Mama, bless her memory, said many years ago when I was in my late teens: “Sometimes you have to quit while you are ahead.”
Today, we will explore another piece of her advice:
“Sometimes it’s wise to make a change.”
Of course, Mama was referring to matters that have nothing to do with poker. As a matter of fact, Mama never played poker. At the time, my romance with my boyfriend was on shaky ground. We got into lots of arguments, in hindsight, often over the most foolish issues. And we both became upset.
We did try to work it out; even spoke to a psychologist friend of the family. We thought we were following her guidance; but the quarrels continued. That’s when I discussed the matter with Mama. I always valued her advice. She was the greatest! I am sure she knew I was troubled emotionally. For one thing, I rarely smiled around the house, and my appetite wasn’t what it used to be.
So, yes, this advice related to my love life. Still, as I have learned over the years, like so many things in life, I certainly can apply Mama’s wisdom to the game of poker. In this case, she suggested: “Sometimes it’s wise to make a change.”
Let me explain. It was not a good poker session for me.
The cards had not been going well for me this evening. I’m sure it has happened to you, too. You believe you are using the right strategies and tactics, and making accurate decisions; nevertheless, the poker gods seem to have shunned you.
When you are dealt a good starting hand like K-Q (a premium drawing hand), most of the time the flop seems to pass you by. And then, when you finally get a favorable piece of the flop (K-10-2) and play aggressively all the way to the river, betting and raise with top pair (two Kings), what do you think happens?
You guessed it! An Ace falls on the river, and an opponent with a lonely Ace-rag offsuit beats you out. Sure, if he were a half-way decent player he would have folded long before, but he doesn’t have an inkling of the relationship between card odds and pot odds.
He probably never heard that chasing was sure to make you a loser. Phil Hellmuth would have shouted at him, “Idiot!”
I hate to get rivered. Sure, it’s part of the game; but does it have to happen to me – over and over again?
Patience didn’t help
Sure, we all know you need to have patience when playing poker. But there has to be a limit to one’s patience. How long should you wait? Certainly, not until you go broke!
What’s the best thing you can do in such a case? That’s easy! Either call it a night and go home (tomorrow is bound to be a better day for you – you hope) or follow Mama’s advice: “Sometimes it’s wise to make a change.”
Change to another table, perhaps one with different stakes. But, in so doing, play cautiously the first orbit or two to study the new table. What kind of players are there? Is the table too tight or too aggressive? Make sure it’s to your liking.
Personally, I prefer loose-passive games. That way I can comfortably invest in drawing hands – especially since most starting-hands will be drawing hands that usually must improve to win the pot at the showdown. (Made hands – A-A, K-K, and Q-Q – are so rare.)
Ideally, you will enjoy your fair share of good starting-hands, like K-Q, that connect on the flop. You can expect to pair up one of three times. Then, you can focus on building “your” pot – unless you get rivered again. In that case, it’s wise to make a change! Time to quit and go home.
I can apply Mama’s wisdom to the game of poker
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