Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Notes - Chip and a Chair

As I mentioned on Friday, I spent most of the weekend at Foxwoods, where the following odd series of events proceeded to happen:

Tournament #1: Went all-in with pocket 10s after correctly reading my opponent had a lesser hand (pocket 9s). A nine of course hits on the flop, and I got no help from the turn and river.

Tournament #2: Went all-in with the best hand, only to have my donkey opponent call and chase a straight to the river. Of course he catches one of two outs on the river to hit his straight, leaving me with a single 500 chip after starting earlier with 15,000. And this was right before a 15-minute break where I simply wanted to head home in disgust ... disgust with both my opponent chasing his hand and the incredible bad fortune of his hitting one of two possible cards.

So I stewed for 15 minutes, and then stood up with my jacket on as I of course put all of the chips ... er, I mean the chip ... all in blind where I tripled up with a sick 8-3 (flop came 8-8-5). Great, let's simply delay the inevitable. Then, I repeated the sequence twice more, doubling up with A-Q (flop came A-A-Q), and then quadrupled up a sick 8-6 (flop came 5-7-9), which brought me back above 12K. In no case, did I even look at my cards.

And while I eventually bowed out later in the tourney, I was left puzzled over how or why things sometimes happen the way they do.

Needless to say it was frustrating to see the higher % hands lose time after time to some of the sickest suck-outs you'd ever seen. Yet frankly, it was even slightly frustrating to see me then perform a monster comeback (from 500 to over 12,000) in just three hands with some of the worst cards you can be dealt (aside from the decent A-Q) and absolutely zero skill. I say frustrating, because despite the wins on the comeback trail, I was simply left shaking my head, which I essentially did on my entire two-hour drive back home.

It's often been said that poker is short-term luck and long-term skill, and yes, short-term luck (good or bad) can run in incredible streaks. For me, Saturday was Exhibit A.

As I tried to make sense of my weekend lessons in terms of trading, about the only relevant analogy I could come up with was that sometimes you have to hit bottom and simply cry "uncle" before clinging to that final "chip" of hope.

Sometimes that "chip" comes in the form of a friend. Or a mentor. Or perhaps, it the form of that one break ... not unlike the struggling batter who keeps hitting line drives into fielders' gloves before a broken bat bloop single breaks the slump for good.

Some day, I imagine in our next permanent life, "Someone" will fully explain Saturday's events to me ... as well as all of those other times in earlier my life when I seemed to be down to a single chip.

My guess is the response will go something like this: "It's not that you were down to a single chip, or what you did or didn't do to get there, rather it's what you -- and I -- did with it after you seemed to lose all hope."

If you're struggling in trading or, more importantly, in life ... hang onto that last chip.

For it might be the start of something you never expected.

And result in something you'll never forget.