Care to Win a Hand?
I had an interesting day yesterday. I went over to one of the local clubs to play in a sit 'n' go satellite for their upcoming 500+50 "Big Shooters" tournament. Sadly, not enough people showed up to get the satellite tourney off the ground. So, the few of us that were there and 2 of the dealers decided to play a quick little 6-handed 40$ sit and go. Even though I was disappointed in their being no satellite I was very happy to get the chance to play in a little sit and go with the guys who did show up because for the most these were players whose games I really respect and who have had probably more tournament success than I have. So, getting a chance to play a challenging match with good players for only 40 bucks is like the next best thing to winning a satellite, in my opinion.

The little sit and go went well. I played tight early on and then caught some cards towards the end and managed to induce bluffs and bets from players who were way behind. After I busted the first player, it turned into a rebuy event (for about 15 minutes). There were only 2 or 3 rebuys and it did not really affect the game too much other than fattening the prize pool a bit. When I got down to head's up with one of the dealers, we talked about a chop. I had him way out chipped but I was willing to discuss it. In the end though he said something like, "I want a chance to play head's up against the 'great' Bill Sparks. So, 3 hands later I took down first place for 220$ without ever rebuying. Nice!

My plan for last night was just basically to sit at home and watch the Senators play. If you're from Ottawa you know what a crucial game it was for our boys last night. But, in true Bill fashion I had already promised my buddy Kevin that we would play some poker after my satellite. I never thought we'd find a game , because I figured everyone would be watching hockey. I made some calls anyway and it turns out one of the clubs had a tourney going that afternoon and a cash game was sure to break out. The game would be on TV and since I seem to be more into pot odds than power plays these days, Kevin and I headed over to the club to play in a little side action.

When we got there the tourney was still going strong and there were lots of familiar faces. I love that the Ottawa Poker Community is such a friendly group and there are so many great people to chat with whenever you find yourself at any local poker event.

The cash game eventually started and Kevin and I sat down to a full table for some 1/2 action. I started off well then at some point (briefly after the Hockey game started) I lost focus and interest in the poker, I was playing. This happens to me more often than I like to admit. I sit in a cash game and get bored or tired and my focus starts to wane. Poker becomes like chewing gum that has now flavour. I go through the motions but I don't really care. The big problem with getting this way is I start to treat the game like a slot machine. I call every hand pre-flop and hope to hit. If I miss, I don't even bother to make a play at the pot. I just limp preflop from any position with any 2 cards and call any standard raise preflop with the same 2 cards and hope I hit a flop. I miss. I fold. It's terrible and I may as well be playing slots. I have to get better at recognising when I fall into this pattern so I can quit the game when it happens because it can get pretty expensive. I ended the session down 135$. Kevin made out well and booked a tidy little profit. He is a very disciplined player and he is constantly improving his game, which I really respect.

So, in the end, I came out up 45$ on the day and I hopefully learned an important lesson; if you don't care, you don't win.

P.S. The Sens lost and I don't want to talk about it.

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