Poker is like baseball. I’ve always wanted to be good at baseball. I’m just fast, strong, and talented enough to compete… at poker. The good news is either sport is accesible to the fat and lazy. I’ve given up my dream of being Steve Guttenberg. Now I’m the John Kruk of poker and dammit I’m looking for food.
As a 12 year old kid, I was a Little League All Star. I’m not totally sure why. I wasn’t the best pitcher in the league… but I was pretty good. I wasn’t a great hitter, no power at all, but I made good contact. I coundn’t steal second with a 9 year old catcher and an underhanded pitcher. Still, I was the perfect utility schlep. They put me sixth in the lineup and out in left field.
I may have played the worst baseball of my life slot gacor that postseason. I never hit for power, but now, I just hit blooper flies. Yet, because of my size, the outfielders gave me room and almost all the bloopers fell. I never hit for extra bases but had more hits than anyone. We won the division, the region, and went all the way to state. It’s a long bus ride to Murray, Kentucky. Actually, 5 minutes in Murray, Kentucky is a very long time. That’s another story.
The point is, even though I played lousy baseball, I was very sucessful. I had the game-winning late-inning hit several times. I led the team as a hitter. It’s sad but true. Nobody really understands. Baseball is like that. Sometimes hard hit balls land in someone’s glove… and garbage bumpers from the tip of the bat drop for wins. String together enough crappy bloops and lousy players are lauded for skill while better players become goats.
Really, that’s part of the beauty of baseball.
In poker this delusion of competence is dangerous to one’s wallet. And unlike baseball with its billions of statistical qualifiers, poker is measured in simple black or red. If you won money you MUST’VE played well. It is a game of skill after all.
Granted, we all KNOW that isn’t true. But how do I know for sure when I am, and am not, playing well. What is the most accurate measure? It isn’t money.
Last night, I bought into a .50/$1 $100NL game at Blood’s. I sat in at 12:30 and left when the game broke at 2AM. I cashed out at $503.00. I played like absolute crap.
I did make a few good calls, mostly against TheMark and 8-ball Tiltstien. Both have a tendency to make pot size steal bets on missed draws. On several hands I could wait, TheMark was just to my left, and if I had a good read, wait for the bet and win. Still, the two biggest pots of my night were pure suck city.
I have 88 on the button. The entire table limps around and I pop it to $5. Only TheMark calls.
The flop is 2,4,9 rainbow and Mark checks. I bet $12 and he smooth calls.
The turn is a 6, putting a second diamond on the board. Mark bets $20 and I raise to $50. He pushes and I call. He has Q9. I am dominated.
Guess what the river was?
My set of 8s is good. I double up with a 2-outer.
I have no defense of my play here. None. It was obvious he had me beat, or it should have been, but for some reason I thought my turn bet would close the hand. Once he pushed I had no choice but to call. The suckout was dumb.
I have K9o in BB and TheMark straddles it to $2. I call and Mark pops it another $5… which I also call.
The flop is 10, 4, J. I check and Mark bets $6. I call. I have one over and a gutshot. It’s a garbage call.
The turn is a brick. I check and Mark bets $15. I have ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO CALL… BUT…
The river is a queen. I have a straight 9 to K. I bet $25. Mark raises to $75. I push for $200 MORE… Mark calls. His 2 pair is no good and I have yet another MASSIVE suckout win.
I finished up big. And didn’t feel good about it.
I’ve struggled to put my poker game into context lately. I THINK I’m a pretty good play, albeit one prone to lapses in concentration. I’ve had a bad session or two lately and at least one of them was due to a total loss of focus. But how do I know where I really stand?
I suppose the obvious answer lies in my long term win rate. I am a winning player overall. But because the quality of opponents, the stakes, the games, and such are always changing it’s not as if all wins come from all games. Instead it is possible that I win consistently against some players and lose consistently against others.
I need to know my batting average, my on base percentage, and my OPS. Actually, those numbers can lie too.
I think I’m OK at poker. But I have no idea.
At least, by now, I know I suck at baseball.