Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's not always about how much you win...

But sometimes, it's about how much you don't lose.

Winning big pots are always exciting. But sometimes in poker, it's not all about how much you win but also about how much you don't lose. I've always felt that Don had good, solid reads on people and I got to witness one of the finest plays and one that HAD to shock the guys playing at the level that we were playing.

We were playing at a juicy 1-2NL table that played like a 2-5. $20 preflop raises would see 5 callers+. 7 limpers, raise to $25. Call x 7. Craziness. On one hand, bunch of people see a K-K-Q flop and Don bets out. One guy who floats almost every flop... actually, not almost. Every flop, and catches a lot of things calls (I guess if he's catching, technically, it's not floating). It's heads up going in to the turn and the turn comes a 9. There's another bet by Don, and the guy goes all in. Don tanks for a few minutes. It looks painful so I know he's got a K but probably a weak kicker. The villain in this hand was always calling down with hands like top pair so his shove was indicative of extreme strength since his play up to that point was very weak passive. Knowing that, Don eventually folded, showing his K. The guy flips over 99 for a turned boat. Everyone at the table except for me were shocked with Don's fold.

At this point, obviously, Don was getting irritated. I mean it's hard to not get anything and fold for 5 hours, you finally see a monster hand and you have to fold. When you are reading this, you think to yourself, oh, well if the other guy never bets unless he's got a monster, it's an easy fold. However, it's so different if you've sat there, invested a lot of time, waiting for that one monster... it's almost like you find ways to talk yourself into calling. But Don showed great discipline. As he started looking irritated, I reminded him that 95% of the players there pay off the other guy and that money not lost is the same as money won. I don't know if me talking to him had anything to do with it (I'd like to think that maybe it helped a little) but probably a combination of my pep talk and his great discipline, he managed to not go on tilt, then go on a little rush where he probably got some decent cards but also made plays to capitalize on that image (of being on a rush) and quickly recouped what was in that pot and then some.

That was the turning point for the night for him.

Now I didn't just say that to Don to try to get him off tilt. The fact is, it's true. Most players wouldn't be able to make that lay down in situations like that where they invested so much time, played disciplined poker while other monkeys are catching with stupid draws that don't even exist when they called without some freak runner runner bullshit. His reads were on but his cards weren't. I got him off a hand where I ended up winning a hand against the above passive player with top pair (A) and 7 kicker... Don, said he had me beat and he thought I was fairly weak. I told him that if he came over the top, I woulda folded. That was an instance where his reads were on, he just had to follow it up with a bet. He knew and to see him make the adjustment very quickly was very entertaining to watch.

He started making strong plays and lucky for the rest of the table, neither Don nor I really got any cards to get anything going for an extended period... because otherwise, we woulda cleaned out the table. But the opportunity to recoup any losses wouldn't have even been there if he called in that critical hand and paid off the other guy, falling into a spiral of tilt, etc etc. We've all been there. Money not lost was almost as important as the money won. By not calling the $200 shove that the other player made, basically, it was the same as a $200 win. Just because the pot is not being shoved your way, it doesn't mean that you didn't win. Because sometimes, money not lost is almost as good as counting that as a win.


lj said...

i like this post. look at you, all giving and shit.

kazu said...


AnguilA said...

Mike Caro's fairy tale is the perfect analogy... Money not lost counts exactly the same as money won.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the props.

Playing live to me is 90% about reads and most of those reads I can't do online...well unless I'm watching Fuel play.

So that is why I'm going back to live play instead of playing online.

Oh and to counter Smokkee from his comment on one of your posts the other day, he doesn't play live because he gets crushed when he does.

BWoP said...

Laying down big hands (when you know you're beat) takes a lot of confidence in your game.

I've watched Don play live, and I agree.

He's got some sick reads on his opponents, and knows how to get away.

Anonymous said...

I think most people agree with you, in theory.

But look at the number of comments for this post - 5 at the time I posted this - vs. 23 for your big pot.

So yeah, not putting in money is like winning it, but actually winning money is much more exiciting.

Anonymous said...

I think the main point is not the excitement of money won (or the number of comments), but the friendship extended to a friend who might be leaning towards tilt.

It is no diffent than railing your friend on-line, this time it was in person. And, it is also about solid, disciplined poker... laying down a potential monster hand after waiting for 5 hours due to a good read and not monkey shoving AI.