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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Online Poker Challenges - A Poker Blogger's Long, Cold Winter

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It was a tough month for me in online poker.

This is nothing new. Most of my months were tough last year. It was a tough year, in fact. And if I had not played live last year, I would have been in a big hole (for me, anyway, it's not like I'd have to sell the house or even pull any money out of our checking account).

I have tried to take this bad streak in stride for several reasons.

I'm playing well live and winning a lot of money both in tournaments and in ring games. A session at the MGM, for instance, paid for my trip out in Vegas in December. But we both know players are weaker live than they are online. Given that, I'm aware that the online game is tougher than it's ever been before. There are still fish out there, but they're hard to find.

I also know this will only make me a better player. And I finally know that bad luck will eventually even out, and if I continue to play well (and I did play well this month, which wasn't always the case during this bad streak), I will start winning.

At least I think so. Here are a few highlights.

Jan. 1


I played Omaha on PokerStars and lost early on when I shoved with top set against a pair of Kings and a flush draw. The draw, of course, got there on the river. Regardless, I play .10/.25 Omaha because you have to be comfortable with huge swings when you play that game, and that level, I am comfortable. I also lose with my AAA to KKK all in pre-flop.

But later a couple sets turn into full houses and players think their flushes are good against paired boards things are OK. The play is better but not always on Omaha tables. I break even for the night.

Jan. 9

I do not break even tonight, as I haven't the last few nights, while playing Omaha. Three more of my opponents go all-in with flush draws against me and hit every time. I finally try the same thing with a set and a flush draw, and my opponent has a higher set.
I don't mind the higher set. That happens a lot in Omaha. What's infuriating is my flush draw doesn't get there to bail me out, and I lose another buy-in.

This is a losing streak personified. When opponents hit their flush draws against you, and you don't hit yours, you're going to run bad.

Jan. 13


I play in a H.O.R.S.E. tournament run by Ante Up! - a weekly podcast I've enjoyed for several years. I play well in Razz, stealing several times when I could see I had the lowest card showing, even if I had crap underneath, but I do not play well in the other Stud games because I'm not very good at those. I finished 34/57 players, but because it's a limit tournament, I played for more than four hours, and that's well worth my $20.
Sometimes I wish I had more time for tournaments because even if I don't cash, I usually get at least a couple hours of play, and that's well worth, say, $10 or even $20. It's a much better loss rate than what I've turned in on the cash tables lately. LOL.
But, alas, I can't stay up until 1 a.m., so I'm relegated to cash games because I can leave whenever I want.

Jan. 21

I decide to give Rush Poker a try on Full Tilt. I write more about that in this week's Online Poker Round-up. You've probably heard of it by now. But generally it's fast-paced poker action where you are moved to a new table as soon as you fold or win a pot. So it's almost like you're multi-tabling even when you're not.

My losing streak really gets the best of me here. My Q-Q loses to A-K pre-flop when I knew the guy had A-K and I called his all-in bet and the King on the turn does me in. I hit a set (finally, I've been cold lately) and get a guy with tens to go all-in on the flop, only for him to hit his higher set on the turn. Another flush draw hits against me.
I play another session the next day to the same results.

One positive was I was getting in my money ahead almost all of the time, and I'm encouraged by that. Bad luck will eventually run out, but playing well should eventually mean good results.

One thing I'll have to think about: I think pairs in my hand are a leak. I refuse to believe the guy has it even when there are overcards out there. That's bush league. I think this will eventually be solved when I start hitting sets again. I think I'm getting frustrated when I don't hit over and over and I just don't want to let the hand go.

One other thing I need to do, I think, is three-bet more often when I've got a pair I'll have trouble letting go after the flop. If I have, say, Q-Q, and I don't re-raise before the flop, I don't really know where I stand after the flop. But if I make a guy call my re-raise, I can narrow his range down considerably, in my mind. And if he shoves on me, I can probably fold, easily putting him on K-K or A-A.

Jan. 23

I played a live tournament tonight. Live poker is so much fun. I also hit several two-pairs and a set and that gave me yet another cash out of 14 players. I'm running really well in live poker to make up for the bad run I'm on online.

I did play a little more Rush Poker, and I've got a little note here to myself after that session. If you take out the swear words, basically it says to quit playing passively and to stop, um, "messing" around with marginal hands. I will admit, sometimes my boredom or frustration (or both) makes me make plays I would never do live because live poker always has my complete attention.

I did do one thing right. I was more aggressive with my bigger pairs, usually three-betting a raise, and every time the other player folded.

But I've got a serious leak with my impatience. And it's one I'm going to address today. I'm excited about Rush Poker. Let's see how I do next month playing it.

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