Saturday, June 11, 2016

Poor Strategy or Poor Results??

I have a question.  I don't have an answer, just a question.  As I've earlier stated, if you're looking for professional poker advice you might want to go to a professional poker player's blog.  Here you'll only get "food for thought".

Last week I was eliminated from tournaments on successive days in exactly the same manner.  Almost the exact fall of the cards.  The first question you're surely asking is:  "Didn't you learn from your mistake the first time?"  Well, here's the quandary:  Did I make a mistake by repeating my strategy?  Was it poor strategy or just poor results?  I'll give you some of the details and you can make your own decision.  Remember this exact scenario played out on successive days.

I was playing in a tournament.  All parties relevant to the scenario had plenty of chips.  An aggressive player raised from early position before the flop.  I called from position with a good hand.  After the flop I was fairly certain that I was ahead and, as it turns out, I actually was ahead after the flop on both days.  The original raiser bet the flop.  (A continuation bet?)  Now here comes the moment of truth.

As always in this scenario I have three options:  raise, call, or fold.  Since I believed I had the best hand at this point folding was obviously not the best option so I was left with raise or call as my options.  I chose to call in both cases based on my belief that my opponent would continue to bet if I just called but would fold if I raised.  I was betting on his aggressiveness to contribute more chips to the pot.

On both days the turn card was a five and it matched both the five already on the board and the five in my opponents hand giving him trips.  I didn't give my opponent credit for having a five in his hand since he had raised from early position before the flop.  The results were devastating to my chip stack on both days.

Obviously, in hindsight, I would have been much better off to have raised after the flop.  My opponent would almost surely have folded and I would have won a modest pot instead of losing a really big pot.

The question remains.  Was my strategy wrong or was I simply the victim of the same bad luck on consecutive days?  I believe it was Einstein who said "Continuing to do the same thing expecting different results is one form of insanity."  However, a case could be made that one shouldn't change from a proper strategy simply because that sound strategy yielded poor results on consecutive days.

I have an opinion.  What is yours?