By Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro
There’s an experience in poker which I want to put a name to. Let’s call it the Grinder’s Lament. It runs something like this: when you win, it feels like just another day at the office; you make money playing poker, that’s what you do for a living; Plan A worked – it’s nothing special. But when you lose it feels like the world’s caved in.
If you are a winning player, you play more hands and you will make more money. Simple, right? Having just come back from a hectic schedule of tournaments in Vegas with the promise of fame and fortune (I came 549th in the Main Event, am I famous now?), I felt that I needed to get back to the grind and put more time in online.
Say you had a hypothetical tell on an opponent which 100% guaranteed that his hole cards are aces. Should you always call him hoping to bust him? Does it all depend on stack sizes? Could you call with any two cards with a deep enough stack, or just pocket pairs and suited connectors? Or is it simply bad poker to call with what you know to be a worse hand?
Folco, North London
I find a lot of value in piling pressure on your opponents in the early stages of tournaments when the blinds are small and most people are playing way too tight, because that’s when people are looking to avoid pressure.
Dear Dr Tom,
It’s the early stages of a two table sit-n-go, with blinds at 15-30. I have a stack of 2,295 from a starting stack of 1,500. I’m dealt aces in the small blind. A middle position player raises to 120, the button calls. Nice, I think, and raise to 630. Both players call. The flop is 6d7cJs. Very nice for aces, I think. First to act, and with two players behind me who may have under-pairs to my aces, I check.
If my column is anything to go by, some time after 2015 there will be no more fish left in the game. Instead, the poker world will be populated by twenty-something university-dropout cyborgs who 50-table against each other, merely pushing money back and forth while the site makes money from the rake.
For the past few years I’ve been very focused on staying fit in order to improve my concentration levels and enhance my willingness to win. One of the most important things in poker is what people sometimes refer to as the “winning spirit”, but what it comes down to is whether you feel capable of winning.
When he was younger, Marc Goodwin played a lot of blackjack, employing sophisticated systems to beat the casinos. He won a lot of money on the tables of Europe, which he promptly lost playing some game he’d just discovered called Omaha.