Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bah, Humbug

Yesterday's post was brought to you by the Dept. of Speaking Too Soon.

No sooner had I posted, than I was wading into a multitabling extravaganza of tomfoolery and bad cards that ultimately tipped me headlong into tiltdom.

The most frustrating thing is that the alarm bells were already ringing before the worst hands occurred.

I genuinely thought to myself, 'I should just log out and go to bed, I'm starting to get quite tilty', only for the 'I'll just give it ten more minutes' impulse to prevail.

Ten minutes later, the spreadsheet was firmly in the red.

As is often my problem, I got bored after a very long run of bad cards, and tried to push a few players around.

I thought that not having played a hand for 45 minutes might have established some sort of tight table image, but it wasn't enough to get someone to put down bottom set on a straightening board.

Sure he took his full time allocation on both turn and river to call, but call he did, and top two pair was no good.

The instigator of most of my angst was one of the more innocuous players at the table. Seated directly to my left he was as loose-passive as you could get - a calling station to rival Vodafone.

Which SHOULD be just perfect. Make your hand, bet into him, and get called down by second best hand, or bad draws.

Except, of course, he just could not lose against me. He lasted almost all night purely at the expense of my bankroll.

The inevitable pattern was, he'd lose a chunk of his stack, we'd get into a hand, he'd call me down with a dodgy straight or flush draw, and hit on the river.

How can I be so sure he was hitting? Because, when the scare card came, I'd check, and he'd min bet it - that is, when he still had chips left. Every time. A min bet.

Given the pot sizes, even though I KNEW I was beat, that's got to be a call. And every time, I was right, he had hit.

One orbit later, he'd be back to where he started, having bled the chips off elsewhere.

When this happens once, it's unfortunate. Twice, is galling. The third time and beyond, I REALLY start to get annoyed. Which is where we came in.

Still, I'm trying to be philosophical. I lost some money, but hopefully I learned a few things about myself.

I'm beginning to think I should timebox my sessions, since my tolerance declines rapidly over time, and definitely impacts how I play.

In the grander scheme of things, losing a few dollars is hardly the end of the world. There are people in much worse situations than me.

Take, for example, my cousin. He's over in Iraq on his 2nd tour of the present conflict.

On his first tour, my aunt had to go to a local outdoor shop and buy a pair of desert boots to post to him, since the army had run out of his size and he was running around the desert in boots made for European fields and rain, not Iraqi sand and sun.

On his current tour, the guys have been freezing at night when out on foot patrol.

So my mum went to a local shop, bought a whole bundle of mini hot water bottles, and shipped them out to Iraq. Now his patrol fill them with hot water before they go out, and shove them inside their flak jackets to keep warm.

Did you know the UK Ministry of Defence has more civil servants than the army has soldiers? Yet they still can't procure the proper kit - desert boots, uniforms suitable for the conditions, or even guns that fire properly. What a joke!

My cousin sent me an email at New Year where he mentioned that 'Has been quite quiet here for a while, haven't been attacked for about a week.'

In the face of that lifestyle, and all the other problems they have to face, I can hardly sulk around all day fretting over a few dollars frittered away on the tables.

But it won't stop me thinking about how I can do better next time.

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