Terrence Chan

follow me as I play poker and look for new ways to get punched in the face

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My World Series of Errors
terrencechan
On the surface, my WSOP has been pretty uninteresting. Because I missed much of it (including many of my best events) due to the Stanley Cup Finals, I've only played 11 events through Event #47 today. I have one small cash (105th for $6153) and am down 8.53 buy-ins or $30347. Overall, a pretty mediocre series but far from a bad one.

I am, however, very upset at myself in terms of how I've played in the WSOP. Like the Canucks team I followed in the postseason, at times I have been lights out and made great decisions. But I've also blundered tremendously on a number of occasions. This is really concerning to me. This is actually very rare behaviour for me. Throughout my poker career I feel as though I've been a paragon of consistency. I feel like I was never really the best, but I never really tilted and never made grievous blunders. I was just fairly good, all the time. But I've made a lot of fuckups in this WSOP. In the 3k PLO event I made errors on two separate hands based on stack size; in one I failed to re-raise with aces when I could have gotten about 40% of my stack in the middle, and on the other I re-raised myself off the winning hand because I miscounted my opponent's stack. Given that managing stack sizes is a key aspect of pot-limit these are pretty unforgivable mistakes.

I was very excited to play today's 10k 6-max. I knew it would be a tough field but a beatable one for me if I played well, and I knew I'd have to play well. There would be no danger of me spewing off chips like a maniac out of boredom like in the $1000 or $1500 tournaments. And today I probably played over 500 hand and am happy with my decisions on 498 of them. (I had a hand where I folded QQ and was shown AK, but given available information at the time I thought it was a reasonable decision.) In the moments leading to my bustout hand I was annoyed to have not many chips, but yet proud that I had played well to still be here despite the things that went against me. But my bustout hand was simply embarrassing, as I just fucked up basic arithmetic and thought I was getting the right price on a call that I wasn't.

It's very annoying, because poker is getting tougher year after year, and so the margin of error shrinks smaller and smaller. The types of mistakes I am making are just so avoidable and so careless. It would almost be better if I were just a weaker poker player and simply wasn't equipped to beat these tournaments. But that's not the case. I honestly do feel that I am good enough to be anywhere from a solid to a big favourite in these fields. But if I just continue to shoot myself in the foot doing making horrible inattentive blunders, then what can my edge actually be? It does no good to play lights-out poker and carve out an extra few blinds worth of ev here and there yet occasionally make huge blunders that cost heaps of them. It's like being a pro blackjack player who can memorize a super-complex system, side track aces, knows all the count adjustments, gets deep penetration, but randomly screws up and doubles on hard 13 -- all those accumulated edges just get nullified in one shot.

It's actually been a very very long time since I was truly frustrated with poker. I simply don't play enough of it these days for that to really happen. One benefit of this is that I'm a lot fresher and I have a much more positive attitude when I go into tournaments, and I think that counts for a lot. But it is also possible that some of these big blunders are manifestations of table rust. Or maybe it could be my sleep (which has been extremely poor during this WSOP), or any number of other factors. One thing I do know is that there are only about 3-5 tournaments left on my 2011 WSOP schedule, so I'd really like to at least make it deep in one of them and be able to say that I played every hand well. Even though I don't really deserve it, I hope I get the chance to redeem myself.
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You do deserve the chance to redeem yourself.

Sleep matters more than we think, I think.

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