Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dirty Laundry

Bunch of things I've been meaning to get written down.

Soap residual

First, our three-year-old washer put a bad beat on us. Last week it started leaving soap in the load and we tracked it down to the drum not spinning up during the rinse. So, my wife and I figured it was a belt or something like that and had a guy from Sears come and look at it. Well, it turns out the washer lacks belts because it is direct drive (duh -- says it right on the control panel) and the guy charged us $115 to tell us we needed to buy a new washer. Apparently when one part of the main drive goes, the whole thing needs to be replaced for about $300 (we paid $400 for the thing). Or, to put it another way, our washer is totaled.

Now, I know this isn't that interesting, but I realized that the washer repair industry probably is in a state of decline. Essentially, washers used to cost a lot more vs. the cost of a repair guy's time and gas. Now, with washers cheaper but more complex, the repair guys have so much overhead it isn't worth fixing unless it is a minor problem or a very expensive washer. Oh well.

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting it...

A few days ago I dumped 16 BB at 2/4 on Eurobet. I was two-tabling for over two and a half hours and pretty much stuck the whole time. Now, normally this isn't a big deal (just normal variance) but in this case I know I played like crap and screwed a number of things up. What is amazing to me is, given the effort I've put into plugging my leaks, I still haven't fixed them. The old "what the hell was I thinking" right after I play a hand.

My solution is to periodically write out a 'cheat sheet' listing the leaks I am working on. I'm going to keep a copy near my computer so I can review it before I play (because usually I dump the most money and make the most mistakes right after I sit down).

So, here is my first cheat sheet:

  1. If I think I'm beat, stop, compute odds, then decide whether I should call down.
  2. Avoid playing pots out of position without a strong hand.
  3. Stealing is not +EV in a loose game (most of the time).
Actually, maybe I'll add one more point which encompasses the more specific things above:
Preflop and flop mistakes are generally less costly than turn and river mistakes.
What I'm finding is that I'm a shade on the tight side pre-flop, but then I loosen up a lot once I've put money in. This encompasses being over aggressive and bluffing too much on later streets and calling down too much when I think I have the worst hand on the turn and river. I'm pretty sure this is common -- first you learn to tighten up, then you learn to be aggressive, then you learn when to be aggressive and when to let the hand go. Kind of a "I've waited this long to play a hand, so I'm going to play it damn it!" thing. Hand selection only gets you so far -- most of the money is won and lost on the turn and the river and that is where I will focus my effort.

Each of the specifics I put above are symptoms of the overall problem. I keep calling down and losing two big bets when someone raises me on the turn and I know I am beat. I keep getting stuck out of position with a marginal hand that I try to blow through people or call down hoping my hand is good. I attempt a steal, then try to make my non-existent hand a winner through aggression. The end result is I usually have an edge early in the hand, but put too many bets in when I've lost that edge late in the hand. Arguably, limit is most profitable the other way around -- where you are early matters less than your hand when most of the money goes in on later streets. I knew that principle for NL, but I'm realizing that it applies to limit too.

Honestly, I think I am too tight pre-flop. Ideally, I'd like to start loosening my hand selection, but I have to firm up my turn and river play before I can comfortably play more hands. Its funny, I'm just realizing how poor I am at limit play.

I still have a lot of limit to play to earn a bunch of bonuses, so it is worth really putting in the time and effort to fix my fundamental leaks.

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