Monday, March 8, 2010
Bring your A-game
I just got back from the Gold Strike. I had a coupon for the buffet that expired today, so I decided to get a free meal.
Where did the coupon come from? When I played in the tournament Saturday, each runner who made it until 6:30 p.m. got one. They gave us an hour to eat dinner, and it was on the house.
I didn't use mine (Saturday), though. Why not?
When you are in the middle of a poker (or bridge) tournament, the last thing you need is to stuff yourself with a big dinner, then come back and try to play good poker. Instead, I went to the food court and got one piece of pizza and a salad. I didn't finish either one. Players don't think of little things like this, but I really believe that they can make a difference.
Here's something else I did. After I got ready to go play Saturday morning, I logged into online poker and played for 20 or 30 minutes. When a golfer is going to play, he might take some practice swings. He goes to the putting green. Baseball players take fielding and batting practice. All this is part of the warm-up process. People in other sports do the same thing, so why not in poker? When I got there, I was ready to play. (Glen Ashton has written about this on his bridge blog -- sorry I don't have the exact link.)
After around four to five hours of play, an older man limped in. I had started with 8000 and had chipped up up to ~38,000 and the man had ~22,000 (these are approximate, but close). I believe the blinds were 500/1000/100. I checked my hole cards and was pleased to see ♥K ♦K. I raised to 4000, the blinds folded and he called.
The flop was ♥10 ♥6 ♣2 and the villain moved all in!! This didn't make sense. If he had a set, he could just make a regular bet, rather than blow me out of the water. Another line is that he could "check to the raiser," then check-raise me. I finally decided he had a flush draw, so I called.
The villain turned over ♠A ♣6 for middle pair, wow. The very next card, however, was the ♦6 to give him trips. The river was a brick.
Instead of having ~62,000, I was down to 16K -- brutal. It would have been easy to go on tilt, but I sat out the next hand, got up and went out in the lobby, and got a soft drink. I began to visualize getting aces and doubling up and thinking positive thoughts. When I got back I was ready to play again. Looking back, this was probably a turning point and part of the reason I did as well as I did.
What do you do to bring your A-game?
To see the results of the event I played in go here. Note that the win figures don't account for the chop.
Image by MOJO and taken with my phone.