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Still Learning

It's amazing that I'm still so clueless about poker after all of these years. After four years of playing poker on a semi-regular basis and reading a ton of books on most forms of poker, I still have great difficulty with the game. I've tried to break into the mid-to-upper echelons of poker society but have been unable to post a winning record when I most needed it.

I don't think I'm alone. I won't make excuses for my lack of outstanding results in poker. But I will say that having a family, two young kids, a job, and other hobbies make it very hard to succeed at poker. I've had great difficulty accepting this hard truth. I'd hate to settle at being an average poker player when I've managed to succeed in most other areas of my life. I guess that's why poker will continue to fascinate me (and piss me off) for years to come.

Last night, I decided to play some 6-max limit hold'em. I tried my my hand at these games in the past and didn't do too well. Of course, I played very few hands and promptly gave up once I realized that I might have to work on my game to get good at it. I find it very hard to accept losses in the name of education. If at first I don't succeed, I tend to give up. That's why I've dabbled in many different forms of poker and have failed at all of them save for limited success in short-handed no-limit hold'em, $5 buy-in sit-n-gos, and full-ring limit hold'em games.

In the games I played last night (at Titan Poker and Party Poker), I found my opponents to be either mediocre or bad. I still lost a few BBs but I came away with a few important lessons that I hope to remember in the future:

  1. Top pair is pretty well the nuts in 6-max limit hold'em - especially heads-up on the flop.

  2. When an opponent 3-bets you on the turn, top pair is probably not good.

  3. River check-raises are bad news and are probably not bluffs.

I paid off many of my opponents' great hands on the river. I think that's the nature of the beast in 6-max limit hold'em. But I'm sure that I could have saved myself a few big bets by folding a little earlier in those hands before pot odds left me with few options. I did lay down top pair on the river in one hand when the action clearly demonstrated that my hand was no good.

I'll learn to handle the 6-max LHE games in time. As I said yesterday, I'd like to move up from the $0.50/$1 games once I'm comfortable with my game. The rake is a little extreme at the micro-stakes short-handed tables and I'd like to have a little money to show for my time spent playing poker. I just hope that I have the patience to keep paying for my poker education until things start to click. If all else fails, I'll start playing at a site where I can pick up a little rakeback to keep me afloat.

Have a good one!


Anonymous said...

"But I will say that having a family, two young kids, a job, and other hobbies make it very hard to succeed at poker"

This is me all over mate, I should be crushing bt I can never get a time where I can put in a ton of volume, not need my bankroll for house stuff or not care about losing $500 in a session I could have used to treat the kids.

FML I think

Klopzi said...

Yorkshire -

Given the choice between having my family or being great at poker, it's not even close.

Families are +EV in terms of overall life happiness. That's not something that can be said about poker.

joxum said...

you got that one right, Klopzi!