Online Poker at Full Tilt Poker
Play poker at the only online poker room designed by the world’s best players.
Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Killer Instinct
So I haven't played any poker for a week or so. Last weekend my family flew into town for a weekend visit, and B and I showed them around the currently frozen, but still fun, city of Minnefabulous. (It was their first time out here.) Then I had an extraordinarily busy week at work, which has left me a little drained and tired of looking at computer screens, so no online poker.

I had planned to get down to the Canterbury today, but I'm just not feeling it. I know my poker-playing self well enough by now to know that I have to be completely in the right frame of mind in to play well. The way I recognize this frame of mind is that when I contemplate playing (either sitting down to play at the computer or heading down to the Canterbury), I am filled with anticipation, touched with a little bit of testosterone and/or adrenalin. Basically, I feel like I am ready to kick some ass. I'm psyched to play. Not screaming and bashing-my-locker-in psyched, but filled with confidence and contained energy. I have the killer instinct.

I imagine that many good poker players have the killer instinct all or most of the time. I do not. I want to kick ass at poker a good portion of the time, but there are also plenty of days where I want to get out of competitive mode and do "normal" stuff like shooting the breeze with friends or family, staying home and veg-ing on the couch, getting out and enjoying nature, etc. Today is pretty much one of those days, even though part of me wants to head down to Canterbury tonight.

I also imagine that many good poker players don't need to get as psyched up as I do just to take a few pots off of bad players. That is, maybe they don't really have the killer instinct all the time, but they're able to grind it out well enough that bringing their B or C game against certain types of players is pretty much always +EV. I think this is how many players approach the online game a lot of the time. But if I am not truly psyched to play, I will not focus well. I'll get impatient and I'll play crap hands. I'll get distracted by TV or (when playing online) the Internet. Or if I'm feeling lethargic, I'll play too tight and ABC-ish, hoping to just get good cards and not paying attention to my opponents. (I've made money playing just the cards, but it's not very much fun and it isn't improving my game.) Finally, without the killer instinct, it's harder for to stay off tilt. When I'm in the right frame of mind, losing a big pot just makes me more focused. But when I don't have the killer instinct, I become tempted to engage in self-pity (whining about luck) or slip into turtling or maniacal modes of play.

So I don't want to sit in front of the computer today, and I'm not really in the right frame of mind to tackle the Canterbury. And yet I kinda want to play some poker. But what kind of poker should one play when lacking the killer instinct? Then it hit me: I miss my home game in New England. Playing with friends and having a blast whether you win or lose. Being competitive but also enjoying real comraderie. My buddy K and I had a bit of that when we'd player together at the Canterbury or in a free bar tourney, but (I don't think I've mentioned this) K moved back to his home town of Detroit a couple months ago :-(

Well, I'm sure I'll get the killer instinct back soon enough. And if any of the UG or Providence home game crowd is reading this, play a few hands of Badugi for me!

I "hosted" a large home game on Friday and its definitely takes the sting away from my recent variance swings.
Hey JD man, we miss you too. Or rather, we miss B, and I guess you're ok also...

Tell you what. I'll live-straddle in your honour this saturday at the SSP game.
Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger Listed on 
BlogShares Who Links Here