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Know when to fold 'em?

Poker players are always complaining about getting unlucky. Though I've done my fair share of grumbling, the fact is that I run quite well at the cash game tables. If all the money goes in on the flop or turn and I'm well ahead of my opponent (say 70/30 or better), I tend to win and lose as dictated by the odds. The biggest problem that I face at the tables is my willingness to get it all-in with the worst of it. Time and time again, I throw my chips into the pot when the action clearly dictates that a fold is wise.

A good example came up yesterday. I was playing a little $20 PLO at Titan Poker. I played my hand very transparently and was totally owned. PokerEV tells me that I got every last penny of my $20 stack into the pot while behind. I was drawing dead after the flop and happily stacked off on the turn. Take a look at the hand for yourself but I warn you: it's pretty damned ugly. I'm just glad that I can fall back on the "I'm just learning" excuse on this one.

Titan Poker 0.20/0.40, hand converted by the iPoker Converter at Talking-Poker
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saw flop | saw showdown

Button Button ($18.00)
SB ($17.45)
BB BB ($10.00)
UTG Villain ($50.54)
UTG+1 ($20.10)
CO Hero ($20.00)

Preflop: , UTG calls 0.20, 1 fold, Hero calls 0.20, Button calls 0.20, 1 fold, BB checks.

Flop (0.90) A 4 A
BB checks, UTG bets 0.90, Hero calls 0.90, 2 folds.

(I've got the nut flush draw on a paired board and a backdoor straight draw. Not the best hand but I decide to go for it since Villain is pretty LAG.)

Turn (2.70) 3
UTG bets 2.00, Hero raises to 8.70, UTG raises to 28.80, Hero moves all-in for 10.20.

(I hit my flush but Villain does not seem afraid. I make a pot-sized raise and Villain instantly puts me all-in. How can I think I'm ahead here?)

River (52.40) 5

Villain shows 4 J A 9
Hero shows K T 7 Q

UTG wins 52.40 with A full house, Aces and Fours

That hand was ugly yesterday and it's just as ugly today. Brutal play on my part. In fact, much of my earlier play yesterday was punctuated by these gross lapses in judgement on my part. I played overly aggressive (for a micro-stakes game) without having enough familiarity with PLO to make the right calls in certain tricky spots.

I played a second PLO session at Full Tilt last night. I buckled down, tightened up my starting hand selection, and managed to come away with a win. I got lucky a few times but I think that will always be the case in PLO.

I've also started playing multi-tabling a couple tables of PLO. I gave myself 500 hands of single-table goodness before throwing in a second table. At around 50-75 hands an hour, one table is just too slow for me. I don't have the patience to sit around for 45 seconds waiting for my next hand.

I plan on playing some more PLO tonight. I've got about 1,000 hands of PLO under my belt and plan on moving up to $50 PLO once I've put together 5000 hands with a winning record (8 BB/100 or higher). I know 5000 hands isn't enough to get a real feel for my skill level but I'd like to move up quickly. I don't want to grind out hands at the micro-stakes any longer than necessary. I just don't see myself learning anything other than patience and nut-peddling at the $25 PLO games. Valuable lessons, to be sure, but just the tip of the iceberg on my way to PLO mediocrity.



Bonus: Here's a little video clip from Kenny Rogers' short-lived "Jackass"-style television show. Kenny knows when to hold 'em, fold 'em, and take a beating like a champ.





Have a good one!

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