Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Judging Sessions

First and foremost... I AM READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!! My new HD 56" TV is awesome. Watching sports has been taken to a completely new level. So of course, I got some football in this weekend. I have 3 teams that I profess to follow and they are (in order). University of Texas, Notre Dame and Georgia. Texas for obvious reasons (I was born in Dallas). Notre Dame for no other reason than when I was a kid, they were about the only show in town and I remember watching the repeats of the game on Sunday mornings before church with my dad. That is something that I will never forgot and hope to experience now with my kids. Although, with girls, it may not be football. Georgia is kind of weird one. I have no real ties there. I think during the Herschel Walker era is when I became a fan. I've always been a SEC fan and Georgia is the team that I most followed.

Anyway, I watched the Notre Dame game on the new TV and it was awesome. For you Georgia Tech fans out there (CC). You may have been gypped on the late hit out of bounds on Quinn which then eventually ended up as a ND touchdown. OK, sure, they have hit head on head; but for crying out loud, they are both running a million miles an hour and towards each other. Bad call, but what can you do?

OK, while on the subject of football. As we all know, I am a huge Dallas Cowboys fan so it goes without saying that I detest the Pittsburgh Steelers. Along comes this Mansion bet a $1000 thing. OK, I have to bet on the Steelers, that hurts; but I did it. As usual, the Steelers do me in as Benny boy isn't going to play. Some weak excuse about his appendix. So now, Miami is actually favored so there will be no hedging of the bets. Maybe Charlie Batch will get it done. That is why they play the games.

Oh yes, this is a poker blog.

Sometimes, I just don't get this game of poker. What does it take to be a good long time winner. If you are looking for an answer to that, you won't find it here because I just don't know. This post is going to touch more on the subject on how to Judge your sessions as either good or bad sessions or should I say what can cause a sesion to be good or bad. Yes, we can all review our sessions and try to judge how well it went. Heck, I have even written about it in my Finding Leaks posts, Click here for Part 1, and here for Part II. But this time, I want to look at it from different perspectives.

Of course, I have an opinion on the subject and of course I will tell you and of course, it will come later; but in the mean time, let's talk about some of the things that might be good indicators of how well your sessions will go.

First, let me define a session as simply as a sitting. Whether it be one table, two tables, or multi tables, to me that is a session. It can be mixed games, ring play and tourney. It doesn't matter, if you sit down to play whatever, it is a session. Quite possibly, you can even call a day a session depending on how long the breaks in between playing are.

So, here is my list of things that can determine how a session will go. In other words, will the session be an up session or a down session.

Cards - Yep, this is a pretty obvious one. If you get cold decked, you most likely aren't going to have a winning session; but I think you can prevent yourself from having a disastrous session. This is where patience and all that stuff that we have heard a million times comes into play; but in my mind that is not the biggest factor that will determine how your session goes.

Stats - What do I mean by stats? Well, mostly I am talking about Poker Tracker stats. Things like, VPIP, and Won$ at Showdown, Aggression Factors, attempts to steal, Aggression Frequency (I love this PAHUD stat). Yes, those are all nice; but can be misleading; especially if you are playing NL (which I am not). I've had almost identical looking PT stats and the end of the day/session story couldn't be anymore different. I've had 10BB up and down days while having almost the same stats. For example, I won$ at showdown yesterday a nice 56% of the time; but still had a down session. Another day, I won 40% of the time and had a nice up session; so obviously, this is not the best indicator.

Psychology - This is a huge factor to me. How are you feeling when going into a session. Are you sitting down just to play for a few minutes. Are you tired? Are you anything but focused on playing poker. These are big questions. OK, let's say that you are good to go at the beginning of a session and things go bad for you right off the bat. My very first hand yesterday was AA. Cool, this might be a good indication of a good day. Uh... no... Mr JJ flopped a set against me and immediately I am in the hole. Same time, different table. AKo.. flopped K... oops lost to J9o. So very easily, I could go into a tilt rage and start really pressing so yes, Tilt can be a determining factor; but in my opinion, not the biggest.

Aggression - This one makes sense because if you are over aggressive and don't hit any flops or anything, it could add to a big down day. Conversely, if you are not aggressive enough, you may not get paid off on the big hands. For most of us, aggression is one of the most important things in poker or as I like to say.... "selective aggression". This is where some of the things that we talked about above such as Poker Tracker and other tools really help. If you have a read on a person, you that amped up aggression will work on that guy who will lay down middle pair. On the hand, you may know that it isn't worth because he is going to call you down with pocket 2s.

Luck - Luck, either or good or bad can definitely determine which way your session is going to go. Another hand from yesterday. KK. flopped a K for a set. There was even an Ace on board which is usually even better as you set will obviously beat a pair of aces. Well, Mr "calldown" called me down and hit his gut shot on the river. At the same time, it is not unusual for me or any other player to hit a runner runner flush, or hit that second pair on the turn and get paid off when TPTK won't lay it down. We've all been on both sides of luck. Typically, the better players have more bad luck as they don't get caught in too many hands that need gut shot type help on the river; but needless to say, it happens and can determine how our sessions turn out; but in my opinion, it is not the biggest factor.

Let's recap, our mission today is find out what I think is the biggest determining factor in whether or not a poker session will end up positive or negative. We've talked about getting cards, statistics on your session, the psychology of poker, aggressiveness and luck. All of these are vital in determining how your session is going to go and in all truthfulness, my answer is going to include bits and pieces of all of the above.

My #1 reason for determining whether a session will be good or bad is:

Draws - Yep, that's it (in my humble opinion). Flopping those open ended straight draws and nut flushes happen often enough that they can determine whether your session goes South or whether it goes North. So how you play draws will determine how aggressive you are, how often you go to showdown, how lucky or unlucky you are and of course how you will react (psychology) of hitting or not hitting. This goes the other way as well. Mr 60% (especially mr 60%er) is going to hit his draws as well. The actual number of draws you hit vs draws they hit can absolutely have a huge factor on good or bad results.

So there you have it and there you are. My 2 cents.

Have a great week!!!!!!

5 comments:

Ameretto said...

Have to agree with you, draws are influential in your session results. You invest a lot of cash taking them to the river only to have nada, and have to fold them. Ties in very closely to your luck post, I guess I'm saying that you've got to be unlucky when you don't hit yor draw.

Loved the post though.

Michael said...

Good post, WW.

I agree that for any given single session, your draws coming in or not is the biggest factor.

cc said...

Tech has no quarterback, just a crying shame with Calvin Johnson there. He'll be an immediate starter wherever he goes, although please let him go to a place with a real quarterback vs. a place like your Cowboys.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Wonka, wait till you see what Terrell Owens does to that little Cowboys team over there. I'm predicting 8-8 and no playoffs for Bill Parcells in his last season before he rides off into the sunset, leaving Jerry Jones to cope with the devastation that TO has a way of leaving in his wake.

Fluffer44 said...

I like your analysis of the Draws and I would agree with you now, since I have just read it. Since I have been watching the PPT lately, which is awesome, I seem to keep hearing a consistent theme, "everything happens after the flop, so let's see a flop." Now that doesn't mean play every hand, however, I think it means how well you play, selective agression in particular (then position, reading your opponent, etc....all those other factors), depends on how well of a session you will have.

I found myself lately having bad sessions due to being overly aggressive. I don't seem to have a problem getting paid on big hands, but I also don't seem to have a problem getting cracked on big hands, meaning I have had trouble knowing when I am beat and laying down a good hand. Aaarrrggghhh!!!!

All in all, great post, alot to think about! Good to see you back in the swing of things on the blog!

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