There’s a lot of complaining in poker. We poker players are inured to the constant whining around us, but taking a step back and looking at it objectively, there is a grotesque and epic amount of bitching and moaning in this little world I reside in.
It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to decipher the reasons for this. We humans are prideful creatures, and we invariably crave validation when we fail. In tournament poker, you fail a lot. In fact, you fail pretty much every day. With failure comes self-pity. Show me any tournament poker player and I will show you a man who spends half of his life feeling sorry for himself.
People who are capable of rationalizing their need for self-pity are of course not immune to it. Nor are those of us who try to avoid all the wallowing because we ultimately believe it is destructive. I need to commiserate too.
And so, please pity the fact that my yesterday sucked:
I was 17th out of 295 players headed into Day 2 of the Borgata Spring Open’s Event #1. 100 players were to be paid and I was sitting pretty with 210,000 chips. Once play started, I managed to build my stack to around 270,000 without incident. And then I got pooped on. Repeatedly.
I iso-raised a short stack’s shove with Ac3c. He showed me 10-9 and hit a 10 on the turn. 250,000.
I called a short stack’s shove with pocket jacks. He held pocket eights. Eight on the flop. 220,000.
I reshoved on a 12 big blind shorty’s ship with QQ and found myself matched up with 22. Deuce on the turn. 160,000.
And then one final travesty. A player open limped, I raised the button to 20,500 with KK. It folded to the big blind who decided to cold four-bet jam all in for 150,000. I called, he turned over 99. Nine in the window.
These beats came in rapid, mind-boggling succession within a period of maybe 40 minutes. I rarely lose my composure at the table, but the last one proved too much for my battered constitution (it also happened to be a one-outer, the gentleman to my left gave me the pointless but obligatory “I folded a nine” before the flop rolled out). Unsure of how to properly express my exasperation, I collected all my chips with two trembling fists and forcefully slammed them down into the center of the table, then released them there for the dealer to corral and redirect. Two days of poker down the drain. Good game!
I was still feeling the sting of that tragic and unjust turn of events when I sat down to play a multitable satellite for a seat in today’s $7,500 buy in high roller event. There were 37 players in the satellite. Enough for three seats, with $4500 cash for fourth place. The tourney started at 7:00 PM, and the structure was outstanding for a satellite—almost too good. The tournament was a long, drawn out, endurance-testing grind. I found myself sitting there with 10 big blinds halfway through, but I was able to pick spots and chip up, hanging around long enough to reach the final table. Eventually I found myself sitting in fourth place on the bubble with five players remaining. It was 3:30 AM. I was so tired that I could barely see straight, but I was one bustout away from a good score, and I really wanted to get the bad taste from earlier in the day out of my mouth and pick up a seat in the $7,500 tourney.
If there’s one thing in poker that I understand completely, it’s ICM push/fold/call-off ranges. This stuff was etched into my memory during my days grinding sit ‘n go’s online. I seriously know that stuff backwards and forwards. And I know that if we’re on the exact bubble and I shove 20 big blinds from the button, and the other short stack is sitting in the big blind with approximately 17 big blinds, he isn’t supposed to call it off with A-8 off. But that’s what my opponent chose to do, and I couldn’t win a flip with pocket threes. Good game and good night.
Cliffs notes: April 12, 2010 was Kick David In The Balls Day. I lost three consecutive pair-over-pair dominated all ins to blow through a huge stack and bust out of Event #1, then played an eight-hour MTT satellite and finished on the exact bubble. So yeah, I’m running pretty good down here so far!