I've changed the name of the column to embrace players of all poker games-not just stud. Accordingly, here's a column that applies to good poker players of all games, at all levels.
Good players lose money playing poker. Often. And I'm not talking about variance-the natural swings of profit and loss that cannot be avoided due to the vagaries of chance. Good players lose money because of avoidable and therefore correctable mistakes in judgment. Let me highlight the five biggest reasons good players lose and provide some suggestions for remediation.
In my last column I reported on some of the many poker rooms in Southern California that I played in during a recent visit. Here is the report of the remaining two poker rooms in LA as well as a summary of five other rooms south toward San Diego.
One of the keys to successful stud play is knowing when to be aggressive without having the best hand. Consider the following:
You have (Jd-Ah) Jh. A wild player at the table who nearly always raises when he has the high card showing is to your right. He shows a king. The bring-in is two players to his right. Sure enough, the wild man with the king completes the bet. It's now up to you. What's your proper action?
I've just experienced the most extraordinary combination of hands at the poker table. I'm not sure what lesson this experience will impart. But I'm sure it will amuse you.
It started innocently enough. I was at Foxwoods, as I often am, playing $20 - $40 stud. I had been playing for a few hours and was stuck about $500. I recently moved to a new table and was still figuring out my opponents. An aggressive and experienced player-the type that flicks in his bet expertly-sat down opposite me.
I continued my Florida poker odyssey-with stops in Melbourne and Daytona Beach. I arrived at "Club 52," the Melbourne poker room, at 1:30.
I flew from Boston to Florida filled with anxiety. My dad was having surgery to repair some damaged arteries-a tricky operation involving the insertion of three stents. Though the surgeon insisted it wasn't risky, it was still stressing him, his wife, and me.
Even so, I was glad to be there to help shepherd him through the testing, hospital admission, surgery, and recovery.
I love poker adventures-finding and playing the game in unusual places. I don't like to boast, but I may have played poker in more places than anyone else except, perhaps, perpetual poker cruisers Jan Fisher and Linda Johnson.
I started an article two issues ago about this lovely lady at Foxwoods who played too tightly. I ended by noting that when playing past third street she exhibited another serious problem that I'll get to here.
There's a poker lesson here. Trust and stay with me for a few paragraphs. As a Jew, I used to have a really hard time with Christmas. There was Christmas music and decorations everywhere, Christmas parties for a solid month, and Christmas specials on TV. I didn't like everyone assuming that I celebrated it-and I wanted to prove myself different.
I visited Foxwoods over the Thanksgiving weekend with my buddies Jim and Andre and spent much of my time playing $20-$40 limit stud. But after a while I realized that I was up against a table of very good stud players who were unlikely to be replaced by mediocre or poor players. So I dropped down a level to $10-$20.