I haven’t written about my online poker exploits in a while. I’m not sure why, but it might have to do with how poorly Helaine and I started to do. When I left for Florida, nearly two weeks ago, we were down to $40 from our original stake of $250. We started playing at pokerstars.com about five months ago.
After losing a few games to ridiculous hands (people staying in… calling bets… hoping a 1:100 shot comes through… and it does) Helaine decided she had had enough and ‘retired’. I played on.
I took another look at my play and decided to make some small, but hopefully significant changes to my style. I am not dogmatic in my play. There are some variations (though not many) from game to game. But, mostly, I am consistent in when I bet and fold.
My strategy now favors not losing.
Hold on. It’s not meant as a joke and that’s a sentence with real meaning.
It is possible to set out and bet your cards to win. I found, and it’s based more on anecdotal evidence than well designed research, most of my losses came when I was in trying to squeeze out another opponent and he got lucky (or my assessment of my cards was in error). If you go ‘all in’ five times, and win four (an excellent percentage) you’re still knocked out!
Now, I will be less aggressive in those situations. That means I’ll win a little less per hand, but I’ll avoid some of the significant downside associated with allowing one wrong move to break me.
It’s only been two weeks, but so far so good. From $40 in the bank, I’m now approaching $100.
My game of choice is still the $5.50 single table, sit and go tournaments. Last night, for the first time in a long time, I sat at a 10¢ – 25¢ no limit Hold’em table (in other words, real betting with real money, as opposed to a tournament with very fixed limits to your possible losses – or wins). I won $9.50 in under a half hour.
I was surprised to find the table very loose. As a tight player, I think that’s a good thing for me, and brings lots of early money to the pot as optimists try and hit their dream hand. Sometimes they will. Most often, they don’t.
Maybe I’ll start playing more of that, though the concept of ‘no limit’ in this context is scary.