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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Wasn't Feeling It
To play poker or to blog poker. That's gonna be one tough question, but I've at least got an answer for Mondays: blog. I've got pet theory (supported by statistically insignificant numbers from my poker log) that Monday is just not a good day for playing online poker, at least for me anyway. My feeling is that Monday is the worst day of the week and it gets better each day through Sunday, with Saturday evening and not-too-late Sunday evening being the best.

Tonight's blog may be pretty short tho. It's Passover, and we had quite the Seder this evening with friends and family. 4 glasses of wine are mandatory at these things--and I drank more than the minimum--but it's all the cooking and washing dishes that's really pooped me out. Good time tho.

Anyway, I had a lackluster weekend at the tables which I'll just briefly summarize. On Saturday I lost my $50 buy-in at Paradise Poker. Doh! I am actually less upset about the actual loss than I am about the fact that one of my first blog entries will be on a loss. Oh well, I shall try and make this post interesting anyway.

The fact that I lost is not important. I must try to understand, Zen Master-like, why I lost.

First: Cold cards and Old Man Variance. They always get some of the blame.

Second: I've been away from the tables for a while and was not feeling as confident as a I should have been. Not that I was expecting to lose, but I didn't have that I'm gonna own this table kind of confidence (that's the kind you want cause it really is the best).

Finally and I think most importantly, I was unfocused. By this I mean not just that I was checking my e-mail, reading poker blogs, etc., while playing--I was doing those things, but I believe you can get away with that some of the time if you are really focused--but that I just wasn't truly concentrating on beating the game. Since I did read so many poker blogs this weekend, I might as well quote one of them since it captures what I'm talking about pretty well. From The Cards Speak:
The more poker I play, the more I believe that the winning poker player is defined by his ability to see patterns. The "feel" for the game comes from absorbing (on both a conscious and subconscious level) the connection of the board cards and the series of checks, calls, and raises.
The Cards Speak also has a cool quote from Gary Carson's book:
A tight game is a struggle for the antes.
An aggressive game is a game of strategy and deception.
A passive game is a game of money flows from the bad players to the good players.
A loose game is a game of money and odds.
I absolutely agree with the first quote, and second quote strikes me as insightful enough to make want to read Carson's book.

When you're surfing the Web or watching TV or whatever, you're not getting a good feel for the table you're at. Now, I've read other bloggers and RGP posters who say that playing the low limits online is "automatic"--that you can stop caring about what other individual players do and just play the cards. I think this is also kinda true--at the lower limits you can ignore individual opponents and mostly just play the cards. But even at low limits you've got to have a feel for what kind of table you're at. When I was really in "the zone" at Party Poker (basically summer 2003), I didn't need to pay attention to what happened when I didn't have a playable hand. Nope, I'd just "ram and jam" my sets and the flush draws (although I didn't really know the term "ram and jam" then), and not get too attached to flops where I only hit high pair, etc., because most of the tables at Party had a similarly crazy, loose feel. I lost my first $50 buy-in at Party, because I didn't know how to play loose games, but then I won it back and then some.

Paradise Poker was always the opposite. Very tight tables, even at .50/$1. So tight I always fancied that I was getting a taste of what higher limits must be like at other sites. If you just waited for the nuts, you'd lose to the blinds, and players would fold to you when they did bet, cause they were taking notes on your tightness. You had to bet top pair and the like much harder, and bluff more when you had good hole cards and the flop mostly missed you. At Paradise it paid to study and take notes on your opponents, and when you won you felt like you had beaten them and not just played the cards and odds right. So even though Paradise Poker has always been less profitable for me, I enjoy playing there. (I also really like their software, and--Parrothead that I am--their theme.)

But this was back in spring and summer 2003. I haven't played much at Paradise for the last 3 months. When I played (infrequently) during the winter, I really felt like Paradise had loosened up a bit. The .50/$1 tables now have players-seeing-flops percentages in the 40s and even 50s, whereas before it was low-40s, 30s, and even high 20s.

My point? I currently don't have a good feel for what the Paradise .50/$1 games are like. Hence I should have played tighter and paid more attention until I got a good feel for the game. Instead, on Saturday, I woke up early, played badly in the $1 9am multi-table tourney (again, love their software, and I've been enjoying getting cheap NL tourney experience lately), then quit for breakfast. Then around 2pm I sat down to play some ring games, and was faced with the choice between Paradise and Absolute Poker, since those are the only two sites I have money at right now. My not-so-rational fondness for Paradise got the better of me as I not-so-rationalized "Well, Saturday is the best day of the week for me if I want to tackle the ring games at Paradise."

Okay, enough about losing. Saturday night and Sunday I played at Absolute and stuck mostly to .25./.50. Not braving the .50/$1 was somewhat wussy of me, but I knew I was coming off a loss and thus in the Tilt Danger Zone. I initially went up $22 (hey, that's 44 big bets), then gave about half that back. Also played in a $5 + .50 SnG and got second place, bit then lost two in a row. So a slightly positive Sunday but an overall losing weekend.

One final note. The Cards Speak is a great blog, but he's got a completely different take on Monday nights than I do:
I suspect Monday night is the biggest PartyPoker night (43K players tonight) because all of the B&M players get home from work too late to get out, so Party is their best option. If I played for a living, I would make sure to max out my hours on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights. Remember that "Monday night is PartyPoker night" and your bankroll will thank you.
I think my next buy-in will be at Party Poker. Also I'll put some money back in Paradise sooner or later because those $1 daily tourneys really are fun. But I'm think gonna try to double the money I have at Absolute first.

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