Oops was meant to write this everyday

The reason I started a blog was to exercise writing everyday – or at least three or four times a week.  Like the gym I must keep it up.

Tom organised a works trip to Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham where fifteen of us slipped on wetsuits and went white water rafting.  To be honest it was a bit tame – no great speed or danger – but we had a jolly good time.  Its just good to do something with a group of people that involves healthy activity.

Tired, the time rolled forward.  Very quickly it was eight’o’clock and I registered for the tournament at Circus Casino in the Cornerhouse.  My God, thank God, there are still plenty of bad poker players out there.  This tournament, like several I’ve played recently, was really encouraging because I actually displayed most of the patience, discipline and forward thinking I want to use in every hand of poker. 

The last time I played live was a watershed result, but in the few weeks that have gone by since that win I’ve been working on my cash poker and had a very tough time with it.  Tournaments are easier.  Reviewing my recent tournament play i find less and less mistakes – this is as it should be.  When blinds are high its possible to go long periods playing a perfect strategy, based on your cards, your position, your assumptions about your opponents’ calling propensities and the stack sizes.  Often the perfect strategy means not playing for 25 minutes.  Being not mindful of the perfect strategy you will naturally deviate from it – you’re supposed to be playing poker, and you haven’t played a hand for 20 minutes.  Are you puzzled when your instincts compel you to raise?

So it feels good to play well, knowing that I haven’t really f*cked up that many times, If the hands we played could be played again I’d do one or two things differently, if we play again i’m quietly confident that my number remains bigger than yours.  What does that mean?  Look at forty people sat down at the start of a poker tournament.  They all have different levels of skill.  Start with one hundred percent, divide it by forty and adjust up or down for skill.  Thats their number.  And the difference between mine and yours is a lot less than one percent.

The results haven’t caught up yet.  The result of the tournament I played tonight was no score.  But the result of any given tournament is irrelevant.  I feel I have a great handle on the value of my cards relative to position and stack sizes, and I’ve stopped raising for the wrong reasons.  Now add to that a curtailing of my bluffing ways, and some funky fresh hand analysis much practiced during my weeks learning how to play cash games, and now can I say it? I’ve got game.

So the blinds are 500/1000 I’ve got 6500.  Eight players.  Folded to me on the button.  The small blind will be all in as he has only 100 remaining after he posts.  The big blind has about 9000.  I pretend to look at my cards before I shove all my chips in, and the big blind cannot believe it when I flip over T3.  He continues to shake his head during the next hand ‘I can’t understand it’.  And as this is live poker with real human people I think about asking him if he’s got a pen and paper and ten minutes to spare – partly because I would actually like to discuss it with him and partly as a sarcastic comeback, to defend my pricked pride BECAUSE I’M RIGHT AND HE IS WRONG, the brow of the face inside is creased and the corners of the mouth turned down… but the outside face is not so.  And speaking of faces, I note that a good player at the table picks up strength in my body language whenever I move with a good hand, the body language relaxed because I’m happy for another to call my bet, and I think ‘wouldn’t it be better to worry about that rather than worrying about the guy who thinks you’re a jerk for betting with T3’ and I travel on along the learning curve, which is a lot less steep now than it was, but requires much time and application to roll on, and which should not be mentioned in the same room as the curve of your results, which is up and down and wild, where the learning curve is smooth.


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