Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Lucky Man

Tonight I'm babysitting/World Cup watching, whilst Mrs Div aka 'The Keeper' has a night out at Hamilton Park race course with her workmates.

Just who is the degenerate gambler in this household?

The first race was won at 10/1 by Outrageous Flirt. Given the propensity for the girls to bet on horses based on name, colours, attractiveness of stable lads, etc. I'm expecting some of them paid for their night out pretty quickly.

Last night the mundanity of the Brazil v Croatia game inspired me to fire up PokerStars for the first time in a while. I broke myself back in gently with a mighty $5 Hold Em SNG.

Which didn't last long, when my dominating Ace couldn't stand up to the chip leaders call of my re-raise and his A6 paired the six on the flop and sent me packing.

Such is life. It was just a bit of fun anyway.

It did however remind me of a conversation I recently had with Teacake, which touched on some of the luck v skill debates which have been ongoing within the blogosphere over the past few weeks.

He has been particularly unlucky in a few big situations recently - dominating Aces losing to kickers that pair, overpairs losing to baby pairs that make their sets, etc.

Which happens, and which isn't particularly unlucky when seen in the context of all the instances where they do hold up over time.

What IS unlucky is that it keeps happening in big situations - deep in online tourneys, or at live final tables, where losing a 3/1 shot can mean a difference of many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars.

The cards are blind to the situation, but the players aren't. As I said to him, it would be better to get killed in a $10 SNG and have the big hands hold up when it REALLY mattered.

For someone who plays only a single type of game, this isn't a consideration, but I'd guess almost everyone varies their games over time.

In my own case, I can generally be found playing anything from $5 SNG through $100 cash games online.

Seeing it from that perspective, I should probably class my minor accident last night as a 'good beat', since I'd rather it happened early in a $5 SNG than all-in pre-flop in one of my bigger buy-in cash games a la Greenstein v Farha. (Of course while Barry got done for over $350,000 losing a $300 pot would have more impact on me)

In keeping with my plan for the month of playing whatever the hell takes my fancy, I went from NLHE last night to PLO8 tonight.

I love watching people play PLO8 who have obviously transitioned from Hold Em without giving it a great deal of consideration.

The concept of a scoop, or drawing to the nuts, is entirely alien to most of them. Which makes for wild action in what should really be a pretty conservative game.

I always like to sit back for the first few orbits to spy the lie of the land, and pick out the guy who thinks reraising with 2s5h5s8c pre-flop out of position is a genius move.

Taking it seriously is a big no-no, but it is fun to play, and watch.

Which is at least part of the point of playing poker, is it not?

So tonight I'm enjoying myself. Embracing the good beats as long lost cousins, and revelling in the fact they don't actually mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

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