Wednesday here in Atlantic City. A little foggy and overcast but otherwise a beautiful day. More important I’m feeling much better and was able to get a little more volume in on the felt. Should be able to increase the hours again today.
Had a break even day yesterday. I’m not sure exactly of the psychology behind this, but I find the times when I break even to be even more frustrating than when I straight-out win or lose. For some reason it feels a little like wasted time. I mean, I could have stayed in the room and watched the debate and had the same monetary result (though probably much more titling). I’m exaggerating a little bit. The day wasn’t a total loss financially. I did find this quarter on the ground, so . . . woohoo!
I played two sessions at Harrah’s yesterday with someone I found very interesting and I wanted to talk a little about. Let’s call him John. I’ve played with John a few times and he’s always seemed to be a very solid player. He plays a LAG style and has better than average reading skills. To be honest, I found him quite intimidating, both because it always sucks to have a skilled player at your table, especially one that is better than you (which, in my opinion, John clearly was) and because he was a big imposing guy with kind of mean, tough-guy look about him.
John bought in for the max ($500) and was quickly table captain, running everyone over with his aggressiveness and joking with the dealer how about how no one would stand up to him. Though he may have had better than average skill, he was definitely lacking in the humility department. Early in the game, John and I got into a hand. I had raised preflop OOP with pocket tens. John called on the button and we saw a flop of Kd Jd Jh heads up. I c-bet and he called. The turn came an off-suit blank and we both checked. Another blank on the river, I checked and he bet about 1/3 pot. It seemed to me that he had a ton of air in his range and pocket pairs smaller than my tens. I had also learned from our playing history together that he often bet missed draws on the river. So I turned my hand into a bluff catcher and called. Sure enough he turned over AXdd and I scooped the pot. He was enraged that I called him and immediately tore into me telling me how bad of a player I was, and glaring at me with pure rage in his eyes. It was really disconcerting. I took it a little personally. Though I don’t think it had any kind of impact on my play, it did make the game much less fun. Eventually I decided to just switch tables. The game wasn’t anything special so I figured I’d just move to a more pleasant environment.
A second session in the evening once again found John and I at the same table. And once again, John was the table captain and trying to bully everyone around. But this time the table dynamics were different and he ran into some resistance from a guy I’ll call Max. Max is a guy I’ve played with a few times as well. He’s from Philly and happily embraces all the stereotypes that go along with that. He’s a very solid LAG with hand reading skills at about the same level as John. But there’s one big difference between Max and John. Max is having fun. Max is friendly and enjoys the game. Max also really, really, really enjoys watching a player on tilt. My guess is that the absurdity amuses him. Well, tonight he was plenty entertained.
It seemed inevitable that these two players would butt heads, which they eventually did. Max got the best of John, not once, but a couple of hands in a row. John who had been jovial with the table (as jovial as a guy like John could be) and joking around with Max directly, took a huge emotional turn after the beats from Max. Once again the glaring started. Cards were thrown. Sarcastic remarks were cast with an undertone of rage. You could practically see the fire in John’s eyes. All this was only made worse by the sheer joy on Max’s face and the needling and bluffs shown by Max at every opportunity. This made me realize that my earlier interaction with John was nothing personal, John just had a serious tilt problem. I’m not sure exactly what ways his tilt may have affected his play because John didn’t suddenly just entirely open up his range and start punting off stacks like a lot of players with John’s type of tilt often do. And strategy implications weren’t what I was thinking about as I watched John become engulfed by his anger and intense desire for revenge. What I felt was simply sadness. Here was this guy who was clearly talented at poker. When he was on his A-game, he really did seem like a force to be reckoned with. But all that obvious potential was never going to be fully realized because of the mental game issues that were consuming him. This was a guy who clearly had some deep issues that needed to be dealt with, issues that would most likely need the attention of a mental game coach at the least, but most likely that of a good psychiatrist. But John didn’t seem to me to be the kind of guy who would seek out that help. In fact, he seemed like the kind of guy who would mock you for doing so. Admitting you need help would seem weak to John.
I had hoped to talk to John. I thought maybe if I started a conversation off with telling him how talented he was, that I could find a way to ease into suggesting looking into some mental game stuff. But the opportunity never presented itself. Even if it had I’m not sure I would have gone through with it. Honestly, the dude just kind of scared me. But damn, I hate seeing all that potential wasted.
As for me, I’ll be playing this afternoon at Harrah’s for at least four hours to earn my comped room for tonight. Even though I really like Harrah’s poker room, the staff there is phenomenal, I’m feeling a little bored with the surroundings. So I think I’ll head over to the Borgata tonight for a change of pace. I know it sounds petty, but I hate the chips at the Borgata so much! They drive me a little crazy. But I’m going to give it another try tonight and see if they bother me as much as last time. It seems like such a silly little thing that I just need to get over. Going to give it the old college try.
I know this was a lengthy one, so if you got this far, thank you so much for reading!
As usual, leave your comments below and if you haven’t subscribed to the blog you can do so in the subscription box to your right.