07 March 2006

Playing Angry

Had a great, long work day yesterday, clicking on all cylinders. Crank, crank, crank until around 10:00 last night. Closed a small new project with a previous client, finished a big proposal for more China work, and made some big moves on all the work we have going on. Was donking around a bit playing my new $0.25/0.50 stud on FullTilt when the server crashed. I was up $2.35 or so. Have jumped back this morning into a full LHE game on FullTilt, trying to decompress a bit before the day.

I have an unusual occurrence that happens sometimes. It is a bit weird as to the cause and what happens next. It is a form of tilt that I'll call playing angry. Here is an example of how it happens: I'm in a bit of a stuck position (maybe down 10 bb's or something), I decide to mix it up and raise with 22 UTG and get two callers. The flop comes AK9 rainbow, the bb bets, I fold, and there is a call. A deuce comes on the turn, and I writhe like Joe Cocker! winner flips over AJ at the end. Now this is a strange form of tilt, not from the donkey suckout, not from the bad read, more from a lack of commitment, my own stupid play, or frustration. I then proceed to derail for a period of time (mainly online--never happens live). I loosen up significantly, chase, pay off hands. I'm an angry man. Of course, my sweet flops generally get taken down during this time (just cracked aces twice only to get four-flushed on the river and counterfeited when the board runner-runner paired).

Why online does this happen more than live? First, I normally would get up and take a walk live, which I will never ever do online. I don't think the situation occurs more frequently online (as I'll throw in the mix-it-up play live as well), but I have more of these because of playing more online. Also, it still is much easier to move my thumb and index finger to make a bet or fold than it is to count out chips and toss them in front of you. It also always seems like I zig when I should zag, I fold the marginal A trying to stop my anger, then A7 hits the board and 99 takes the pot. Or I play my AQ hard all the way, only to lose to 34 with bottom pair or AKo. How do you get out of it? Does this happen to you? Normally my VP$IP is leaking toward the 35% range during this, so getting much more solid helps. But I'd be interested if you're ever confronted with this. Final result before work: -$3.00 ($2/4 on FullTilt) over 118 hands, fighting back from down $100 playing angry.

Lots of folks seem to be on a downward slide, taking breaks. Because I'm a Closet player (meaning I don't get to play much as it is discouraged by my wife), I'm probably an expert on breaks.
  • Poker simulators. This is a broken record, but again I would encourage folks to jump on the simulator bandwagon, either using Wilson Turbo or Poker Academy. My brother is a Poker Acedemy zealot. Mixing in simulation work to focus on specific parts of your game, I guarantee you, is well worth it.
  • Take off the software. This may seem drastic, but when you definitely need to get away from poker, having the software on your computer (any computers) is like having ice cream in the fridge (or fill in your analogy). All I know is that I've snuck to the family computer in the middle of the night to jump on Party when I had taken it off of my laptop before.
  • Documentation. Set new goals, new boundaries. How many hours a week were you playing? Have your goals been results related (winning $700 this month), or have your goals been process oriented (to improve my early position play, to play marginal hands better in mid-levels of MTT's). This I'm not very good at, but I should be much better at this.
  • Change of scenery. When you do decide to jump back in, mix it up. Change your environment is another thing that helps me. As I'm constantly playing in different places (hotels, office, home, airports), sometimes getting in a different environment will break the mold a bit.
  • Set a new challenge. I've gotten a lot of pleasure building my bankroll at FullTilt back up from almost going broke on it. To do this, I had to drop way down in limit. It might be playing a certain number SNG's with a hard target. You figure it out, but again it can get you out of your comfort zone and can get you re-enthused.
  • A new game. I really have enjoyed my recent stud play, and I think it's been a nice change of pace. For sure it's been better during times I've wanted to play literally fifteen or twenty minutes. It's different, I don't really know what I'm doing, I do stupid stuff (like calling playing H/L when my hand doesn't qualify for the low--what does qualify actually?), I'm sometimes not very sure if I'm ahead or not and sometimes I'm quite sure. Will it make me a better player? I guess so.
  • Railbird with a partner. Buddy up and watch someone play, the debrief. I almost never do this, but I have done this with my brother after SNG's (he wasn't watching though). This can put your poker knowledge to work and help your game. In other parts of my life, I learn more when I'm teaching or instructing, so I'm sure it's the same with poker.
So for scurvy, wes, and other great blogger/players that I respect a ton who are taking a break: here's to using the break wisely and coming back with a vengence. You both have helped my spirits and my game alot, and I appreciate your wisdom and experience.


Blogger cmitch said...

Sometimes just a day or two without poker gives me a fresh perspective on my game. I always seem to be more focused and play a lot better when I come back.

10:33 AM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

I definitely agree with the 2 day break thing..

Anyway, Hitting your monsters after you fold may be the worse kind of anger/tilt that I go through.. or should I say the most dangerous.. because as you say, it opens/loosens up your game and most of the time you don't even realize that you are doing it until it is too late.

10:51 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

Great ideas there at the end.

And why does that scenario with the 2's only happen when things are going bad??!! Damn the man.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

H/L games on the net are 8 or better qualifers.

(example: 8,7,6,5,4 is the worst low qualifer)

4:32 PM  
Blogger cc said...

No wonder I keep losing with the low--I thought you added all the numbers up (AAA22 is no good?)

5:29 PM  

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