Last Saturday I set some goals for myself and I think I did a good job of following those goals. Nonetheless my luck didn't hold out for me towards the end and I missed the money and came in 4th place. The night was interesting to say the least as there was a blow up between two players and for whatever reasons everyone except one guy had the worst gas. It was akin to the beans scene in Blazing Saddles. Duane- crack a window next time!!
So, despite the chemical warfare and unfriendly argument I managed to play decently. Let's take a look at my goals and review-
Goal #1: Fold trouble hands like Ace Ten and lower, King Queen, and Queen Jack from any position except the button and blinds while my stack to blinds ratio (aka "M") is 20:1 or better.
I did really well at this. The exception was one hand where I played KJ suited and lost a decent pot for just the same reasons I shouldn't come in out of position with trouble hands like that. Aside from that I folded alot of hands that I usually donk around with largely because I'm bored. I was happy with my discipline. I ultimately lost with a QJ but it was only 4 handed and my M was about 6 so with one limper and a caller and me in the big blind I took an all in shove stab. Got called by KT and was on my way.
Goal#2: Use my position to take a pot from one of the LAG players.
Well I did this, kinda. The player was more of a LAP than a LAG (loose passive vs loose aggressive) but the big LAG at the game was directly to my left so there wasn't much opportunity to use my position on him. Not to mention the fact that he's really been playing tighter lately and may not even be as Laggy as before. In the hand, I stole using solely position and "air" (aka a bad hand that wasn't going to improve.) The board was perfectly set to make him believe I had a hand better than his. I got a big pot out of that steal and I may even had gotten a bad call out of him later on in the game as he figured me for bluffing again.
Goal #3: Play to win, not to cash. This may sound weird to some of you, but it means to play aggressively enough to amass chips to get a better chance of taking 1st place money and not play passively to just make the money.
Hard to say- for a while there we were all playing cautiously. when we got 5 and 4 handed. I started to bluff a bit more with some limited success but Ican't say I was as aggressive as I wanted to be. Part of the problems, in my opinion was that the blinds were capped too early. Part of my game is use the escalating blinds to my advantage and steal, steal, steal. I was in that range of 10-20 M (blinds to stack ratio) which is frustrating as you're too deep stacked for all in steals but pot committed rather quickly after coming into a pot. I will have to analyze this goal further later.
Goal#4: Don't try to trap unless I have a dominated board in which case most bets will scare others away from the pot. In other words I may even bet out if I flop trips if the board is right. Obviously, if I flop a full house or nut flush, I'm better off letting people "catch up" a little to get more money.
I did get an unexpected full house (sevens full of fives) out of the big blind and tried to trap on the river to a usually aggressive bettor. He unfortunately missed completely and checked behind without a bluff. Aside from that, I got pocket Kings 4 or 5 times that night and played all but one straight forward and won some decent sized pots as a result. It pays to get your money in loose games when you have the goods, don't screw around if you don't have to. Goal accomplished here.
Goal#5: Act slower and be more patient in order to think more methodically about what hands people have and what bets would be best to make or not make.
I think I did this with the exception of one or two times. I am getting more patient and analytical and I was happy with my improvement last game.
In summary my concentration was up and despite some unfortunate side stuff, the game was enjoyable and I was happy with the way I played despite my lack of reward for doing so. Better luck in my cash game coming up at the end of the month!