Thursday, May 15, 2008

White Light, White Heat

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I have a Velvet Underground lyric stuck in my head. White light goin' messin' up my mind is something that has been playing on a loop on and off for the last twelve hours.

Sometimes I cannot explain my own actions. Example... I was in the middle of a horrendous session last night playing 1/2 NL and 2/4 NL. The planets aligned perfectly which meant that I automatically became a magnet for bad beats. Big Slick succumbed to weak aces on two different instances when my opponents caught their three outers and paired their kickers.

I was adrift in a storm of nasty beats and I quickly lost my vision. Every couple of minutes I screamed obscenities at my laptop because the onslaught was relentless.

I sucked up the beats and reloaded. More bullets were necessary to get the bullets back that I had lost. I can withstand a bad beat, even two or three in any given session. I shake them off and focus on the next hand. But once that fourth and fifth beat sinks in, it's tough to shake it off. The white heat lingers and a burning sensation rockets through my entire body.

The white heat?


White light goin' messin' up my brain. White light driving me insane.

I never should have made the third rebuy. Instead, I should have logged off my computer and smoked myself silly until I felt the tickle return to my toes.

Alas, I didn't listen to my gut. I'm stubborn sometimes and I was on slight-tilt. You would think that I would always have control of my actions, but there are times when I lose complete control due to temporary insanity. Slight-tilt eventually leads to mega-tilt but that's difficult to see when you don't have perspective on things. It's far easier for me to critique my play twelve hours after the fact than in the heat of the moment.

I continued to play through the maelstrom of beats despite my sloppy play. I won a couple of pots. Finally won a coin flip and thought that I was back on track until I lost a big hand with Queens and my opponent couldn't lay down unsuited Big Slick on an uncoordinated board despite two pot-sized bets from your hero on both the flop and the turn. We got in all in on the turn and when that King spiked on the river... I lost all semblance of cool. My sanity slipped out the back door and ran down the alley past the homeless guy making a ruckus digging through the dumpster for cans.

I found myself at a dead end of emotions. I was convinced that I could get unstuck or at the least, win back half of my losses. But I also knew that my decisions-making abilities were less than optimal. If I continued, I was exposing more of my bankroll and could easily be down a couple of more buy-ins within the hour.

I knew that the only way out was to say goodbye, retreat, and return to fight another day.

I'm still amazed that I can play solid poker for several weeks straight and then surreptitiously play like complete fool. At this stage in my poker life, those outbursts happen less and less frequently... but they still happen. Someday, I'll plug that leak. For now, I threw on a few pieces of duct tape and hope that will hold.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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