Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Where the Hell Have You Been?

It's only partially true that I haven't been posting. Blogger ate two posts, one about the free $100 that PartyPoker has given me (I've run it up a bit but my online game seems to be very rusty) and one about the adventures of Dave in computer-fixing-land. So I've been posting, but Blogger hasn't allowed you to read it.

I got an interesting Email today, and for the most part I like my answers to it, even if part of it sounds like I'm making further excuses for some of my plays. So, I've decided to post the exchange. I'm changing my correspondent's name, but if he allows it I'll happily change it back.

I'm "Captain Glockenspiel" from 2+2 ...

I noticed that you quoted from a post of mine in a recent entry, so I thought I'd drop you a note and mention a couple of things.

First, I'd like to apologize for talking about you in a not so flattering way behind your back (metaphorically speaking). That sort of thing would definitely be rude in real life; the rules may or may not be much different online, but I'm sorry in any case.

Second, constructive criticism: You described a limit hold'em hand in which you limped in from early position with 57♠, and subsequently lost a very large pot (9 big bets from your stack, if I'm adding correctly). Ack! As my father has told me many times: limit hold'em is a big-card game. Don't get cute with small suited connectors and the like. From late position, with several limpers in front of you, you could consider a call with 57♠. In any other circumstance, this is an auto-muck. The fact that the table was loose makes this more true, not less. The correct response to a loose table is to tighten up and make money from, primarily, superior hand selection.

Finally, I won't presume to offer advice on your life and work in general but, when it comes to poker: study those books, particularly Sklansky & Malmuth. Learn and follow their recommendations on preflop play almost religiously. Don't bounce around between different limits and games too much. Don't do anything stupid, catch some cards, and good luck.

   "Captain Glockenspiel"

P.S. — You might consider posting on the 2+2 forums from time to time. I know that analyzing and discussing lots of hands there has helped me to better understand what ought to go into my decision-making. There are plenty of sarcastic assholes who can be a pain to deal with, but there also many intelligent poker players, worlds better than you or I, who don't mind pointing out and explaing mistakes in a polite why. Besides, even the assholes sometimes give good advice. Cheers.

My Response

Thanks for the comments. Don't apologize; as I've said, I like to listen to criticism. I figure that it's valid, or it's not. If it's not I can ignore it, but if it's valid, I should pay attention.

I can't make Outlook turn off the "quoted" mode, so the rest of my response is a bit jumbled, but your response is still here.

I like my preflop play less with that 57♠ than I did when I wrote that post about losing the big pot. I'm still OK with calling one bet preflop, the table had before this been quite passive and my implied odds if I hit my hand are huge. A case could be made that I played it out of position, but I didn't expect raisers behind me, and we'd seen a number of "family" pots at our full table. However, I'm less happy with my play after the raises. When it came two more bets back to me, it was obvious that the hand would continue with five players, at most, and it was reasonably likely that the bet would be capped behind me. So at this point I was looking at three (small) bets against the 17, at most, that would be in the pot preflop. 17:3, or not quite 6:1, wasn't sufficent odds, even considering postflop action, because if I did get a good flop it would most likely be a draw. And so, I end up agreeing with your assessment, and in fact your advice is how I usually play a suited connector or one-gapper. But if it becomes clear that I'm going to be in a huge pot, I'd generally rather it be with the connectors than with an AA or KK, because I know where I stand with the connectors. I have a monster, or I have garbage.

Although by and large I agree with your suggestion about bouncing around limits (after the fact, of course), I did manage to come up with a motivation for jumping up and down in limits that would be honourable, and that is that one ought to choose the most profitable game. I won't defend my $15/$30 play, but the $5/$10 BBJ tables I've sat were great games. I lost, which might have been simple variance and might have been something deeper. (I tend to the "something deeper," I've heard of too many good players losing their shirts at those BBJ tables. There might be something fundamentally different about the play there that I don't understand yet, and it's even possible that a paranoid explanation is closest to the truth.) By the way, I do understand that I can only use this to justify so much. Much even of the $5/$10 BBJ I've sat is not defensible, even with this rationale.

I've refrained from posting to 2+2 for a couple of reasons. First is the "sarcastic asshole" factor that you mentioned. Second is that I've already got an outlet for my griping about my play. It may appear that I don't post much of late, but Blogger has eaten two attempts to put up a new post. My web site isn't the ideal way to get feedback of the sort available on 2+2, I'll grant, but long posts (like this message) take some time to compose and I'm usually not disposed to tell the same story twice. Third, and probably most important, I'm kind of at the point where I'm not sure what questions to ask. The 2+2 thread has got me a new correspondent who's offered to coach me, and I look forward to that, but I think it will take some time to determine where my fundamental problems lie.

Hmm, I think I said a couple of things in this message that are worthwhile to post more broadly. I'll post both halves of this exchange, although I'll change your name; if you don't have a problem with me posting this I'll happily change it back.

In any case, thanks for the kind words, and don't be a stranger.


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