My biggest flaws

Posted: April 19, 2009 in life, poker

Last night I had my first losing session out of the past 15 and it was a doozy. From the outside looking in I played fine just got in some bad spots. Alex actually witnessed me losing an 11k pot(to date the largest pot I’ve ever lost) which he thought to be a fold pre but standard as played…

When I lose I reflect. I looked back at my session and to the everyday player it just looked like a standard night where the deck was against me. It’s easy to say well I had to lose eventually, it was out of my hands, and those situations were “standard” but that approach is 50% of my biggest flaw in life and poker specifically…excusing failure. We all do it, it keeps us sane. However, in no way shape or form is it beneficial to our game, psyche, or competitive drive. I’ve proven to myself that I’m the best player in that game day in and day out and for me to lose and lose big means there was a fundamental flaw in my game. I didn’t get cooled off, luck had nothing to do w/it. I flat-out made poor decision after poor decision and I feel sick about it. To be honest I’m actually happy about it, it’s bringing me to a point I don’t think I’ve been before. A point where I’m ready to succeed…

Success is something I’ve always been privy to. I was a natural student, and a workaholic on the athletic field. I’ve never been one to succumb to defeat. Basically I’m generally good at anything I do, never great though. I’ve recently realized that I’ve never been one to accept the highest level of success. It’s like I’ve feared what would happen if my aspirations actually came true so I get close and self destruct. It’s happened time and time again in baseball; my freshman year of college I was cut, I transferred from DIII to DII and after an offseason of killing myself earned a spot in the starting rotation only to go 0-6 and lose that spot by season’s end. So the following offseason I busted my ass harder, hard enough to be voted captain by my peers, hard enough to get back in as a starter, hard enough to go 5-2, not hard enough to stay injury free. Almost as if I create hurdles for myself in order to keep me motivated, but to hold me back at the same time. It’s happened to me in school, with girls I’m interested in, and tho I haven’t realized it til now it sums up my poker career…2 steps forward, 1 step back

I’m such a backward unit, most people fear the worst and the caution they use to avoid the worst case usually holds them back. I’ve never feared failing, I’ve never worried about going broke despite the countless times I’ve had my entire bankroll on the table, I’ve never worried my starting pitching job would be in jeopardy despite the times where i may have been close, I’ve never feared failing a test despite the countless times I showed up unprepared…those are situations I EXCEL in. It’s the 6-figure score, throwing for scouts, getting the girl that i’ve already convinced myself was out of my league…those are the situations where I shut down. I have spent the last week not thrilled that I haven’t lost in over a month but instead attempting to determine how/when I would lose next and how devastating it would be. I’m hell-bent to change my ways and achieve what I believe I am capable of. It may be too late for me to make the pros or to graduate w/honors but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be just another grinder. End result, it’s time to break out and reap the benefits of all the off the table work I’ve put in…

*Highlight the blank space for the hand history of my $11k pot*
An active player opens to $80 gets called by the c/o and button, I defend from the sb w/Q7h. Flop 7s 4h 3h. Checks to c/o who bets $$240. I raise to $700. He flats. Turn 2h. I lead for $680. He raises to $1680. I flat w/4k behind. River Js. I check, he tank shoves. I call, he shows AKh.

Now Alex’s critique is that because of reverse implied odds(i.e. the exact situation that happened, along w/the fact that it’s tough to make a hand to stack someone w/Q7s I should fold pre, but post flop was fine. I disagree. Online, sure everything he said is true, but only because the skill levels are even across the board. Live people make mistakes, and big ones. Calling pre IMO is fine, Ch/R flop is fine. Not following my read is terrible. This is a 50-year-old man who puts his hand on his forehead. When he raises the turn I’m beat. But even worse is that when I flat the 1k I do so knowing that he’ll NEVER bet the river w/o the nuts. So w/4k behind the river is an easy fold. Me being stuck was too large of a factor in my call. Now if say that’s Alex on the other end, then ya I fold pre but as played I’m fine w/it cuz he’s a good player who will be value betting/bluffing way worse.

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