Emotional < --<< You >>–> Logical

Whether you are a seasoned poker player or a recreational one, I think we can all relate fairly well to this post.  If you haven’t put it together yet, this post is about being pulled 2 ways while playing poker.

This post was inspired by my own play last night after doing something stupid at a FT.  I’ll break down the events that lead up to this “stupid mistake” by me:

I had been super aggro at the last 2 tables and built up a nice stack.  This doesn’t go unnoticed at this stage in a tourney by most players, so you have to expect to be played back at a bit.  So, we get to the FT and I’m CL and everyone is fairly deep stacked.

There was this 1 villain that I’d end up 3 betting from the blinds like 3 times, because they were opening position quite frequently, and that’s just not something you can let go on without keeping someone in check with a 3bet here and there.  Anyway, IP (In Position) this villain had flatted ALL my 3bets AND rivered a set/str8 against me everytime for big pots.  The holdings were always 46o type hands and so I started thinking how can I combat this, because I’m not going to let this guy keep doing this against me… (Yes, perhaps I could have taken different routes to avoid seeing rivers, ect., but the point of this post is not hand strategy).  Simply put, I was getting annoyed.

**So I had built up a stack of about 50bb and was dealt 88 in the SB and GUESS WHO raises IP???  Yes, above stated villain!  Here we go… this is  where I’m going to stand up… this is where I’m going to do something different to end this frustration and give myself some satisfaction over him… They make it 20k at 5k/10k, I make it 60k from SB, they make it 120k, I snap 5bet jam, then snap call with QQ – GOOD GAME DREW!

I proceed to slam my laptop shut and fume for a little.  I start asking myself “what just happened”?

This is what I came up with after reflecting upon the situation…

1st  – It’s good to have a plan in poker, but I should not be snap 5bet jamming 88 with 45bb, 6 handed at a FT. (I had planned on going balls to the wall with this hand, NOT thinking logically about it… BUT moreso emotionally).  BIG MISTAKE.  See 2nd thought below now.

2nd  – Villain in prior hands was FLATTING all my 3bets with these marginal holdings… why would they 4bet me with a marginal holding now?  When I make my 3bet larger than prior?

3rd – I had 45bb and there is no need for overplaying this hand in this spot with shorter stacks behind me… I got $900 for 6th and 1st was $4200.  Assuming an edge over most of the players remaining, I should not have to take a high variance line to ensure I get at least top 3 finish with this stack.

It took me 15 seconds to think of these 3 things after I busted and the timebank I had left was more than that.  So my fatal error here was that I let my EMOTIONS pull me off the track VS thinking LOGICALLY about the situation.

SIDENOTE: Looking at this from the other side, this is such a sick setup for this Villain.  This exact situation just goes to show the value in using your portrayed image and it coming in to play when forcing opponents to make mistakes.  If you can play the game and understand this dynamic well, you will make a shitload of money.  Also, to own someone on this level is quite a great feeling 😉

Hope this read was useful for anyone reading!

This is what seperates good players from great players… being able to seperate the two and keep your focus on the big pictures ect ect…


  1. Sick read….it seems I always start out with that “Sick read…” when I finish reading your articles…Definitely an interesting analysis of emotional vs logical thinking…yes, the timebank is definitely something we “emotional laggys” need to employ. Even if using the timebank to simply slow down the “emotional rage against the machine” urge we have brewing. Kudos sir, once again you have risen to LvL 5 and outplayed us all, per ususal 😀 keep em coming!!

  2. Know the feeling , and have obviously done this myself more than a couple times. I think we all just have to remind ourselves to make sure we think every hand we play through before making our final decision . Take your time and don’t let your emotions get the best of you , that way we do not leave any EV on the table in these important spots .


  3. I watched the said final table. I feel once you got back to 550k or so you didn’t switch gears very well. Stayed fairly agro when like you stated, probably had an edge on most the remaining players. One thing deep I always think to myself is: Am I better than my comp or worse? If better, why put yourself in high variance situations, see flops, play hands, out play them, don’t flip for your stack. If I feel I am worse than most, I feel I should be flipping a lot more as I will spew many chips getting out played. All in all, I think if you change gears & tighten up once you get a nice stack again you take it down, as they will still have you tagged as a lose cannon. Wait for them to make the mistakes, no need to be getting crazy when you are better and have chips to play w/. When said vilian 4 bet or 3 bet it set off warning bells as I watched, he flatted every hand he played when you 3 bet, why 4 bet now? My dad gave me great advice before he passed “If you can’t make sense of it & they do something unexpected, just get out” pre flop that is. Still a decent ship though!

  4. very well said bud!! great read…i had a similar spot today where i acted very quickly and right after i was WTF did u just do that for Cory!??!?! it took me like u said about 15 seconds to realize my mistake…here it is in in short…avg stack in the the tournament was about 14k..i had about 19k to start the hand an the villian had about 12k….a random opens to 400 in MP and theres a flatter..im in the CO with JJ and i 3 bet to 1050…the big blind then just instantly shoves in 12k…fold, fold an it comes back to me and i SNAP call…villian has QQ and way to go Cory you just blew an above avg stack for absolutely no reason at all..if i would have thought about it for like 10 seconds then i would have realized that at best i am in a race situation against AK, mayyyybe AQ, but more than likely dominated bc what other hands am i beating that will 4 bet shove 5o big blinds in a $60 dollar tourney preflop??? I mean really!! So needless to say i was pretty pissed about that and it’s a good example of a spot where – if you dont THINK, your chip stack will SINK, unless of course you BINK!!!…hahaha

    • the prob i think is: are you able to control yourself in the heat of a game after several situation you suffered before. i think a lot is the same in real live in a bar or disco you meet a girl and when the heat is on the blood is in your penis and there is no more rest for the brain to tell you : STOP. so the biggest work a pokerplayer has to do during a game is keep the blood in the brain cool and do the wright dessisions. what is not a easy thing. but this players who are able to do so are winning more in long terme i think. my question now is very simple and also very difficult: how can you lern that? and i not mean for 1 day or 1 game. i mean every pokerday you go to play.
      good luck on the tables and keep your balls cool :-))

  5. good read. totally battle this on a day to day basis lol.. most days i’m pretty good about it.. others.. not so much 😛

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