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Staying Afloat

After losing the last of my free $10 bonus at Party Poker, I moved back over to Full Tilt's $100 NLHE 6-max tables. I only managed to play a short session of about an hour over the weekend. I ended up down about twenty bucks but it could have been much more.

There are two ways of making money while playing poker: getting good value when ahead and folding hands when solidly beat. Over the past year, I've forgotten the second part of this equation. Far too often I find myself justifying calling a big bet with a relatively marginal holding. It's one thing to make a hero call or a risky river bluff when you've got a good read on your opponent: it's quite another thing to make these plays against unknowns.

I tend to pigeon-hole my opponents too quickly. While I feel that I tend to nail my opponents' playing styles pretty well, I don't give my opponents any credit for adjusting their default playing style to my current tight or loose table image. A tricky player may not be quite as tricky against a tight unknown opponent without reason or without cards.

I'm going to continue working on playing ABC poker. Bet when I'm ahead, fold when I'm behind, and throw in a few plays here and there to keep my opponents guessing. I'll also force myself to play aggressively until I've seen my opponents adjust to my game. For example, if my opponents are happy to fold to 80% of c-bets, why would I not c-bet every flop? I can't worry about getting check-raised off my hand until I've seen it happen a few times.

My poker education is still an ongoing process with no end in site. My game was horribly broken after I hit a super hot-streak and subsequent downswing in early 2008. I'm still in the process of getting my game back to the point where I feel confident sitting down at the tables every night. If I can turn things around and start winning, I'll probably start playing more poker. More poker means better play. And better play could finally see me start to play in some of the mid-stakes games.

I'm still planning on taking shots at the $200 NLHE games whenever possible. I may even record those sessions for review or for posting to this site. I'm hoping to hit a hot-streak at the higher limit table and never look back. But I guess that's what most donkeys hope for: play big, get lucky, and get rich.

I don't care much about getting rich. I just want to prove to myself that I haven't wasted the last five years of my life focusing on a game that I had no chance of beating. Only time will tell. We'll see how I do this week and go from there.

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