POKER:  Patience & Position

By John Reger Contributing Writer

Right about the fourth hour of my latest session at the poker table was enough to drive any man insane. I was getting clobbered. Couldn't catch a cold, much less a hand, and I was getting irritated and impatient.
One hand I was dealt Q-10 spades and thought it held promise. It was about the best hand I had gotten in the time I had been sitting there, so I played it. The flop came and not only didn't I pair but no other spade hit the board. I played until the turn, and when a meaningless 4h came up I folded.
The very next hand I got the exact same cards. I thought, This is an omen. It was. No spades, no pairing, no nothing. I threw the cards in the muck and tried to settle my down my blood pressure.
It went like that for most of the night. I wasn't getting anything. At one point I even counted how many consecutive hands I received without getting a face card. I set a new record of 11.
Out of desperation I played 7-2 off-suit and couldn't believe it when the flop came 2, 2, 4. I was sitting with trips and played it aggressively. So did the big blind, and I figured he was protecting his blind.
I was wrong. He had a pair of fours in the hole and out-tripped my three of a kind. All I could do was laugh.
The laughter, though, was to hide my increasing anger. I am used to bad cards, but not for six hours. I would have thought I would have gotten a pair in the hole, or Ace, King or something.
It was demoralizing, and it was affecting my play. I was playing cards I wouldn't dream of playing, because I was so frustrated. It was taking a toll on my bankroll. I was throwing away money and was getting to a dangerous place in my mind.
After what seemed like my 100th beat on a hand, I had had enough. I was playing no-limit, and on the very next hand with 9-10 off-suit I pushed all in. Not only did one person call me, so did two others.
When the flop came K, K, 7, I knew I was in trouble. The next two cards did nothing for me, and I couldn't even pair the board. The winner had a full house.
It was time to go home, and there is no longer walk than the one from a poker table to your car when you have just busted out. The emotion is mostly anger, but there is some pity in there as well.
As tough as it was, I could have avoided the loss I took. Poker is all about patience and position, and I wasn't practicing either, especially the patience. I had to accept that I wasn't getting cards and play my position. You can usually have a certain amount of success if you play at the right times, regardless of what you have in your hand.
Here are a couple of things I could have done differently.
The first is I should have taken a break. Get up from the table, walk around, go in the bathroom, splash some water on your face, anything to break the monotony. When it is going bad, you just further it by not trying to change the momentum.
The other thing I could have done is play position better. When you are in no-limit, you have to play position effectively. If I have bad cards and I am on the button and only the blinds are left, I should have been more aggressive. That might not win me a lot of money, but it would be a win. Next time I will remember that.

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