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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

October 7, 2005

Back Roads

by G-Rob

I love the mountain drive, especially from Asheville to Nashville. It's an interstate, but it winds along the plateau and snakes past some of the most breathtaking valleys in the world. CJ once totalled a car there when the rain slicked roads made the sharp turns impossible. But on this one trip, this one 6 hour drive to a farm near Nashville, I couldn't see the mountains for the music.

My wife sat next to me fingering through a ream of paper she'd printed from the "official" Bonnaroo website... a list of performers, schedules for each state, and all the other camp goings-on. We made a schedule of our own. By the time we met our friends in a hotel, just 60 miles from the big music show, we had every action, ever breath, planned to the minute.

You should ALWAYS be prepared.

Opposites Attract

I've been working on this new poker idea. I wonder if there is a stage of our development in which the best strategy is to do precisely what you shouldn't. There are a lot of ALWAYS rules, not including the Sklansky stuff which does reduce our decisions to an either/or decision tree, that we ALWAYS abide. But how much can we expect to win if we play by the rules? Nobody gets to be a CEO through honesty and hard work.

Clearly, the rules have value. But really, didn't we make that jump from beginner to intermediate with breakneck speed? CJ just posted about the rate at which his homegame foes were gaining on him. I've noticed the same thing here. The truth is any idiot can consume enough of the basics to become an average player without much time at the table. The intermediate player can still win, by dutiful adherance to the "Theory of Poker", but there's a plateau, and we've all been there.

The road less traveled

The hotel was horror. Everyone there was already weary, some had driven far longer than us. But once our full compliment assembled the desperation of our plight became clear. Word was the intestate was plugged ahead, no traffic moving at all. By some accounts people had been stranded there for a full day. Apparently, this cow pasture with a single off ramp, wasn't prepared for 115,000 hippies.

The consensus among our crowd was that was should forego the good night's rest, and get on the road that night. It was the most obvious option. Everyone else had already done the same. You could actually see the lights of the mini buses crammed full with clean shaven pseudo hippies wedged between brand new SUVs, all parking in the fast lane. Our four car caravan loaded up, then stopped.

We had a much better idea.


Two days ago, I intentionally folded A-A preflop. It's something you NEVER do. But I did it and it was exactly the right move. I was in a very large multi-table tournament and had made the final table. Unfotunately, I was not only short stacked, I was crippled. I got the aces in the big blind and was shocked when 3 other players ended up all in, and a fourth player called. Now, by this point, the blinds were so high that even pushing in and quintupling up wouldn't give me enough chips for another 2 orbits. So I mucked.

I ALWAYS play to win. But in this case the prospect of making another $200 by folding was too much to pass up. Sure enough, we had A-K, 8-8, J-J, and A-Q. My ace had no outs for improvement, and the kid with the Jacks caught a set. Two players bowed out, and a third was crippled. I finished 7th. I would've been 10th had I called.

Not long ago, that's an insta-call. But the chances of one of these 4 players catching SOMETHING, as they're already all-in, were too high for me to risk the money here. I did something I never do, and won money. I've been able to do that more and more.


When we pulled out of the parking lot the entire caravan went at full throttle, in the wrong direction. We drove 40 miles East when the festival was West. Then took a 40 mile drive South. Then Back to the west on a two lane road that went right through a small town. It spit us out 40 feet from the festival entrance.

On the second day of the festival we met up with a few more friends. They were just arriving. They'd been sitting on the interstate for 16 hours. We won by doing exactly what everyone else WASN'T.

Take the road less traveled my friends.


I'm sure you already knew this strategy at the table. If the table is tight, it's time to loosen up. If the table is loose-aggressive, you've got to play good cards. It's amazing how much that small adjustment pays. Again, you knew that already.

What I'd suggest is sometimes you should ignore pot odds, check raise a draw, or yes, LIMP into a pot. Sometimes a min raise is OK. The most important thing you can do, is exactly what the other guy won't.

Now that's not to say you should go back to playing crap hands and calling with garbage. But there are SOME situations where you SHOULD do exactly that. But what do I know?

I suck at poker.

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