Saturday, 20 June 2015
Being Patient Like Alex Fitzgerald
Quite often in poker you come across a tricky situation where you are unsure how to act but perhaps feel obliged to act in a certain way. This regularly occurs in my usual jackpot sit n go games. For example when you are dealt a good pocket pair during the mid to late stages of a sit n go you are ready to get involved. But what happens when there is significant action before you. That pair of nines doesn't look quite so attractive, but it might still be the best hand. I recently read a good related article in the final WPT Poker magazine published last December. In it Poker Pro Alex Fitzgerald responded to a question about such a scenario during a multi table tournament. The player asking the question had felt obligated to get involved in a hand based on his chip position and the cards he held even though he did not feel comfortable doing so.
The thing that interested me here was that Alex encouraged the player to avoid the obvious and mathematically optimum strategy in this situation. Instead he was encouraged to follow his instinct and wait for a better spot. Based on my related experiences in the world of sit n gos I agree with this advice for two important reasons. You may be giving up a small amount of equity by following this path. However you are avoiding sacrificing all future potentially clear cut opportunities. As Alex concluded "Making a slightly tight fold is much better than putting in all of your chips without a clear idea as to what's going on." There is possibly a more important second reason, for me at least. Being in control and being mistake free is key to my focused A-game. If I make a mistake or take a path I doubted in this kind of scenario and my actions backfire it can affect my play across all the games I am playing. Suddenly my A game becomes my C game and I take on every opportunity to gamble and flip for chips. Patience is still key especially in the middle stages of a sit and go. So dump the pair of nines, follow instinct not obligation, stay in control and wait for a better spot. See you there.