(4) Spread Versus the Tilt

As I sit at a nearly full table with paycheck in hand I’m getting a (4) Texas Hold’em table demoralization. If you know me by now you know that sitting at a poker table demoralizes you. It’s a feeling of trying so hard and thinking your doing the best you can when all you see are thousands of dollars in the pot.

When I come to recognize the familiar refrain of “that’s poker” I realize this table couldn’t be further from my current comfortable home in agambling. This is despite the fact that this particular tournament poses more than a little challenge.

I’ll try to kill two birds with one stone. Of course, I have to first recognize that many of these live players are being reckless, and secondly that there is some weak opposition, and that I may have to play marginal hands. Strong hands I’ll play, small hands I’ll fold. But, I’ll try to be more selective in the hands I play where I have a big advantage.

One of the reasons I’m going to try to be more selective and why this is agonizing over chips in the low single figures is this…

When you’re in the lower levels, there’s nothing giving you leverage. You make your money by improving your hand and by being patient. You wait for a good hand to try and be the aggressor to get those big pots you can win and add to your chip total.

The higher your level, the higher the competitors and the more you will have at least an edge over your opponents, possibly one that over time will prevail.

How selective is the “good” money?

400% of the pot…think Chris Moneymaker ( Thanks, Chris!)

By playing exclusively the kind of hands professionals play ( AA, AK, AK, AK, depending on your level and opponents) you will lose most of the time. Since so many players at every level will call you, you will very likely lose most of these hands too.

So if you can’t safely play the low single digits, the whole time, in fact EVERY hand, in the hopes of winning a big pot. Think about this.

When you’re risking $10 to win $100, you’re taking the risk most of the time anyway… in hold’em.

So instead of losing $10, why not try to win $100. Or even $200. I don’t care if it’s mad, you know why you’re doing it, why do you care?

Because when you’re playing poker and you’re risking money to win more money, IT’,S more fun.

It felt great to get that $200 bucks on the river after you were card dead and everyone limped into you. Limping into a pot nobody has anything and the only way you can win is to have a strong hand.

It was almost as if your opponent was trying to lead you to that hand, and it just wouldn’t happen. Sigh.

Now, if you’re a poker player and you’re kind of lazy, or you’re just bored, you can do what I did. Just load some comfort money into your account. Play the game from the comfort of your own home. Play in your favorite chair, in the car, in the kitchen, in the park, at the pool… heck, in anywhere you want, as long as you’re still able to get into a tournament with a few hundred bucks in your pocket.

But, if you’re the kind of player who has to have a job, or needs a second income, then I love to hear about people who earn over a hundred thousand a year playing poker.

If you’re not ready to jump into a larger stakes game, betting lower levels will allow you to fence sit for a while and game/strategy pick up. Folding many hands, you’ll save a lot of money, and you’ll hardly ever have to see a full pot go into the pot again.

If you were playing in your local card room on a Saturday night, you know that the minimum buy-in is generally $20.00. You can’t really play your cards, but you also need to play with a bit of an edge. Plus, you’re likely to throw some money in the ring and occasionally someone’ll call in your favor when you have a great hand.

If you have a solid strategy, experienced enough, you can Sheet your opponent a full ten or twelve times and still come out on top.

So, find your spots and be ready to make some profits. You can even take my advice and at the poker rooms. I’ve made a lot of money playing poker, but it isn’t a job. I do however get paid and have fun.

You need to have fun, and you need to make money.