Quest to Winning Poker (Part 6)

Lack of Discipline

Well, things started well, gaining a $10 profit on the first of the month. However, I’ve lost $50 since then. It was a combination of factors, including playing a little too high, going on tilt a little bit, and in general not playing great, although I have hit a couple bad beats along the way also.

Adjusting the Plan

One thing that affected my play was playing different types of tournaments and perhaps playing too much (as opposed to studying my game along with playing). I played MTT’s, STT’s, Heads-up tournaments, and cash games. I think each of these require a different mindset, and I think switching back and forth between them made it hard to play optimally.

So for the rest of the month, I’m going to play only single table tournaments (STT’s) until my bankroll is up to a point where I can take a shot at something different. My goal is to play 100 STT’s without playing another type of game. This may seem a little extreme, but I think the challenge will be fun and will help me develop a proficiency at the game that will serve me well in the future. I start tomorrow.

Bad Beats

One thing I need to do is learn to deal with bad beats emotionally. Here is a hand that happened in a tournament yesterday. I got pocket deuces and called pre-flop. The flop came 2AA – I flopped a full house! I checked from middle position and the button bet about two thirds of the pot. The big blind called and I called too. The turn was an 8, with two of one suit on board. The big blind bet the pot. I believe one of both of my opponents have an ace but now I’m just hoping none of them hit the full house or that the board doesn’t pair. I raised three times my opponent’s bet and the button called. The big blind folded. The river was a 5, which probably didn’t help anyone. My opponent bet the pot and I reraised all-in. My opponent turned over A8, hitting the full house on the turn and crippling me.

In retrospect, I probably should have been more careful and perhaps just called the river bet and stemmed my losses. I busted out a couple hands later, finishing deep in a MTT. The key lesson here is handling the bad beat. I played overaggressively after this hand and called what I thought was a bluff where my opponent had the nuts on the hand I busted out on. This is something I will need to work on.

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