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05/16/2006: "do you see why?"

in mid-April i was reading something (online blog, magazine, etc) where the author talked about playing his hands blind - and making money!

we've all read the lines that it is "position, position, position" that matters and you should "play your opponent, not your cards", etc. as i have been bouncing around the limits in no-limit hold 'em ring games, from $1/$2 up to $5/$10, i have been trying to come to grips with my game and how i play. i have had the feeling that i play too much ABC poker. but i have begun to accept the fact that my game is a work in progress and i finally feel comfortable enough with my skill set to begin to monkey with my mechanics. variety is the spice of life!

so, one night i decided to play 50 hands blind. i chose to play $.50./$1 NLHE 9-handed. not giant stakes, but enough so that i would feel that i was getting my money's worth. i bought in for the min, $50.


i took an index card and trimmed it into a triangle shape and masking taped it over my cards on my flat panel. i bought in and away i went. i didn't take a lot of notes, but here's what i jotted down (verbatim) during the short session:

* assurity (nice word, dork!) - false security that seeing cards means control when in reality, cards matter only small amount

* position position position - means most in play

* unopened pots on button always raise. always.

* blinds are tough to defend, so go on faith

and here are the stats and results:
51 hands
11 saw flop
3 saw turn
1 saw river
1 saw showdown

2 won preflop
3 won flop
1 won turn
0 won river
1 won showdown

bought in for $50
cashed out for $74.90

one, i'll grant you the sample size is pretty small, too small to mean anything in statistical analysis. but i was trying to gauge my feel and grasp of the game, particularly how i felt with my main sense (sight!) removed.

one thing i picked up was that i am probably not using the button and unopened pot aggression enough in my normal play. when i play live ($6/$6NLHE) there is a gentleman who plays that always raises on the button when the pot is unopened. always. he also always pops it 5xBB. i have taken note of this during our play together and noticed how hard it is to put him on a hand and defend my blinds. are suited connectors worth the risk? a weak ace? the one time i get a small pocket pair does he have a real hand? up till this point, i hadn't really encorporated this tactic into my play, i.e. i sometimes will steal on the button when the pot is unopened, but i am guessing it is 1/10 times i get the chance. in hindsight, coupled with these few hands playing blind, i realize i probably should be attacking the blinds more often.

the other note that resonated with me was how weak i felt in defending my blinds. 3xBB opens that get folded to me are tough to handle when you have no grasp on what cards you have. this highlighted that besides not defending enough, i am probably not raising enough, which is a tool that helps define my opponents hand more clearly.

anyway, i am sure i will try this little experiment again in the future. i would like to get 500 hands in so that i could gauge a large set of results; i also think it mentally toughs up my game!

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