Last night I was enjoying the recent uptick in player liquidity on Run It Once and was happily clicking buttons when a particular hand made me really angry. The nice thing about being a fun player is that now I can simply stop playing, take a step back and evaluate why exactly this hand irked me so much.
The hand went as follows:
- Folds to hero in CO with AhKhQc8d, raises to 3.5bb
- BTN calls, blinds fold
- flop Ks8s2x hero bets 4.5bb, villain calls
- turn Ks8s2xAs pot 16.5bb, hero checks, villain bets 11bb, hero calls
- river Ks8s2xAs2x pot 38.5bb hero pots, villain calls and tables…
My first reaction is to inwardly chastise villain for making such a bad play - I think preflop is definitely -EV and every other street is at best breakeven. Why am I so angry? It’s a sense of entitlement, one of the ways ego manifests itself in poker, because he made a ‘bad’ play, he doesn’t deserve to win my money. But maybe he had a sick read on me, he felt he could outplay me in position despite having mediocre holdings, perhaps my large lead OTR was actually a lot more exploitable than I had thought. It’s also a spot where in reality I think I am making a lot of EV, just in this case I happened to lose actual money. Even after a couple of million hands of poker, those spots still hurt.
I wonder how much my poker mental game is influenced by my mental health off the felt. If I needed less external validation, the kind I might get from winning money at poker and thus proving some kind of intellectual superiority, I can’t help but feel that these spots wouldn’t tilt me so much. The obvious sequitur is that I should work on my IRL mental game and then things will fall into place at the tables, but perhaps the reverse might also be true?