Erm… Did I Just Do That?!

When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Hugh White

Shocking moves, bad calls, hilarious raises… They’re all signs of a (sometimes over-optimistic) poker noob – just like me. No doubt, I’ve made some really terrifying decisions in my very short poker carreer. Some of them probably gave me away as the perfect fish. I promised, I’d share some of my really bad plays with you, and here comes a first taste of what you can expect me to do.

Yesterday, I was playing on Party Poker in a 50 handed $5+1 SNG. Starting out in the BB (40/80) on my very first hand, I looked down at AsKd. “Whoohoo! What a start into the SNG!” I thought. To make this hand short: Four players enter the pot, even though I bumped it up to 120. The flop comes down AhKc9c – two pair! Okay, there is a chance for a flush draw out there, but I thought I’d go ahead betting just slightly more than the pot. Sure as hell, I take down the pot right there and then, taking my stack to the lead for now.

A couple of good hands later (2x AA, hitting trips with TT and 99, and another AK holding up), I’m sitting at one of the two remaining tables with 6 players left. I’m on the button with 4c4h and a stack of about 10.500 (about 4th largest stack), the SB posts 300, almost all of his tiny stack and there’s only one player at this table matching my stack (with 11.000). The first round of betting all players enter, no wonder, I thought, who wouldn’t want to pick up the last chips off the SB. I call the 600 and of course, the SB goes all-in. At this very moment, I made the mistake of deciding, I want to grab this pot.

The flop comes down 9c7d6d. I try to thin out the field by betting 900 into the pot. Every one folds up to the equally stacked guy to the right who goes all-in. Without even thinking, I call – big mistake. The turn brings a Kd, making a flush possible, the river coughs up a 7h, pairing the board. All cards on the board were higher than my measly 44, and it was no surprise that both the small stack (Qc6d) and the big stack (Qh9h) have me beat.

It was pretty obvious that someone would have a fair chance of pairing above my fours on the flop already, but still, greedy for tiny stack’s chips, I went all the way. Too bad, my brain only kicked back into operation mode after calling… This mistake cost me a good chance of grabbing some of the money at the final table as I left in 12th place.

Now, it’s not my style to get upset over hickups like that. It’s all part of the process of improving my play. I’ve still got a long way to go, but leaving in shame has taught me a valuable lesson.

The moral of the story: Whenever I even want to consider going all-in with low pocket pairs, I should have a lot of support from the board, or at the very least be heads up with a desperate tiny stack… Well, at least, I was able to get a couple of laughs out of the players who couldn’t believe that I, having played fairly solid until then, would go kamikaze on a measly low pp. This probably is one of the many trademarks of a new player, getting a bit too excited about cards that belong in the muck.

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