Maybe limit just wasn’t my game, or so I reasoned. I had a cynical outlook–it was all just a fucking crapshoot. Playing solid tight-aggressive poker pre-flop wasn’t sufficient enough for anything more than a small edge. There was zero nuance or creativity in post-flop play* because nobody paid attention–they just played their hand and smashed the call button if they had a non-0% chance of winning. I didn’t want to be patient anymore. It had been a month of going nowhere. It wasn’t validating my talent or intelligence.
*I would later learn how wrong I was to think that… which I will detail in the next part.
Back to my Roots
I re-directed my focus to the $5 Sit’N’Go tournaments (SNG’s). It felt right.
- I adjusted my play to how expensive the blinds were getting relative to the chips on the table.
- I’d avoid over-committing without a big hand and only probe with small bets to steal small-medium pots in early stages.
- I wasn’t going to 3-barrel my entire stack to some random dude I’ve never seen play just to be a hero.
- I would steal blinds in late position and be aware of others who were doing it to me (and counter attack by expanding my range to 3-bet, if necessary)
- I was cognizant of the gap theory: If the hand is raised when it gets to you, you need a better hand to call than you would need if you were the one making the raise.
- I avoided sub-optimal late game/short-stack decisions, like calling for a flop when pot committed or limping pre-flop when short-handed.
I finished slightly up that first day and felt encouraged.
And so did Mr. Variance.
I kept playing.
I kept bubbling out in 4th.
It was like I was playing a recording of the same SNG over and over and over again. Early on, I’d get some playable hands pre-flop that didn’t hit. By the middle stage when the blinds start to mean something, my stack would bleed away while I endure several rounds without a pot. Then I get to the bubble and somehow, the other short stack improbably manages to survive multiple all-in’s. Then I’d have to flip for my entire stack and Pokerstars gives me the one-sided coin–heads they win, tails I lose.
Seeing that zero in my account… it was all I could think about. It was a mark of failure.
Wait no, I’m not.
Reload it baby.