Monday, August 07, 2006

Long, long ago, I played in a small tournament at the Desert Inn. Myself and two other players had traded shares and me and one of them busted out at about the same time. We started a 1-3, 6 on the end stud game while we waited to see if our other horse got any money.

It turned in to a very wild game that lasted three days. I subsisted on poker room hot dogs and sponge baths in the restroom for those three days.

One player announced that he intended to lose $8,000 before he want back to Kansas City. Yes, this was a $1 to $3 spread limit, with a 1-6 spread on the river bet.

What he did was raise every bet blind until 5th street, then he'd look at his hole cards. He did that very hand.

I got a set on the guys left, and my freind sat on my left. I've since learned that was bad seat selection, but the popular wisdom at the time was to sit on the maniacs left.

I won't go into all the strategic blunders I made in the game, it was so long ago and lasted so long that I don't really remember any particular hand anyway.

But all my blunders, and my bad seat choice were all based on a single mistake. A mistake in thinking.

I was thinking in terms of winnig his money. Not winning money, but winning his money. There is a huge difference.

After three days my freind and I left. The maniac had lost $4,000. I won $57. My friend lost $9. I learned in important lesson about the importance of thinking about the table, not just thinking about the maniac.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted (actually my first) at rec.gambling about strategy to counteract a hyperaggressive player. Glad I could spark your memory. For what it's worth, I never meant to nor did I express a desire to obsessively focus on making the aggros life miserable, nor focus solely on getting his money...just was looking for some general advice/playing strategies vs. that type of player

2:12 PM  
Blogger chip_up said...

Brilliant story. Very zen. Suppose you sat at that table today. Where would you sit (and why)? What would you be thinking? How would you maintain that focus?

12:15 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Anybody who sits on his left is probably going to make the same huge mistake I did. Whenever I had better than a random hand I tried to isolate him.

Of course it never worked. But, if you think I"m stupid now, you should have seen me 25 years ago. When it didn't work I'd just do it again but try harder (or something).

So sit on his right. Let the other's fight over trying to isolate him and just wait until you have a strong hand.

In hold'em you can jam it up with marginal hands in a wild game because you're hand will be well defined before the next betting round. Not so in stud. In stud you'll only get one more card before the next betting round.

So when things are wild you need to be much more selctive in stud.

I'd be thinking about the other players. For 3 days I didn't do that.

When my friend (Steve) and I left it was because I looked up and say a table of young guys with sunglasses, all fresh out of the shower, with ironed shirts, sitting up straight.

I poked Steve in the ribs and said "look at those guys".

He, also for the first time, looked at the lineup, and said, "Jesus Christ, it's a just a bunch of vultures sitting on a strand of bob wire waiting the pick the skin off our bones".

"Let's go".

As far as maintaining the focus for three days -- I'd do more drugs.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

To anoymous.

I made a long response in a new post in this blog.

Basically you did express what you claim you didn't express.

The words you pick will color the way you think. And it will lead you down the wrong path.

7:15 AM  

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