Being Yourself at the Table
by dtools22 | Published Jun 04, 2012
I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch of late. For some reason my mojo is all off at the tables. I feel out of the proverbial zone. Doing some reflecting on my most recent struggles I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a problem with my game. I think I have reached a point where I know enough about the game to beat the stakes I’m at on a consistent basis. I feel confident in my abilities to beat both my opponents, and the rake. I feel like my problem has been a bit more macro than that. I feel like it’s a problem with me rather than with my style or strategy.
To help break up the rut I’ve been in I opted to play in one of the dailies over at Foxwoods. I put my hat in the ring for the $120 6PM deep stack event on Saturday. I felt like that would be a good way to take the edge off, and with a prize pool that routinely saw first taking over $5K I felt like this would be a good spot to take a shot. I didn’t even make the money but I had a solid run, busting about 4 hours into what is likely an 8 hour event. As is typical with tournaments, I went on the roller coaster ride for a bit and eventually found my way to the rail having long since run out of steam and shoving my 7BB stack on a coin flip. More importantly for me than the money, was that the event really did loosen me up a bit.
At my first table there were a couple of very casual grinders. These players were just up in the tournament area having a grand old time. None of these players were guys I’d consider to be particularly threatening presences but they did have a very profound effect on me and my game. They calmed me down and got me talking and joking around during the game. More often than not I’m not particularly social at the tables. It’s not that I’m a terribly bitter soul or that I’m curt with anyone, but I’ve just found that there are a lot of know it all types at the tables and more often than not I’m in no mood to engage those players. I find that keeping to myself at the tables is the best way to do things. No one will find an excuse to come in and try to stack you, players aren’t going out of their way to “outplay” you, and I can kind of come and go as I please in pots without gathering a ton of attention.
There is one inherent problem with this though. I’m a bit of an attention whore. I like commanding the conversation, I enjoy engaging other players at the table, I like telling jokes and making people laugh. Poker wise, it has always made more sense to me to try and keep a low profile. It’s better for you at the table if your opponents barely notice you. The problem now is that people on balance have become more observant even at the small stakes games. That notion that you can just totally fly under the radar still works, but not nearly as well as it has for me in the past. In addition to that being quiet at the tables can be HELLACIOUSLY boring. Boredom at the table is the single biggest enemy. You need to be paying attention to the game, the action, who’s doing what, who’s trying to pull moves and win every pot, who’s sitting back and biding their time. These are all questions that need answers and those answers may change from hour to hour.
I’m going to try and be a tad more social at the tables moving forward. I have a bit of a chatty personality, and part of the fun of poker for me is that I get to be the cool kid at the table. I get to be the ring leader for conversation and entertainment. I can be the center of attention, without actually playing a hand. I think this will help me out in the long run keep my composure better at the tables. Ultimately that’s been my biggest problem. I’ve had trouble being attentive at the tables and that’s lead to sloppy play later on in sessions. I think keeping myself engaged with my fellow tablemates may help. If not, I can always go back to just shutting the hell up.