Saturday, February 19, 2011

dry spells = opportunity

I learned something new today. Remember those dry spells that I complained about in recent posts? I was seeing them the wrong way. I used to see dry spells as blocks on my way up the stakes. I did not see them as the OPPORTUNITIES that they are for me to improve my game.
You see, anyone can easily move up stake levels when they are running hot. If one is not running hot, they simply add more to their bankroll, or move up regardless of bankroll management. When you go through a dry spell where you are not getting anything better than top pair, you pay attention more to the more important aspects of the business: tilt management, table selection, pot control and investing in your metagame.
Tilt management. When the best I'm getting is top pair and everyone else is getting set after set after set, that frustrates me. This time, I see it as a chance for me to observe my thoughts and emotions when I am playing in such situations. I get the chance to play my a-game instead of going on tilt. It's easy not to tilt when you are having a grand day at the tables. You don't even get anywhere near the tilt zone. But when things are not going your way, it's time to BE playing at my best.
Table selection. Going through dry spells and there are calling stations and short stackers on the table, I just get up and leave. On good days, I play these clowns and teach them a thing or two. On dry spells, they take me money. Just look for a differernt table and finish the session as best as I can.
Pot control. What is your limit playing with top pair? Would you go all-in with top pair? In a tourney, that's probably a given; maybe even a short stack player. But playing FR cash games, you wouldn't last long going all in on the river with just TPTK. 
Metagame. This is a concept that I know instinctively, but hard to explain logically. In any table, you will always find two or three regulars playing with you. These folks have an idea of how you tend to play. Let's say a three bet situation. They know you'll call in position but not when you are out of positionl and that you four bet with top pair. The next time you are in such a situation, do something else they will not expect. Go all in. Call to river. Anything. The objective here is to make them think differently about you. You might lose one buy in to the reg in this session, but in the long term, you'll gain more because you become unpredictable.
I just finished my first session for the day. It's 11.27am. I'm taking a break and do the dishes.