Tuesday, 2 November 2010

4 tabling and gambling issues

As you can probably tell from the title, I have good and bad news. I'll start with the good news first. At the end of last week I moved up to 4 tables! After playing 3 tables for a while, I started getting comfortable and decided to open a fourth one. The way I see it, it goes like this: first I open one table more than I usually do and find it slightly hard to manage everything. Then I start getting more comfortable and after that I get slightly bored. At the point of getting bored is when I open one more table. So far this whole process has been taking me about a week. If I keep up with this pace, I'll be 12tabling by the end of the year, which would be great! I try not to get my expectations too high though, cause I don't want to get disapointed in case I reach my limits sooner than that. But so far, it only seems to be a matter of practice.

The next subject I would like to share with you today is gambling issues. Trying to make a living out of poker and being a gambler are two things that do NOT go together. So I'd better fix this now that it's only the beginning. Don't worry, it's not like I'm going to recklessly put every single penny I have on poker tables until I lose it all. That's not the type of gambling I'm talking about. It's more something like knowing what the best play would be, and then taking an action in the complete opposite direction hoping that it will work. Most of the times this occurs, I have conversations with myself that go like this:

-Katerina, what should you do in this situation?
-Probably fold.
-You do realize that the opponent(s) have a straight/flush/two pair/whatever, right?
-So what should you do?
-Definately fold.

And after I have it all nicely figured out, I go ahead and call. Cause there's a little voice that's bugging me: "What if he's bluffing?" And I know that most of the times he's not. I also know, that even if he is bluffing, it's not EV positive to get involved in coin flips (apart from very specific situations I guess). I know all that. And yet I still call. Like seriously, what's wrong with me? Does this happen to any of you?

After thinking about it for a while, I realized I have two problems: one is that since I'm playing the micro stakes, there are a lot of bad players. And I'm not saying that to be mean or anything, nor am I trying to set myself apart from the all the others. I do think I'm waaaaay below average to put it nicely. But often I see plays like someone calling an all-in on the river, at the very first hand of the tournament, with nothing! And when I say nothing, I mean not even ace high, where anything, even the lowest pair of the board has them beat! And as I'm looking at the board, I don't see any flush or straight draws on the flop, so I really have no idea what the guy was thinking at any point of the hand! I mean, that doesn't take anything more than simply knowing the basic rules and having some common sense to know that you have to fold, does it? Believe me, those situations do not just happen once in a blue moon, they are pretty frequent.

I also find that since I'm playing the knockout tournaments, players overall have a lot more suicidal tendencies than normal. I guess they see value in getting a bountie and doubling up early so that they can bully more people around and get even more bounties. While that makes sense in a way, it also means that they play much looser than they would at a standar tournament. Now combine the above cases, and you'll get why my hand goes towards calling in flip coin situations. Of course it doesn't mean I should call. How do you guys react when you hear that little "What if...?" voice?

My last problem has to do with aces. I was going through Negreanu's book the other day, and I found a chapter with the title "Don't get married to your aces". Well let me tell you something. I've only been playing one month now, but I've been married quite a lot of times. And while it was love at first sight, continued with a lot of romance on the flop and all that junk, there where some occasions where I've been brutally divorced. I mean, when you have an overpair such as aces, doesn't it break your heart to betray and fold them when there's just a tiny flush draw on the board? Or X33? How bad can a 3 be comparing to your lovely aces? Obviously it can be VERY bad, awful, disastrous, duh! These sentimental situations have lead me to heartbreaks such as seeing my pocket aces developing in a wonderful set only to be crushed by a full house/flush/staight. I have never folded aces so far. Even though on some occasions I heard that little voice inside saying "Fold! Fold!". This is one of the times I choose to ignore it. Has to do with the gambling issues we were discussing I guess. It's pretty obvious that I should learn a lot more about poker. Or go to a marriage counselor.


  1. At the lower stakes is it usual to see players overplay their pocket pairs, two pair and such hands, and usually they dont bluff much.. ABC poker should be enough for u to get profit.. but who am to talk about this when u have one of the best SnG players in the world coaching u.. :)

    about that voice. yeah.. i hear it to.. and sometimes i find it difficult to fold, but, u gotta go with ur gut, and get a "divorce from those aces when u think their cheating on u" :P

    gl :) ur doing fine

  2. Hi Katerina, congratulations on your performance, you are doing very well.

    About that situations when you must fold but you call anyway it happens to everyone and you should count to 5 and take a better + EV decision.

    There is also the inverse side of that kind of situation, sometimes your intuition tells you that he is bluffing and you are right.

    I had a situation on the 1/4 million tournament where I had second pair on the board and opponent decides to shove all his stack after my c-bet. I thought for a while and decided to call his shove knowing that I will be eliminated in that hand. I found out that he was on a straight draw and my pair hold and I doubled up my stack.

    You can argue that it was not a good call, but on tournaments I do not play the most + ev decisions, I am there to play to win, so I do take some risks.

    Good luck at the tables!

  3. Hi there,

    I'm from Portugal, and i'm a huge fan of your boyfriend André Coimbra!

    Btw, i will make a private tourney on Sunday to cellebrate my first year in poker.

    I would like to ask if you want to join me, Andre Coimbra and Nuno Coelho?

    Best Regards and Merry X-mas,

    Tourney ID: 344780014
    Pass: poker1ano

    Leonel "lgameiro" Gameiro


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