This blog is about my poker journey as far as I recall it (and I can guarantee, that I don’t recall all of it). If you came looking for the right cold 4-betting frequencies in a CO vs BTN vs SB spots – I’m sorry to disappoint you, you find none of that here. On the other hand, if you need some tips how-to blow-up bankrolls without any recollections, you may have found your spot.
So there I was, smoked filled room smelled of sweat, gin and cocaine. Creedence clearwater’s “Fortunate son” was playing in the background. Cards edges around my fingers felt unusually sharp as I looked at my opponent. “Pot!” He declared instantly. As the dealer was calculating chips, I took a quick glance at him: there was no fear. That was to be expected though, he had just downed his fifth shot of whiskey with a line that would make even Charlie Sheen blush. “Nine thousand euros”, the dealer told. Huge rush of adrenaline entered my bloodstream, my heartrate skyrocketed, vision got blurry, and for the briefest of times I was somewhere else. This is what I live for. These moments when the time seems to stand still. Everything is moving in slow-motion and one breath feels like an eternity. I’m an addict – and this man had just given me the needle.
It’s never been about the money for me. I am what you would probably call a degenerate (and hey -fuck you for calling me that). Guys like me should already be done for in the modern world of internet poker. To be honest, I have no other explanation for my survival than my immerse talent and a huge pair of hairy balls (only two lies in the last five words – I’m on a roll). See, I got in to this when I was fourteen. Now, twelve years later, I have made the impossible: not matured a one bit.
I believe that too many of us are lost in boring ordinary 9-to-5. For me life isn’t about wealth or social acceptance. It’s about feeling something. It’s only fun if it really hurts failing. When the stakes are so high you have a little cry after a losing session. When you have to pick yourself up from the ground over and over again, when you watch Sylvester Stallone giving you the “it’s not how many times you get hit down, it’s how many times you get up” speech. It’s the “You’re lemons” speech by Al Pacino. It’s everything and it’s nothing. For me the only meaning and purpose of life is experiencing it to the fullest. And no, just a steady comfortable uphill won’t do it, you got to have excruciating downs to have the world changing highs. You got to pay the price to truly feel something. See, this game does numb you a bit. And it might make you a bit different. It does also help you to think logically and make decision making easy – oh and also spot live tells (very handy with women sometimes, or, you know, with people in general)
The chorus brought me back to present. ” Okay, so we still have over 50k behind, implied odds are too great. I have to make the call”, I thought. Of course I knew it already, I had known it before he made the bet. I looked at my cards: King of spades, 8 of diamonds, 7 of spades and 6 of diamonds. The board was J87A with a spade draw. I had two pairs and the best possible flush draw. I knew I had around 30% to hit my draw (to full house or to a flush) against a man who is pretty much always going to pot the river also, that’s where implied odds come in play. See, to call all in worth of 9k you need 33,3% equity (in this case: 9 in the pot + 9k opponent bet -> you’re risking 9k to win 18k more, so you only need to win the pot 1/3 of the time for the call to be neutral EV.) We had more money behind though – a lot more money. “Call” I said, as I gently nodded to the dealer. “Call, dealing the river”, he replied.
Then I sat there, my eyes fixed in dark part of the room and relaxed, as my left hand sat firmly over my right shoulder. There is a logical purpose for this: when you see something you like, your pupils usually dilate, and since I’m not wearing shades (those are for pussies) I rather wait for the dealer to shout out the river card than look for it myself. As I’m to looking at the darker part in the room my pupils are already somewhat dilated and hence the difference is harder to spot. My left hand is over my right shoulder, not only to bring me balance which minimizes any involuntary body movement, but also to cover my neck in case he tries to spot my pulse.
“And the river is…”