Sunday, February 04, 2007

Day Three, Part One

Wow, yesterday was such an action packed day that I may have to post twice today! If I do post twice today, do I get a day off, or are am I going to get nailed for not sticking to posting every day while I am in Vegas? Whatever, I suppose.

Yesterday, I got up early, and was banging out yesterday’s post in a rush to hit the road. Around 10:00am, Don started harassing me about getting going. I have to blog, I have to get going; the guy is never happy. The tournament started at noon, and we wanted time for Don to register (I already had my ticket,) and to have breakfast. We had just the right amount of time to do that at a leisurely pace.

I was ready to play, or so I thought. Looking back on it, it is clear that I did not have my head in the game at all. I busted out early. Way early. In fact, I busted before the end of the first orbit. I will stipulate upfront that I played like a complete donkey, and that I know exactly how I should have played the hand. Nevertheless, I am going to tell you how the hand went down so I can get to the main learning point that I got out of the experience.

I was in the small blind with AK, it folds around to late position who made it 200 (blinds were 25 and 50.) I call. The big blind re-raises to 700. Late position folds and I call. Flop comes K-rag-rag. I check, BB bets 1000, I make it 3000. BB thinks for a while, and then shoves. I think for a while. He asks me, “Do you have AK?” I reply “Is it good?” He mutters under his breath “It is if you have it.”

I keep thinking. Someone calls for the clock; the floor arrives and gets ready to start the clock. Here is where I feel like I am in slow motion, falling to the canvas, with the beads of sweat flying off my face one by one in ultra-slow motion. I call, he shows his aces and I am done.

Yeah, I made several different mistakes here. I am about to tell you my thought process, but please keep in mind that I am not saying my thought process was right or that I did the right thing, or anything close to that. I am not even going to get into what I would have done differently. I just had the “deer caught in the headlights” feeling. He implied that I was good. My experience is that really top notch players will say things like that to get the call. Anyone below top notch will probably tell the truth, figuring that you will never believe them. Also, there is no way he should push there if he has aces. Now here is the clincher: he was a Euro. I was figuring he was a donkey, so I called. Back to full speed, face hits the mat, splat.

Now that I have been carted off in the ambulance, let me tell you what I have learned. It is a well established principle that if the choices are call or fold and you are in doubt, you should fold. But how does one exercise that discretion when he is in “deer caught in the headlights” mode? It is instinctual. I have had similar experiences a few other times in my poker career. Every single time, I have made the wrong decision. For now own, when I am feeling like the deer caught in the headlight, I muck. I know that this sounds obvious, but it is experiential learning and words, even words better than I am capable of writing, are not adequate to express how much of a difference this is going to make for me the next time I am feeling that feeling.

After attempting to shake off the horrible feeling of just having committed an incredible donkey move in a big tournament, I sit in the 2/5NL game at the Venetian. I do not get involved in any big pots, I lose a few little ones, and then I go card dead. I am really not feeling it, and I think I need a change of scene, so I book a loss of $375 and I roll out to the MGM around 7:30PM.

Up next: I play in the 5/10NL game at the MGM, and my Super bowl bets.


Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I don't understand how you can possibly call that a donkey move. In my view (granted, I wasn't there in person), there is literally no way I would ever get away from that hand given the way the action went down. It's a big blind special, you nailed the flop almost as hard as you can expect, and it's nearly impossible to put him on pocket Aces in this situation. I'm not saying you couldn't possibly have folded and lived to fight another day. But that would be, in my view, incredibly pussy poker. A lot of guys I know always say they donked if they went out real early from a tournament. In my experience that's not always true. If you're going to get AK against AA in a big blind special, and hit the flop balls-hard with TPTK, sometimes you're just going to make the correct play and get knocked out early. Happens to the best of us man.

Btw I tend not to put much credence in what he said either way -- and again, granted I was not there in person to see it. But with the preflop raise and such, I just don't see how you can fold it there. Certainly this is not a move I would beat yourself up over. Even if you think you should have folded it given what you knew, it can't possibly rise to the level of donkey play. Just my opinion of course.

7:23 AM  
Blogger cc said...

Hang in there, Aaron. Stay focused and play your best, that's all you can do.

9:56 AM  

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