"Take your 'A' game to the table. If you are not feeling that 'A' game, stay away." - Joe Speaker
Last night I think I brought my "C" game to the table, I was mentally exhausted, frustrated from work when I got in, and still thinking about my loses from Sunday. A movie and an early night would have been the best thing for me. Worse, I was pretty aware of all the above symptoms when I sat in front of the computer. Maybe if I'd lost the first couple of hands I'd have realized and got away from it, but I didn't, the deck hit me in the face on the third hand I played, when my pocket K's filled up on the river to beat pocket Q's that had also filled up, +$240. I should have realised at this point that the K's were essentially a suckout, although I had been the one raising the pot and the Q's never played back at me until it was too late. I should have quit. Instead I found a really loose table, which compounded all the problems that should have stopped me from playing in the first place. I started loosening up too, calling very poor hands against the uber-aggressive idiot at our table. Not 'with it' enough to realize what my strategy should be, or which hands were helping and hindering me, I simply wanted action from the aggressive donkey. A couple of times it worked in my favour, more times it failed, I played random. For all the ability I was showing I may as well have been chucking £20 notes at the table blind and hoping my crappy hands held up.
The outcome of this poor session is last weeks very good play has been almost entirely cancelled out. Joe says in his latest post "I was acutely aware of my stupidity". Today I feel exactly like that. The only silver lining is that I usually play better when I'm aware of trying not to repeat mistakes from the previous session than I do when I'm overconfident from successive wins.
One of the targets of a learning poker player is maintaining a neutral emotional state when playing the hand. One of my most important targets now is maintaining a neutral, or rather optimal emotional and mental state before I sit at a session, and keeping it throughout. Lesson #52 in the world of poker, let's hope it's one that's quick to learn.