Slow Down, You Move to Fast.
It takes time to assess the lay of the land at a poker table. Said another way, it's going to take at least a half dozen orbits of the table to figure out who's who. Who is playing tight and who is loose? Who is aggressive, who is passive? Who's playing the part of a turtle in a fragile shell, and who is taking no prisoners? We all know that poker is a game of people played with cards, right? Well, if you don't actually take the time to figure out the tendencies of those people-- well, you're just guessing. And guessing ain't poker. At least not winning poker, that is.
I played a short 45-minute session last night as part of a simple bankroll building exercise I'm doing. One of the very first things I did wrong was get married to TPTK out of position early in the session against an unknown short stacker. He cold called out of the blind against my LP open, then went into check-call mode. By the time I was on fifth street I had no idea if I was ahead or behind on the rainbow board, but I had enough left behind to put pressure on the opp with a pot sized bet. Dumb. Villain snapped called and turned over a flopped set. In the ensuing 45 minutes I saw this passive villain call down with exactly two other hands, each the near mortal nuts. He was the very definition of a lowstakes nit, trying to see cheap flops regardless of position, and then playing a super passive fit-or-fold approach. If he made it past the flop you could bet he had at least two pair. If he didn't, then you were good-- even with air.
It took me nearly 30 minutes to dig my way out to book a small overall win for the session. It would/could have been a much bigger profit if I hadn't dug that hole right off the bat against this knowable unknown. Slow down and figure out your opponents before getting all your money into the middle. Your bankroll will thank you.
All-in for now...