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Strategery & The Art Of Humblocity

Strategery & The Art Of Humblocity

I'm not quite sure where I'm gonna go with this post, but just bear with me mmmmkay. Last night I ended up winning the Heads-Up Challenge and I'm still pretty much spent from it. Me thinks I'll be taking a few days off from poker to step back and look at my poker game. I became so focused on Heads-Up play that I'm sure the rest of my game has suffered a bit.

I had a great time playing the matches last night and there is no one I would have rather played with than GCox. I enjoyed playing each and every blogger that was in the challenge, but I've been able to spend more time chatting with G over time so it was a very comfortable match. I knew if I smacked him with a one outer it wouldn't be the end of the world, and vice versa.

All the above said, G is and was a very formidable opponent who made me work much harder than I wanted to and really showed he deserved to be in the finals. It was quite a match indeed. I'll attempt to give my thoughts on the match last night to give an idea where I was coming from, but to be honest, G did a much better job of giving a feel for the games with his post here.

The first match was exactly what I wanted. I felt like I controlled the action and things went my way. It turned out to be a pretty easy match and it set the tone for the way I wanted to play. After that first match I was eying the the prize almost immediately. I should know better.

The second match was a wake up call and it reminded me that poker brings up and downs. I don't even remember one single hand from that match, but I do know I lost it and did not feel very good about the way I played. Nuff said.

The third match was similar to the second, but instead of feeling like I played bad, I just felt like the cards were smacking me in the face - the not so good way. If I had 2 pair, G had a better 2 pair. Any card that hit that helped my hand seemed to complete G's str8, flush, or set. It was just a game where you attempt to have control, you force the control, but you lose all control in the end. Pretty frustrating.

The fourth game started rough. I was pretty quickly on the low end of the chipcount and feeling the pressure of $125 slipping further and further from my reach. I even made mention to wifey who was sitting on the couch that it wasn't looking so good. Right about that same time I started to get my game back. What I felt made the difference was I didn't back off on my aggression, even when I was down to less than 700 in chips. I felt that G wanted to play it safe and preserve his chips, thus giving him a chance to win it all. I took advantage of that and pushed my marginal hands with raises and all-ins.

In the end, I was able to get back the advantage in that game and ended up winning it when - with the chip lead - I was able to suck out on G when we shared one card and I hit my lower card on the flop. If I hadn't won that hand it woudln't have ended it for me as I was in the lead, but I knew if I could suck out I'd be back in it. It's the second time I had sucked out on G to win a game in the HU Challenge and I felt bad about it, but felt real good about my chances from then on. That game went almost 225 hands and - when a game like that occurs, putting both players back to even - you have to believe the winner of that game takes the advantage into the next game. That proved true.

By the fifth game I felt the energy I had in the 1st game (or was it the Pale Ale kicking in?). I don't remember much of that game, but I recall being in control pretty much throughout. On the last hand my KK held up to G's flush draw which sealed the deal.

G, you are a great poker player and an even better person. Thanks for all the kudos throughout and for being a graceful opponent. And to all the other bloggers, I really appreciate the time we were able to spend on the felt. You are all a great bunch of guys and I look forward to more challenges. I'll be thinking of some good games we could play.

Now to the title of the post. I've mentioned I would explain my thought process going into this tournament AFTER it was all over - my Strategery, if you will. Well that time is here...

I think you would all say I'm a pretty aggressive poker player. I get my chips in there and play my hands hard and fast. I push my draws and I play most hands like they are the shit. The key to my game is my betting. I put it out there and I force the decision on my opponent. The old saying, "your oppenent cannot fold if you do not bet", is important to me. DoubleAs has written about putting the pressure on your opponent to make the decision. The best way to do that is to put a precise bet out there and make your opponent decide if you are the shit or full of shit. That's why when Double complimented me on my betting style during our HU match I really gained a ton of confidence in my game. Going into our match I was worried about looking like a dumbass with my bets and he gave me the confidence I needed to charge forward. All that in a game that lasted less than 15 hands!

But betting wasn't the whole package for me in this challenge. I tried something in this challenge that I had never really done before. And I really think the only person that caught onto me fully was STeelerJosh. He and possibly G. Those two were my toughest opponents eventhough I won both my first round games against them. Over the long haul they seemed to be extracting the most about my game and using it against me. Actually Jordan did that too, but we didn't get to play much together so it wasn't too bad.

Back to my game. It was pretty simple actually, yet so effective. In the small blind, with a weak hand, I raised almost everytime. More often than not I was able to pick up the blinds and build chips slowly. So if I had J5 or Q3 or 78, etc. I was typically raising those hands up in the small blind. If I received a call I was almost always using a continuation bet to try and show strength. If I again received a call I was pretty much done with the hand and either folded to a bet or was able to muck without showing. You'd be surprised how few times I had to actually show down really horrible hands after strong betting.

I specifically recall STeelerJosh calling me out on one hand where I played it like I had the nuts and ended up having to flip over something like a 6 high. He gave me a wtf? type of reaction and I knew I had to change up my game for the rest of our match. Similarly, I got caught with my pants down last night in a hand and, after some strong to quite strong betting, showed down a 6 high or something like that. I didn't want to abandon my strategy so close to the end so I typed in "had to try it once!" in the chat box and decided to stick to my guns.

In the big blind with shitty cards about 80% of the time I checked it down and played rather cautiously, but I would sometimes throw out a raise just to keep things fresh.

With my Ace hands and monsters I would normally call in the small blind and check in the big blind if they called - in other words I was almost always slowplaying my Ace hands and monsters. Heads-Up I always wanted the chance to play my big hands even if I risked getting outdrawn or sucked out on. Would you rather your monsters see the flop or see them hit the muck when your opponent folds pre-flop? I wanted to invite play with my monsters and force the play with my weak/drawing hands.

Of course, throughout I switched it up here and there in order to not get pegged exactly on my game, and also so I didn't have to showdown shitty hands too often. So there you have it...I bet, bet, bet and conceded when I needed. I basically pulled a Costanza and did the opposite of what I would normally think is right. George may lie a lot, but he was right on that notion.

Ok let's finish this with a little humblocity. That's not really a word, but it just sounded right with the other non-word in the title...so run with it. So I won this thing and now I'm not sure how to act. After flailing my way out of 2nd place in the SNG Challenge I know all too well how to pay up when I lose. However, I don't exactly know how to proceed with winning. I know from chatting with Jordan last night that he plans to pay G his $25 which will clear them up. That leaves the remaining 5 bloggers paying yours truly to officially conclude HUC1.

I'm pretty easy going and don't really care how it is done. If you'd like to pay via a poker site that is cool. I currently play at UltimateBet, Noble, FullTilt, PokerStars, Party, and Empire. If any of those sites allow transfers then that works for me. However, if you'd rather send a check or have another way you'd like to pay just let me know. I'm open to suggestions. I do know UB allows for transfers, but if you aren't a "preferred" member then you have to email support to get it completed. It's how I paid G for the SNG Challenge.

Did I do all that without sounding like a Jackhole?

So there you have it. I want to again thank GCox, Jordan, SteelerJosh, DNasty, Kipper, DoubleAs, WillWonka, and Mourn for being super cool and making this experience a blast. I include Kipper cause he was often there to rail and offer support which was very cool. For a guy who had to get through sudden death just to make it to the finals, I'm extremely happy and grateful.

posted by TripJax @ 6:10 PM,

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