Four Steps to Tilt
Here is a sequence from about 2 weeks ago, near the beginning of a $1,500 downswing for me where I was just running really bad. My bluffs got called, my value bets induced folds, I misread my opponents, when I got it in with an edge they seemed to hit their draws, and so on. It was ugly.
I’ve just joined this table ($1/2 NL) in the cutoff seat and posted the blind to start playing immediately. My very first hand is Ac2c. The player to my right raises to $7 over two limpers and I decide to call. The first limper (Seat 1) has a very short stack of $10.85 and ships it all in from UTG+1. The original raiser cannot re-raise since the all-in raise was only $3.85 which is less than his original raise of $5. He calls, I call and the BB also calls.
Flop ($46) – 5h 6d 8s. The original raiser (Seat 4) to my right bets $24, so I fold and the BB also folds. Now the cards are exposed:
Seat 1: Kc Jh – that’s right, he limp/shoved a short stack with Kojack offsuit. Better make a note of this for future reference.
Seat 4: Jc 9c – that’s right, with no side pot established, he blasted away on the flop and now finds himself dominated. Better make a note of this for future reference.
Turn – 3h
River – 4c
Seat 1 wins the pot and quadruples his tiny stack. Had Seat 4 just checked this down, realizing there is no reason to bet with his garbage in the absence of a side pot, I would have back-doored my way into a low straight and taken down this pot. Dangit.
Two hands later, Seat 1 gets into another pot and shoves on the river, inducing a fold. I was not involved, but make another note that he seems to be here to gamble, not necessarily to make money. That’s good for me; I’m here to make money, not to gamble. His stack is now up to $85.
Three more hands later, I get AA under-the-gun (i.e., immediate left of the Big Blind). I’m not a big fan of limping in this position as a way of slow-playing my Aces, so I make a pot-sized raise to $7. Seat 1 calls and the BB also calls.
Flop ($22) – Ts 9c 4h. BB checks, I bet $11 and both players call. What do I need to worry about here? Sets of tens, nines, or fours, or perhaps T9 making 2-pair. I don’t have a read on the Big Blind.
Turn ($55) – 4c. Now I’m less worried about a set of fours; if someone had quads, I’m gonna lose! Also no longer worried about T9 as the turn card gives me a stronger 2 pair. BB checks again. I bet half of the pot for $27.50 and Seat one ships in his last $65. That makes the pot $147.50 and it will cost me $37.50 to call. I’m getting pot odds of 3.9 : 1. That’s an easy call to make, especially given my observations about his play prior to this hand.
Seat 1: Qc 2c – that’s right, he called a pre-flop raise from the UTG player with Queen-deuce suited, then called $11 more on the flop with … absolutely nothing, and now shoves on the turn with effectively no fold equity on a paired board with just a naked flush draw. Wow-zer. Gotta love this game.
River ($185) – 8c. Seat 1 takes down the pot with his rivered flush.
I hate this game!
Two more hands later and I’m not directly involved in this one. Seat 3 goes all-in pre-flop with a short stack of $18.40 following a limp by Seat 1, and the BB and Seat 1 both call.
Flop (54.50) – 4h Jd 5c. BB bets $25, Seat 1 ships all in his stack which really should have been my stack dammit!!!) and BB snap calls.
BB: Qc Qs
Seat 1: Ah 9h – that’s right, another all-in raise with nothing.
Big Blind wins a $394.50 pot, and I’m just plain irritated to see my money moving around the table like this.
Three more hands later and Seat 1 has left the table… Although still irritated, I feel rational and stable. I get Kc Th in a middle position. UTG raises to $6 and I decide to call. To be sure, this is a very loose call and I acknowledge that to myself at the time. Broadway cards, but be careful. The Big Blind also calls.
Flop ($18) – Kd 5d Jc. I make top pair. UTG leads out for $15. Hmmm… I need to be careful here because I could be easily dominated by AK or KQ, or even covered by AA or KK. I decide to make the minimum raise to $30, to see where I stand and leaving $65 behind. If re-raised, I must fold. BB folds, and UTG fairly quickly shoves all-in and has me covered.
And THAT’S WHEN I TILTED!
My face felt flush and a wave of emotion rushed through me. My emotional intelligence book describes various feelings of anger, and they all hit at once: FURIOUS, ENRAGED, OUTRAGED, BOILING, IRATE, SEETHING, LOATHSOME, BETRAYED and so on.
I’ve only been at this table less than 2 orbits, watched some horrible play, lost a bad beat, my chips are being casually passed around the table and the biggest fish just left. Now I have top pair and I want to win this pot!
I call. (Wait! Why did I do that? I had a plan, remember? Raise/fold. There is no way I’m going to be ahead here. Grrr…)
The turn and river cards miss for me, and there goes the remainder of my $200 buyin.
Year-to-date online results: + $8,755
Month-to-date online results: – $164