About a month ago I was playing a game of poker with some good friends of mine. It was about an hour into the game when I looked at my rapidly shrinking stack of chips and had what you might call a “brick to my head”.
Looking at the stacks of the others at the table, I realized I was the short stack, and had been for nearly the entire game. What had happened to me? I’d been playing like a scared little pissant for several months now, and was barely keeping my head above water as far as my poker winnings.
This wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t. For a guy that used to be able to read other players so well, and based my play on my reads… at some point I started playing my cards instead of the cards of my opponents. And I had started judging their hands based exclusively on their betting patterns.
After playing poker for 19 some-odd years, I had turned into some idiot amateur that had no idea what was going on!
I mentally smacked myself in the face. Where was the old Stu that wasn’t afraid to reraise the guy that was trying to steal the pot? Where was the Stu that played his opponent’s cards instead of his own? I looked at myself and realized, I make myself sick!
Time to get back to old-Stu (as opposed to old-school) poker!
Boy, let me tell you, after beating myself up it didn’t take me long before I was the chip leader again. In the end, I built a near insurmountable lead which allowed me to bully the other players into submission and win the game.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Two weeks later I was able to become the chip leader early on, which allowed me to take more risks (giving me the opportunity to get lucky more often as well) and lose quite a bit of chips without it hurting my position.
I made one high-risk move that cut my stack in half. After calming down, I got back in the game with some great plays, coming back to chop down the chip leader’s stack and eventually win the game.
These last two games have helped me remember why I play poker. It’s a game of psychology, and I love out-playing my opponents! Chalk another two wins up for the bandit!
I’ll take this opportunity to show off my new chips: