Monday, January 17, 2011

Poker Pleasure and Pain

I won £120 playing poker online on Friday evening. The fact that I bought in for £0, having won my entry in a little sky poker promotion, only served to increase the pleasure I took from the win. I didn't play particularly well but the cards were kind to me and many of the players were making very hopeful bets. I was in a very good mood for the weekend.

I returned to the tables on Sky on Saturday night playing in a £5.75 tourney with a top price of about £100. I was ripping them up. Once the field had been reduced to about 10, I was in first place. I was dealt AJ on the button. Flop came xJx. I had it all in against one opponent by the turn. He turns over J6. He has 3 outs. In other words I'm the 94% favourite to win. But his 6 comes on the river making a sizeable dent in my stack.

A few hands later I'm up against the same guy. This time I have KQs, He has J5. After seeing a flop of KQ5, he moves all in. I, of course, call - and this time I'm all-in. The turn doesn't help him. So on the river he needs one of two 5's remaining -  just two outs this time, about a 4% chance against my hand. He's hits his 5, giving him trips against my two pair. I'm out.

I seem to do better at Poker when I approach it as a sport and get really absorbed into the game. But I can't have the pleasure of winning without risking the pain of losing. And it does hurt to lose.

The win on Friday night really helped me shrug off my bad beat, though.

So here's my pearl of wisdom for this weekend's poker: winning immunises against the negative psychological impacts of losing. A stunning insight, I'm sure you'll agree.

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