tell to see if 2008 can bring poker back into the spotlight as an entertaining and profitable hobby.

As promised, I've been playing poker somewhat regularly. In fact, I even played yesterday when I was sick at home. And though I've proven time and time again that I can't play all that well when I'm feeling under-the-weather, I plowed through a short session that saw me losing a full buy-in at the $100 NL tables and almost cost me the use of my laptop.

Although I'll discuss yesterday's hands in full detail in an upcoming Session Review post, here is a quick summary of the hands that cost me some of my much-needed bankroll:

  • I attempt to steal from the button with my K9s but the big blind defends. The big blind is a tight, solid player so I decide to keep the pot small by letting my opponent bet for me. A small turn and river bet sees me losing to my opponent's KJ.
  • Against the very same tight opponent, I decide to push all-in with my AK when Tighty three-bets me from the SB. He shows KK and takes down the pot and I'm left to contemplate my error in judging my opponent's hand range after three-betting out of position.
  • On another table, I get into a heads-up raised pot with my pocket nines. I decide to check-raise all-in on the flop when it comes J T 8. They say "think long, think wrong", which is exactly what my opponent did before calling off an additional $50 with only a straight draw (KQ). I hit my set on the river, he hits his straight, and my opponent takes my stack. Damn...

Honestly, most of the hands I played were pretty standard...other than the AK hand. I saw myself in a raise or fold situation but, upon further analysis, I realize that a call could have worked quite well. Given my tight opponent's nature, I could have easily stolen the pot on the flop given any number of possible three card combinations. Mind you, a steal won't work when my opponent is holding Cowboys but that's neither her nor there. I'm only looking at making the right plays regardless of the end result.

As for my laptop, it shut off unexpectedly shortly after losing the 99 vs. KQ hand above. I turned it back on and it shut itself off almost immediately. I can afford a new laptop for poker if needed, but I wasn't prepared to hand over half of my effective bankroll for another laptop without a fight.

I searched my mind for answers and came up with no easy solutions. It was then that my wife reminded me of the time my laptop had shut down quite unexpectedly after I'd inadvertently blocked my laptop's air exhaust vents. Like most computers, my laptop will shut down as soon as the CPU temperature reaches its breaking point - that's 65°C in my case.

I checked the vents on the bottom of the laptop and confirmed that the air exhausts hadn't been blocked while I was playing yesterday. However, I had set up my laptop to run in silent mode to avoid having to listen to the constant hum of the dual fans running at top speed.

Right before putting my oldest son to bed, I brought the laptop to the basement. Using a can of compressed air, I cleared all vents and ports of dust and made sure that both fans on the underside of the laptop were clean and clear of all debris. I then turned the laptop on and immediately set my laptop to run in "Max Performance" mode.

I can now say that my laptop is now running well once again. Sure, the fans are loud enough to wake my kids from their slumber but at least Daddy can make a little extra money on the side again. I'm glad that my wife was able to quickly diagnose the problem with my laptop; otherwise, I would have visited Best Buy after work tonight in order to buy a new and expensive notebook computer.

Although I'm really enjoying playing Mass Effect on my Xbox 360, I hope to get a little poker in tonight. I've got to work off the deficit that I incurred yesterday and there's only one way to do that: on the virtual felt.

I'll be back tomorrow with another session review. And for those of you out there burned out on poker and looking to give up, take some time away from the game and we'll hopefully see you back playing and blogging soon.

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