Can $86 be a better win than $1000?
I recently played a few sessions of $1/3 No Limit at a new card room in my area. The first session was great. Everything was falling my way. I was making moves and catching cards. When I had it, they called. When I was bluffing, they folded. I won a $1200 pot with a set of deuces. It was exhilarating and fun!
In just a few hours I ran my $300 buy in (the max amount for this room) up to $1300 and change. I texted a photo of my chip stack to a poker buddy of mine and he immediately texted back “Get up and leave now! You’re up a grand.” I thought about for a minute and agreed. I cashed out and felt great.
Flash forward a few days and it was déjà vu all over again. I met a different poker buddy at the same room and within 90 minutes ran my $300 up to over $1000. Only this time things started to go wrong.
There was a super aggressive maniac at the table that said he’d been playing for 25 hours straight. He had the entire table covered. He played almost every hand, and was always betting. I won a few hands off him, but he also caused me to fold the best hand a few times.
Nothing seemed to be working. When I got down to around $100, I reloaded to get back to $300. There was just too much action at this table and I felt like I was one of the better players. I wanted to be ready when the cards fell my way.
So my total buy-in at this point was $500. The session had been super swingy, and I was starting to get fatigued and hungry.
So I got up for a minute and ordered some food. I pushed away from the table and ate and consciously tried to settle down. For me that means breathing deeply for a few minutes and then reminding myself that just because other people are playing bad but running good doesn’t mean that I should all of the sudden start playing 8/3 off-suit.
I finished my food and returned to the table. I ended up playing relatively tight and aggressive poker for the next hour or so and got my stack back up to $586.
In the past I would continue to chase that previous big stack that I had even though I was feeling fatigued. It would be all or nothing.
Instead, I turned to my friend and said, “I going to cash out. I don’t think I’m making the best decisions right now.”
So which was the better session? Monetarily it was clearly the first one. But I’m more proud of that $86 than the $1000 because I corrected a leak in my game and made better decisions.
The fact that I could be aware that I was on the verge of punting off my entire stack because I just didn’t care anymore and having the discipline to get up is a huge victory for me.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been in that spot and allowed myself to be felted.
So even though it was less money, I’m more proud of that $86.