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

November 14, 2005

Card Dead Tilt

by G-Rob

My last two sessions have both been losers. I've had a helluva run in live play and simple variance was bound to smack me. But, if I'm being honest, the biggest drain is my own fault. At the big game on Monday, I dropped two buyins, then two more Thursday night. On both nights I was completely card dead, but that's only part of the problem.

More often than not, I can handle a bad beat. Beat beats, even in big tournaments are things we can recover from. I know that. Over time, they hurt me much less than before. But that doesn't mean I don't tilt.

Last week, I had C-D-T : Card Dead Tilt.


It's pretty damn obvious really. After a night of crappy pre-flop hands we are...card dead. But CDT requires more than that. I have to add that because inevitibly someone will remind me that a great player doesn't NEED great hands. For CDT the table needs to be just right.

For example :

The Big Game is extremely loose, with at least two players who may actually DEFINE the "calling station". There's plenty of money on the table for a player with a VERY TIGHT aggressive style. Actually, a player who just peddles the nuts will make a killing over time. But what happens if you never HAVE the nuts? Enter CDT.

Beyond that, by simple statistical law, you're bound to find some big pre-flop raising hands during a few hours of play. Remember at this NO LIMIT game, half the table will call almost ANY pre-flop raise. Again, that's perfect for pushing monsters, but deadly if the flop is a brick. Simple continuation bets won't work, and even a re-raise on what you know is an opponents weak bet, will almost always be called. So, not only do we need a strong pre-flop hand, but we must also hit the flop hard.

In my normal NL play, I love raising a limped pot with hands like middle suited connectors. But at this game the flop is crucial.

In my normal NL play, I'll almost always fire a strong bet at an ace-high flop with pocket kings. (You know all this of course.) But, at this game anyone with any ace is in it to the end. Danger lurks.


Probably the first sign of CDT is the nagging questions within. I went to the Big Game determined to play tight. But after folding garbage for 2 solid hours, and missing flops for at least 2 more, I started to wonder if I was playing TOO tight. At this game, I wasn't, but I started to wonder if second- or third-best hands were good at a table where 2nd pair was winning big pots.

Then, I started doubting my pre-flop play. After watching all of my strong starters run into a wall of flopped bricks, it made me more reluctant to fire at all. Why bother raising if it will only cost me more in the end?

We've all had this night, sometimes they come in bunches, where there isn't a hand worth a showdown all night.

I've always wondered why great sports teams sometimes squeak past vastly inferior competition. They play down to the level of their opponent. I think CDT forces that too. We see every pot played in less-than-optimal fashion, and if we can't get involved in the play....we start donking away too.

Which brings me to the second telltale sign.


Here's another seemingly obvious concept. If you're bored at a poker game, GET UP!

Folks, we all know, after traveling to your game, or bothering to assemble it if it's at home, you want to PLAY poker. But sometimes you just can't play what you're dealt at the table. Bored players will open up and gamble...make decisions they KNOW they shouldn't because they just want to play cards.

At the Big Game, Monday Night Football was on. Once I started getting bored I SHOULD have stood up, gone to the couch and watched the game for a few. Instead, I opened up the hand selection, made silly plays, and lost money.

Look for CDT the next time you play, dear reader. You'll find it. Don't say you weren't warned.

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