It’s all Greek to me

Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard you try there is no justice in poker

I examined every move and how each would be perceived

The Greek god Apollo was in charge of many things: medicine and healing, light, truth and archery. He was also a bringer of death-dealing plague. Well, nobody’s perfect. Inscribed into the forecourt of his temple in the ancient city of Delphi were the words ‘gnothi seauton’, which translates into our humble language as ‘know thyself’.

Remember those words each time you peer down at your hole cards, because if there’s one thing which could potentially rain bankroll-crushing pestilence upon you it’s not knowing your own game. Are you an aggressive player? If you know that you are then others probably will, too, so you’ll need to be watchful of when others are trapping. Likewise, if you’re as tight as Russell Brand’s trousers, then you should appreciate that other players will try to steal pots from you with impunity.

Thinking about the notion of knowing thyself I recently played a $200 online tournament where I truly examined every move I made and how each would be perceived. Like many players I sometimes get into trouble trying to extract ‘maximum value’ with strong hands on dangerous boards so I consciously avoided that shortfall by fast-playing everything, including a set of Aces. The self-examination upped my game and at the time I busted out my stats showed I’d won 100% of pots that had gone to showdown and 17 other pots unchallenged.

Nevertheless, I ended up going out in the final third of the field when one of the tournament leaders decided to get frisky in the big blind. I was one of the shorter stacks and made a small raise in the small blind, which looked like a steal. Little did he know I was waiting with Kings. He came back over the top, I pushed all-in and, by now committed to calling the extra few hundred chips, he called with Kd-4d. Naturally, he made a flush on the river. Such is life.

It just goes to show that you can make the right moves, get your money in with a hand that you’ll win nine times out of 10 and still get burnt. It’s frustrating of course, but if you go in with a gameplan which suits how you play, then more often than not, it will be you feasting like a god and the other fella eating felt.

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