My game then vs. now continued…

After badly beaten by the 2-7offsuit early position in public (read: I was hammered for birthday week, starting early, drinking often), I am back to writing poker. Today’s post will be a continuation bet post of the poker reflections post from a few days ago, where I discussed how my poker game has come along. Today I will be tying in my thoughts, my “game” and my approach today to how it was one year ago.

As mentioned, one year ago, I was donking (donk-ing, not Don King) out on the .10/.25 no limit tables. To continue with the boxing analogy, I was more Tyson-like on the tables, a brawler looking to land the “Irish Tommy Conklin” overhand right, as seen in the classic movie “The Great White Hype.” I would mindlessly wait and wait all day for “my flop” and throw the knockout punch.

Today, I am primarily a limit player, more of a boxer as opposed to a brawler. Don’t get me wrong, I still throw the overhand right (actually, I am a southpaw, but I am keeping true to both the movie and the boxing theme), however, I do not rely on delivering one successful knock out blow. I guess as a brawler ages, if he does not possess the foot skills and a fundamentally sound artillery, he is more likely to bow out earlier than if he can mix it up, stick and move. Sharky helped me to realize such a thing. I recently adjusted my game further, as I had been playing strictly shorthanded limit. I recently moved to a full table and still adjusting a bit.

I slightly suspect that the game I play will be more effective at a full table than at the short tables, despite having more opposition. Time will tell, however. I can say that on a full table, I am not seeing nearly as many flops as on the short table; however, my hand selection tends to hold up better at full tables than it does at short tables for some reason.

Additionally, I will not sit at just any table. I do not care if I have all my bankroll at one poker room, if the table is not to my liking and within my bankroll, I will not sit down period. If the table is too aggressive preflop, I am not inclined to sit down. If the saw flop percentage is higher than I am comfortable with, I will not take a seat. If there is a known monster (as defined by my pokertracker database), I am “off like a prom dress.” I have a list of things I like to see at a poker table. If not all of the criteria are present, I will not sit. Additionally, if I am being outplayed I am not ashamed to admit it and will simply seek out new “tablage.”

As for poker tournaments, I still play tourneys somewhat regularly. My knowledge base on tournament play has increased exponentially thanks to the Harrington series. I find myself selective as to in which online poker tournaments I will participate. I DO NOT, repeat… I DO NOT play in “open to the public” freerolls. The only thing that can make one’s game worse than playing these public freerolls is to play for play chips. I am trying to make my game better, as opposed to worse. That being said, I steer clear of freerolls.

Closed community freeroll poker tournaments, such as through the Blogger Poker Tour, CheckRayz Poker Tour, and the Shark Poker Tour are ok and I will play them. However, I prefer to play in the poker tournaments where people on the poker tables have something vested in their play. CheckRayz, Shark Tour, and BPT (to an extent) do. Sure, some people out there are in it merely for the free ride, trying to milk all things free dry. But many of the peeps (at CheckRayz) play for the Leaderboard points, or to get the global invitational invite via the shark tour. The BPT peeps are playing with their virtual reputations on the line, as we are all able to find out a little something about each and every one of the players participating via their blogs. Thus, there is a slight increase in the level of play, and an in general increase in hand selection, strategy and the like.

When not playing private tournaments, I generally seek out the overlay (more $$$ in the prize pool than entries). I want the smallest field possible and more money in the pot to win. I occasionally dabble in multi-table sit n gos, but only to change things up.

My “tournament game” is simple, though not transparent. If you read Harrington’s books, you know exactly how I play. I am not a cheap date, I smartly pick my spots and move as the table, blinds and chip stack dictates. I do not play to cash, I play to win. I would rather bust out on the bubble than to finish just in the money because I played weak. Do not expect me to be one of “those people” who will lay down 10-10 because he is afraid of being called/reraise on the bubble. I am trying to win this thing. $28.50 in 60th place does nothing for me. $1600 and first place, however, does. That is what I am playing for. If you are playing for the same prize, you might stand a chance. If you are playing just to cash, I am going to walk all over you when I switch to endgame mode.

I have more live game experience. As stated, I did not play my first live tournament until July-ish of last year. I won, though in donk-like fashion. I still have no chip skills, though I am aware that I can no longer pull the semi-string bet tactic. I still have issues counting the pot, counting my chips, and making my spoken raises match the amount of chips I am pushing out. I routinely attempt to count the pot, guest mate the stacks of everyone left to act, and calculate my own M, all before looking at my cards. People are aware of these counting difficulties (the people I play with regularly) and will often move to chap my ass by raising an odd number (2.3 times the blinds for example). Sometimes I have a decent hand, but my mind “disconnects” because its not computing and I will fold out of frustration, even though a call or reraise is most likely correct. I am working on these issues by trying to slow my mind down. I suspect that my mind races, and thus I become careless. Not only does it race, but also I have historically processed multiple things at once, which deems the age old question, “Mike honey, what are you thinking about?” pretty much invalid. I could spend all days elaborating on the THINGS I am thinking on. Rarely, if ever, is it one thing. Obviously, I lack the ability to focus.

Speaking of focus, I generally engage in “controlled distractions” such as talking poker strategy with a friend on messenger while playing. This at least keeps me on topic. If I do not “seek out” a controlled distraction, I end up reading about what happened on Raw Monday night or the transfer speculation from the British Tabloids. When playing poker, I need to concentrate solely on poker, as I am doing now (playing a $10 45 person sit n go on stars while writing this entry).

Obviously, my outlook on what a blog is has changed significantly. I (obviously) keep a blog of my own, avoiding the “90% of the time” and the “poor me” commentary. I attempt to communicate my thoughts, share stories and bring value to my readers. I read other people’s blogs who offer quality content of value along the same lines. I “rarely” drift off topic (poker) unless it somehow will tie in with the poker world as I see and experience it.

I no longer avoid “pokertracker compliant” poker rooms, and instead pretty much only play in rooms where I may utilize the features of pokertracker to help me in my game. I believe in the statistics and welcome the help the program has to offer.

I do not whine about “bad beats.” Thanks to Felicia, I no longer believe in the concept of bad beats and my play is not affected when someone draws on me. I believe in bad play, and will sometimes become frustrated with myself when said donk outdraws and I played it incorrectly. Instead of bitching and whining though, I try to learn from every one of my mistakes. Such a mindset makes me stronger.

I know far more about the game of poker today than I did one year ago. However, I also know that I do not know all there is to know about the game. I am constantly attempting to understand, to better myself and to share my insight with friends along the way.