I am writing this post more for myself than anything, but I am sure many of you have been through the same thing. I want to be able to read this a year or two from now and laugh about how pathetic I was. Warning: there is a bad beat story included, well really just a bad luck story, as when most of the money went in I was well behind, but I digress.
I have been playing some pretty good .50/1 NL Holdem cash games lately. I used to make something like $15/hr multitabling, but that win rate is up closer to $40 an hour lately. I think I am playing pretty solid, and have tried to move up to the 1/2 level in the past. I usually do pretty good for a while, then get beat back down to the .50/1 where I am clearly more comfortable. I got PokerTracker about two months ago, and before that I used a spreadsheet to calculate my win rates. I have been giving 1/2 a try here and there lately on FullTilt with pretty much zero success. I have not played 1/2 for a couple of weeks, trying to build back up my confidence and bankroll at the .50/1 tables since my last unsuccessful attempt. I decided to take another shot today and opened up a single 1/2 table that looked pretty soft while I was playing three other .50/1 tables. Below are my stats per PokerTracker for .50/1 and 1/2 for the two months I have had it.
.50/1 - 14,765 Hands Played - Up $1,628
1/2 - 1,885 Hands Played - Down $392
In general my other stats seem comparable at the two levels. I am slightly tighter at 1/2, raise slightly less preflop (probably due to a lack of decent cards, and not a big enough sample of hands to correct for this), and win a higher percentage of showdowns at 1/2. I think it boils down to I have been getting pretty unlucky at the 1/2 level and have not played enough hands for the luck to even out. The bad luck at only this level, where I want so badly to compete at, does a huge number on my confidence. So I bounce back down to .50/1 and crush the competition there for a while to get my confidence back. The cycle repeats over and over. In the 14k+ hands of .50/1, I lost my whole stack at the table twice (once was my KK vs. AA preflop). I have lost my whole stack three times now at 1/2 in 1.9k hands. Pathetic!!!
So, I thought I would give it another try today. Normally, I buy in for the max amount, regardless of the limit for the obvious reasons, but this time I decided to underbuy for just $120. The table had several players that had bought in for the minimum ($40), and a few people who had the full amount, but statistically (according to tracker) were average players at best. I dropped about $10 waiting to pick up a decent hand, and then won a few small pots to get back even, when the hand below occurred.
FullTiltPoker Game #346952749: Table Broadbent - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:14:22 ET - 2005/12/21
Seat 1: WillyGolf ($166.55)
Seat 2: Dead Deal ($117.70)
Seat 3: Lil Bud ($121.75)
Seat 4: adahl24 ($47.80)
Seat 5: Blinders ($116.80)
Seat 6: svepan ($16.75)
Seat 7: CoachWEEZ ($203.95)
Seat 8: johnpmaniac ($259.60)
Seat 9: Dubness 1 ($203)
svepan posts the small blind of $1
CoachWEEZ posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [Kc Th]
Dubness 1 calls $2
WillyGolf calls $2
Dead Deal folds
Lil Bud folds
Blinders calls $2
svepan calls $1
I was on the button with KT0 and a lot of limpers, so I thought I would take a cheap look at the flop in position.
*** FLOP *** [Kd Ts 5s]
Dubness 1 bets $6
Blinders raises to $18
svepan calls $14.75, and is all in
Dubness 1 calls $12
Sweet, I flopped top two pair. No raise preflop, so probably no AK out there. KK and TT are also very unlikely. 88 is the only realistic hand that I am behind at this point. The $6 bet from early looks like a decent K, or the flush draw to me, and I don't want to give this guy drawing odds, so I pop it back $12 more. The guy only calls, so he probably has a scared K or the flush draw.
*** TURN *** [Kd Ts 5s] [Qd]
Dubness 1 checks
Blinders bets $28
Dubness 1 raises to $56
Blinders calls $28
The Q is not too scary to me. It was not a spade, and would this guy really have called the preflop reraise with just a gutshot draw (AJ)? The minimum check raise though is a little strange. The pot is getting pretty big, and I have outs to the boat. I guess I will just call. Probably a mistake in hindsight as I was pot committing myself here. All-in or fold was the correct move.
*** RIVER *** [Kd Ts 5s Qd] [9d]
Dubness 1 bets $41
Blinders calls $40.80, and is all in
Uncalled bet of $0.20 returned to Dubness 1
Ok, well the J beats me now, but would this guy have played it this way holding a J. I pot committed myself on the turn and it is just my last $41 to call. I make the crying call.
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Dubness 1 shows [Js As] (a straight, Ace high)
Dubness 1 wins the side pot ($199.80) with a straight, Ace high
Dubness 1 wins the main pot ($51.55) with a straight, Ace high
Blinders is sitting out
svepan is sitting out
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $254.35 Main pot $54.25. Side pot $200.10. Rake $3
Board: [Kd Ts 5s Qd 9d]
Seat 5: Blinders (button) mucked [Kc Th] - two pair, Kings and Tens
Seat 6: svepan (small blind) mucked [Td 5h] - two pair, Tens and Fives
Seat 9: Dubness 1 showed [Js As] and won ($251.35) with a straight, Ace high
This was not a bad beat, but more of a bad luck story. This guy had the perfect draw to crush me with. The exact two cards that would take all of my money. Without the gutshot + nut flush draw, he probably folds on the flop. And what does he hit on the turn? ?His gutshot! The card I can't believe really helped him. If he hits his flush on the turn, I can get away from my hand. If he hits his gutshot on the river, He will not be able to get all my money. It was a combination of him having the perfect draw on the flop and hitting it in the perfect way on the turn that cost me my stack. Plus I have zero luck at 1/2. Hitting the boat on the river would have been nice for me, but that's not going to happen.
So what do I do now you ask? Well I have had it with 1/2 on FullTilt. I need to play 1/2 elsewhere, where the poker gods don't have it in for me. This will probably be at DolyesRoom when I clear my $550 bonus. I have $1300 there currently from my initial $500 deposit, and should have well over 2k when my bonus clears in a couple of weeks. That's a nice amount of house money to continue my cruel experiment with. If I can crush the 1/2 there for a couple grand profit, I may be able to stomach the 1/2 game at FullTilt again.
One last note for my future self who will hopefully get a laugh out of this post. Why am I letting a hand like this get to me. If this would have happened at the .50/1 tables, I would have just laughed it off, chatted "nh", rebought, and continued playing my A game. It crushes me because I feel like the poker gods hate me right now, and want me to continue playing my patheticly tiny stakes. Is there a poker devil that I can sell my sole to? I think I am ready to sign.