Wednesday, September 2, 2009

trying to sort out luck vs. skill.

A third place finish tonight, then a bombout. That's a losing session, and right where I've been the past four months.

Isidious game. I can't tell anymore if this is a downswing, or if I'm simply not that good. And the experts will tell you that there's no way to tell - not with a sample size of "only" 700 tourneys. The luck and the skill are so intertwined that you really can't figure it out.

Here are three examples from tonight. Maybe writing them out will help me decide if my luck is simply bad or if I'm making mistakes.

I steal-raise from the button with A5o. I would have folded to a shove from either blind. The small blind calls the raise. Nice flop for me - A85 rainbow - two pair on a draw-less board. The small blind shoves all in. I make the call. He has AJ, I'm well ahead, but an 8 comes on the turn and counterfeits me.

Bad luck, right? 6 outs to beat me - 24%. I'm a 3-1 favorite to win the hand when I call. So the call is good, I just got unlucky. Fine.

An orbit later, I've got 890 left. It folds to me in the small blind. I've got 7h8h and 9BB. I usually wait a bit longer before getting all shovey-shovey, but I'm playing a turbo on UB, and the next blind level is 75/150, which will cripple me. I take my shot and shove, and get insta-called by 99, to which I'm completely hosed. Out in sixth place.

Bad play? I wasn't totally desperate yet, but I'm in a turbo and will be very soon. I haven't been shoving my chips around - he's not going to call me light. And he didn't call me light- he called me with 99. More bad luck that he woke up with a hand, or should I have folded and waited for at least one high card to shove?

Hand 3, from the prior tourney. We're down to 3 handed. I have witnessed the guy to my right minraising several times, mixed in with regular raising. One time, he minraised and got shoved over by a tiny stack, and had odds to call with any two cards. He had 85o! Ok, so now my read is minraise=steal.

Back to three handed - same guy minraises over me. I've got two ducks on the pond - pocket deuces. I decide to test him out a bit - I reraise 3x over his raise. Then the big blind shoves. Oops. I've got like 4-1 odds to call, so I do. He has pocket sevens and I don't improve. This makes me the small stack and I go out after a brief fight.

More bad luck, right? I had a read and went with it, then the big blind wakes up with a better hand than I have and nails me. Or, should I just fold the crappy pocket twos and wait for something better? It's not like I was willing to play the deuces to the end - my reraise was more of a steal-reraise than anything, but then I got stuck being forced to call the all-in by the guy with the sevens.

I'll admit that I didn't consider the possibility of him raising all-in behind me. Good players would figure that out before deciding whether to try the reraise steal.. But even if I had considered it, I think would have come to the determination that I would be getting good odds with a hand that will usually be racing if the big blind decides to shove - and my call would be a good one. I think the math says that the steal attempt is ok.

But I can't tell for sure.

My ego is not in the way here. I'm willing to admit that I suck, if in fact I do. I'm willing to continue to learn and try to improve. I want to get better.


Memphis MOJO said...

I think you're going through that variance thing, only smacking you in the face instead of going through might be more accurate.

Full Tilt Rakeback said...

Of course, yes!!! Luck matters a lot in every field either it is gaming or it is reality. No doubt you've tried it here in different variant way, what did you think after the research over it. Which you'll give preference? Skill or Luck. I'll go for both.