Monday, October 11, 2004

Lessons learned

Friday night, we had a poker game over at the Riverwind apartment complex in Orlando. Five players bought into the game. It appeared that Sean was the favorite coming in. The unscrupulous Zach, like he is at most everything, was a force to be reckoned with. Primarily with the help of one big hand, I commandeered the chip lead. Steadily, the other players began to exit the game and I was faced exclusively against Zach. I was well aware that I had a significant deficiency in experience. I’d played poker only once in my life prior to Friday. There was a huge internal conflict going on inside my head. I saw that lead and felt I could conservatively nurse it to certain victory. But Zach started playing real smart. He was in a bad situation. His chips were evaporating and he had to find a way to close the gap. It was then that he started going all-in, sometimes before the flop. My guess was that he might have had one face card, or perhaps a suited pair. Faced with nothing in my hand, I simply ceded my blinds to Zach. I started to worry that he was slowly breaking me. And I didn’t want to be there for hours. So that’s when I decided to play recklessly. I called his all-in with not much in my hand. I think I had a mediocre hand, but not enough to compete. I can’t remember the specifics, but he regained the lead with one well-played hand. Immediately after that loss, I went all-in with a decent hand. I was going for a flush draw but came up short. That was it for Friday night. I was happy to have finished second, but was very troubled by my loss.

I challenged Zach to a rematch Saturday night. Everybody felt I was playing too cocky. I did not see it that way. I was playing every hand because I was given a face card in almost every draw. My mistake was continuing after an unfulfilling flop. I played too recklessly for such a big game. I ended up being the first one out. I disagree with those who would say that I deserved to be taken down a notch. I was playing to win big. I wanted to get back to the place I was the night prior and try to rectify my mistakes. Unfortunately, I never got the chance.

I did learn from Saturday’s game. Conservative, at least when playing poker, isn’t always a bad thing. I really should have played it soft and allowed others to fall out of the game. If there were only three players, it’s conceivable that my aggressive strategy could have yielded big winnings. I realize now that I could have been perceived as cocky.

I won’t reveal much more, since I expect there might be more poker games in our future. Suffice to say that I learned enough to help me in subsequent endeavors. I was happy that Zach won Friday’s game. He’s been down on his luck lately and deserved some money. Saturday was not a night to remember. I do believe that overconfidence combined with mild drunkenness was a factor. I didn’t drink that much during the game. Rather, I drank away my sorrows after an early exit from competition. I’ll discuss the inebriation in Part II of “Lessons Learned”.

2 Comments:

Blogger Eric Cioffoletti said...

Janel won Saturday night so I was happy about that. Zach deserved to win on Friday, since he played better than anybody.

Don't stress about losing big on Saturday. When you have six people playing as we did that night, somebody will always have that big hand. I feel for you though. Although I wanted you to learn some humility, I was hoping you wouldn't be the first person out.

October 11, 2004 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger tsias said...

I was playing to win, not to survive. Had I really wanted to, I could have gotten 3rd or 5th. I decided that I was going to win big or lose early. I'm not upset with the way I played.

I don't think I was humbled. I learned and will make adjustments. To characterize me as arrogant wouldn't be correct, IMO. No matter who you are, there's always a chance of exiting early. I am confident, perhaps even more, than before the weekend.

October 11, 2004 at 1:39 PM  

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