Sunday, July 29, 2007

Something's wrong with my game, again

Here's my brick and mortar poker winnings and losses, since May:


I haven't had a winning session in the last four. The big wins in June came when I felt on top of my game, the cards were running good, and I followed the strategy to raise with a good drawing hand in late position.

I hadn't changed that strategy, but in my July 14 session, I only won five hands, and my thought was that I was overplaying over cards. I vowed not to do that again.

Tonight, with a solid player to my right and an agressive raiser to my left, I was in a prime spot to raise with good drawing hands preflop (AQ? TT? K8s in late position?).


I played two hours, dropped almost $200, and didn't win a single hand. Three times I was dealt AQ; three times the flop missed me entirely, and the betting (and the ending) showed that it had hit someone else. Once I got dealt TT, and the flop came AQ3. And once I got 66, and the board came 758/4/7, and I lost to a guy on the button playing 74s.

I'm lost. Over the last few years, I've read every poker book I can get my hands on, I understand the concepts of pot odds, the importance of position, and that tournament play and cash play are different. I know and believe Sklansky's fundamental theory: the money we make comes from opponents' mistakes, and the money we lose comes from our mistakes; a mistake is when we play our hand differently than we would if we knew the opponents' cards. I know that the most costly mistake isn't calling with a losing hand on the river, but instead is folding a winning hand on the river. But being down $573 for poker in 2007 (but down only $45.91 overall for the year -- thank goodness for all the money I've won with the match play coupons)... I'm clearly still doing something significantly wrong, and I'm not seeing what it is.

I thought perhaps it was that I tend to make continuation bets against opponents who won't fold -- betting in late position when I'm the first into the pot, even when I don't have a hand. An article in Card Player last month reminded me that the reason to make a continuation bet is to get opponents to fold, which few will do for only $3. But that's not the case -- I never even had a situation tonight where I was in late position and the pot hadn't been bet at yet.

I play tight. I'm easily the tightest at the table. When six or seven players see the flop, I'm rarely one of them. However, my tight play doesn't scare most players out of the pots when I go aggressive and raise, though, which is to be expected at the $3/$6 level. I raise on the button with K♠6♠, miss the flop, get out, and that's another $6 gone. Or I hit a spade draw, and call to the river, where I fold when I miss it.

I hate to say that it's just bad cards for the last four sessions; it feels like a cop out. It really feels like it tonight, though, when I never had top pair on the river (the two times I got that far), never hit big cards on the flop when I had them, and never completed a flopped flush draw.

Should I be getting into more pots? Should I be seeing the flop under the gun with QTo? Should I call with 75o in middle position? My leak seems large, but I'm obviously blind to it.

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