Poker Cats

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A cat in disguise

The proverb says, "Born lucky, always lucky," and I am very superstitious. As a small boy I was notoriously lucky. It was usual for one or two of our lads (per annum) to get drowned in the Mississippi or in Bear Creek, but I was pulled out in a 2/3 drowned condition 9 times before I learned to swim, and was considered to be a cat in disguise.
-Mark Twain

I've been pretty happy with my play the last few days, in live games in Tunica and online. I feel like the quote from Izmet Fekali on an old Guinness and Poker blog:

"Optimal hold'em strategy is a defensive one. You make yourself unbeatable, you let your opponents bang their heads & weapons against your fortress walls. They are not playing optimally against you (they are either trying to find cracks in your armor and are zigging and zagging around or they are simply stupid and don't have a clue how to play) and must therefore be losing money to you."

There are few cracks in the armor right now.

Don't get me wrong -- I've learned I can turn surly (like Bellagio dealers say Jennifer Harman gets sometimes?) when the largest win in a session is $5 for an entire weekend (as in my L.A. trip) but I've learned to take the losses in stride because I nearly always find a way to ride out of it.

And losses are part of the game. We need to get out of this mindset that winning is everything in poker. You can't tell where you're at until you combine the wins with the losses. Make the proper plays and it shouldn't matter that the fish ran you down with 83o and cracked your premium pair. I felt sad in Tunica when I saw this kind of play. It's like watching somebody eating five pounds of hamburger every day. It might be fun for that person in the short-term but you know it's going to end up badly.

That said, I'm really trying to shore up mini-leaks. I found myself calling last weekend in Tunica after I'd been raised on the turn by very obvious players. And then calling on the river. It was only $6 after all. Add all of those little calls up and I might have been looking at a winning trip.

I'm also finding I have to get rid of my default programming, all the still sound advice from Lee Jones and Lou Krieger books that I shouldn't just blindly follow.
There was another instance in which I limped with 99 UTG at the Horseshoe's $4/8. It got called twice before it got raised and then another call and then a 3-bet. My old programming told me to get out of there and I folded. But later I calculated there were 22 small bets in the pot! Of course I would have flopped a set and the winner took down the huge pot with a set of 3s.

I'm not saying that either of the authors would have made my mistake -- they obviously would have calculated the correct pot odds. But many times my instinct is still set to "factory default" where I'll just think that 99 is not worth a 3-bet.


In other news, the WPBT tourney last night was fun. But it wasn't as fun as the first WSOP satellite a few weeks back. This one had a strange tone of seriousness combined with either joking or serious snipes at other players. Either way, it created a different atmosphere. (I didn't say a word and nothing was directed at me). As WPBT players we should be professional, especially in our own tournaments in which other people may be observing. This is the only way we'll get the right respect as a group. Bounced out in 45th place, enough to gain points in the POY standing.

Lou Krieger mentions that the Grand Casino-Biloxi will be reopened this summer. I'll have to make a trip to play there. I can't wait until the Beau Rivage opens up what's supposed to be a huge room in September.

Am also looking forward to this Seattle trip. There are about 20 poker rooms in the Seattle area and the trick will be going to the ones that will make the trip worthwhile. I have divided up the chips in my collection, arranging the poker rooms I've played in chronological order, from The Plaza in Las Vegas to Biloxi's Imperial Palace. Doing it that way helps me bring back memories from each place.


  • Sorry Cat, but could you please tell me whats the WPBT in detail?
    Very much appreciated

    By Blogger Victor_Enriq, at 5:50 PM  

  • I'm thinking maybe trying to arrange a Atlanta blogger meetup in Biloxi when they re-open the Grand. Let me know if you're

    By Blogger surflexus, at 11:41 PM  

  • World Poker Bloggers Tour, a friendly competition of small tournaments among poker bloggers. You should get involved! The next tournament is in April. We'll let you know.

    Surf: Totally interested in Biloxi trip. email is

    By Blogger kurokitty, at 11:13 AM  

  • Thanks Cats

    By Blogger Victor_Enriq, at 9:01 PM  

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