I risked most of the money I had scraped together through Freerolls on a heads-up sit-and-go. Both of us put in 25¢ each, and the 50¢ goes to the winner.
I was playing against a guy called Jolep. He was from Russia, and I hoped he loved Mint Julep's as much as I did. Me and him could connect over that, talk about Julep's vs Mojito's, and it'd be a fun game.And then it wasn't. And then it took forever and it was miserable and it was the worst poker experience I've ever had in my entire life.
At first I thought it was because the way I was playing, something that I was doing that was causing it.I've always believed in raising the minimum most hands when you're starting out. You can mix it up with some bigger raises or just calling later on, but in the ‘first act' of the game when you're still feeling each other out, I believe that stealing blinds is a safer, and easier, method of accumulating chips.
So I raised him most hands. And he shoved all-in every hand he didn't fold. Then I mixed it up with by just calling the big blind. And then he shoved all-in every hand he didn't check.
It went on and on like this for a while until he got disgustingly lucky twice in a row and took my 25 cents off me. And each time he got lucky, he celebrated with an infuriatingly minimalist ‘yeah.'
It's a depressing thing, seeing the game you love being exploited like this. It was like trying to play soccer against someone who only flops. It was like trying to play football against a team that ran only Hail Mary's.
I'm sure we've all played against someone who has a similarly frustrating style. Someone who relies more on luck than their own skill.
So how do you fight these players? I never liked fighting fire with fire. Everyone gets burned, and I don't like fighting luck with luck either.
You're most useful tool you possess at the poker table is your skill. Sometimes it might not be the most effective, as my little foray with Mr.Jolep proved, but luck eventually balances out: skill does not. Why only focus on luck, when you can have skill and luck?
If your opponent's objective is to drag you down into the mud and shit of a game based soley on luck, then it is your duty to grab them by the throat and haul them back up into a proper poker game, where your abilities to actually play poker will give you the upper hand.
By only playing (and therefore going all-in) with premium hands, then you're adversary won't play the vast majority with the hands that they're dealt. Even they aren't going to risk everything on Seven-Deuce or Eight-Five, but that doesn't mean you can't raise them with it. If you both have terrible hands, then they'll fold and you keep the blinds.
If you play every hand aggressively, you can force your opponent to fold more times that you have to when they shove all-in. By taking this tactic, you will slowly but surely start to take the upper hand in the match.
And when the stars do align, and he goes all-in when you hold aces, chances are you'll have more chips and can end it there and then. And if he gets disgustingly lucky, brush it off. Let your skill take over once again.
As long as you can make them punt more times than they hit their Hail Mary, you'll win out. Maybe not gloriously, and maybe you won't feel much like a winner, but it'll count. And you never know, maybe you'll even run back some interceptions to.
Goddam it feels good to make them look stupid.