Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Death by a Thousand Cards


/crabbiness on/

Now that the WSOP is over (well, at least until November), it seems everyone and their uncle wants to report on how they busted from the series. It doesn't matter if it was the $10K Main Event or a $200 daily deepstack event-- I've read about a dozen articles and have listened to a number of podcasts about all manner of people that played in Vegas over the past month and a half, and a  majority of them are saying basically the same thing when explaining why they busted from their respective tournament: "I was card dead for hours" or "I had a great table but the cards just didn't come" or "I was blinded down by a cold deck" or "The deck was colder than a witches tit in a brass bra an IRS agent's heart."

This is all fine and good, but these descriptions all strike me as nothing more than glorified bad beat stories. Oh, look at me. I lost because the cards didn't come. Boo hoo.

Is there anything more sad/pathetic/boring than a bad beat story? My old poker coach literally used to demand a dollar whenever/if I whined about a bad beat. News flash: We all get bad beats and coolers. That's just poker, folks. You agreed to the possibility when you signed up for this silly game. Yes, in a tournament a bad beat or cooler often means your tournament life comes to an end-- but again: you knew that was a possibility going in. Quit whining about it. The cards weren't coming, so you made the mistake of waiting until you were blinded down-- and only then made a stand. And then lost. And then had to leave. And then blogged about your bad luck.

I repeat: boo hoo.

The truth for most of these folks is that they let themselves get blinded down waiting for those mythical cards to come. Maybe I'm just cranky this morning, but I really don't have patience for people who blame their tournament bust-outs on being card dead. Cards don't matter (much) in big tournaments. Phil Ivey gets coolered just as often as you do. Phil Hellmuth gets bad beaten just a much-- in fact, probably more often than you. Vanessa Selbst goes card dead just a frequently as you. Annette O. sometimes plays without even looking at her cards.

And guess what? These pros all still manage to go deep and win.

Let's repeat that hidden gem again: your cards really, truly, honestly don't matter much. Seriously.

Uh, okay Bug. What exactly does matter? If my cards don't matter, what does?

Answer: Situations.

The thing the Phils and the Vanessas (and of course the cute-as-a-button Annettes) do so much better than you or I is they wait for situations, not cards. In fact, they actively seek out situations to attack. They aren't waiting for magical cards; instead they're actively probing for weaknesses in their opponents. They're looking for situations, not cards. They're chipping up. They're slicing and dicing. They're paying attention and REDi'ing and attacking and putting their opponents on the defensive. They're doing this constantly while you and I wait for the deck to heat up. The pro's cards don't matter. Instead, what matters are the cards of their opponents. They literally are making their opponents wait for the mythical cards while they themselves build their own stack by taking advantage of situations.

Now let's repeat that gem: They are NOT waiting for cards to come. If they bust, it's because they were situation dead, not card dead.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Now back to your regular programming.

/crabbiness off/

All-in for now...
-Bug

1 comment:

  1. I think players don't like to remember the time they donked off chips when they should not have. They don't like to remember the time when they missed an opportunity to win chips they weren't entitled to. So, they do remember they were card dead, or had a bad beat (or two). Probably just human nature.

    Here is an article about top 10 bad beats:

    http://www.pokernews.com/news/2009/03/pokernews-top-ten-big-event-bad-beats-1285.htm

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