Sun & Birds

by AngusD
Submitted by: snoopy on Wed, 09/05/2007 - 2:33am

With the weather improving dramatically here in Scotland I'm tempted to take my laptop outside into the garden and play online poker al fresco, looking out on to the rolling hills that more or less surround the village. But the last time I played outside (in Spain), I got everything set up, logged on, lost too much money during the excitement stage of the exercise and then found myself being caught in a sudden rainstorm.

Anyway, I don't need to go outside for a bit of nature appreciation as, recently, it found its way into my office. I was sitting in front of the computer, wondering why I had entered yet another low buy-in multi-table tournament rather than concentrating on cash games (for a bit of fun, I suppose), when I noticed movement a couple of feet to my right - perched (quite literally) on the end of the sofa was a blackbird, staring - transfixed even - at the screen. I don't know how long it had been there - hopefully not long enough to see me bluff away most of my chips, build my stack up to well above average and then in masterly fashion lose a bucket-load more with an even worse bluff - but when it noticed that I had noticed it was there it made a quick (I was tempted to say 'swift') exit.

The funny thing is, despite having a couple of choices in terms of which direction it took, it left the way it must have come in, through the kitchen and out of the back door that my wife likes to leave wide open when it's hot because opening every window in the house is clearly not enough (that's what I get for marrying a Belgian).

Now, as I always say - I don't believe in superstition (it's bad luck for a start), but given that this bird didn't even show an interest, en passant, in my wife's freshly baked, home-made bread that stood invitingly on the kitchen table, I took our brief encounter as a message. And the message was: Don't play multi-table tournaments unless you take them seriously, or something like that. It could have been: If you have your monitor at that angle you're going to get a really bad neck, but somehow I doubt it.

Armed with this simple but effective advice (indeed it does seem rather sensible - I even tell people this myself) I decided to play in the next NL tournament that day with a buy-in of $100 (I have become quite good at losing way more than that, of course, in way little time, but at least I'd feel a bit guilty/daft simply wasting $100 through carefree/abysmal play).

As it turned out, the tournament in question was a 24-player multi freezeout with, unfortunately, only three prizes, but at least this would force me to properly focus in order to have a chance of a profit (I think 3rd paid $480). To cut a long story short I was chip leader almost from the off (thanks to a lucky limp) and continued in the driving seat until seven or so players remained, at which point I was dealt A-A, re-raised in hefty fashion pre-flop, initiated a mini-raising frenzy on a rags flop and ended up losing more than half my stack against 666... As often happens following such a reverse I found myself digging in and ducking and diving, emerging a very modest third of three, somehow surviving to be second of two and, ultimately, coming back from a 1:6 chips deficit to take $1200 or so for first.

I'd like to say I played very well, but I didn't, really (my opposition made serious errors at key points which happened to work to my favour rather than someone else's), but I did concentrate much better than is usually the case. And herein lies the trick, as obvious as it may seem in black and white.

We like to think that we concentrate fully on the matter in hand when we play tournaments but it is rarely the case. It is true that the wonders of online poker afford us the luxury of a smorgasbord of tournaments but, if we are to achieve any level of success, we should treat each with the respect it deserves. A little bird told me that.

Good luck at the tables!


Angus 'AngusD' Dunnington plays at