I hereby issue this challenge to any and all readers of this blog (and there aren't that many of you, so it shouldn't be a big challenge).
In your next poker game, I want you to play your normal game, but I want you to write down how many chips are left in front of you after the first 20 hands have been dealt. Just write it on a business card and stick it in your wallet. Then continue the game as you normally play.
The next time you play, look at your hole cards, and fold. No matter what they are. And do it for two full rounds (or 20 hands if there are less than 10 at the table). So if there are 10 people at your table, fold 20 straight hands, regardless of what they are. And yes, I mean fold K-K. Fold A-A. Fold EVERYTHING.
Then, at the end of two full rounds, count your chips.
There ya go, that is the full extent of the challenge. I issue it just to show you that after 20 straight folds to start a tournament, you will have "lost" only 3 big blinds (if you have a full 10 person table). So if you start with 8,000 chips, the blinds are 50/100, and you fold 20 straight hands, you will have 7,700 chips left. Almost exactly what you started with, and you haven't played a single hand in TWENTY STRAIGHT HANDS.
I am betting, for the vast majority of you, that you will have MORE chips in the 2nd example than you do in the first. In other words, the amount of chips in front of you in the 2nd game will exceed the number you have written on the business card in your wallet.
How do I know this? Simple. It is because I play poker 4-5 times a week. I know that most of you are playing entirely too many hands, especially early in the game. You think "well, its only 100 chips, and I have 8,000, so maybe my A-4 suited will hit a flush". And you then pizz away 100 chips, because the flop comes 7-7-10, with no hearts, and you have to fold to any bet. OR...even worse...the flop comes 7-7-10 and you try to bluff it, and you get called or reraised by someone with a real hand, and you are down several hundred chips. And the reason you are down....is because you played the hand to begin with.
I issue this challenge because I know one thing for sure: The vast majority of you will not be able to do it. You simply cannot fold 20 straight hands. My personal best is 73 straight hands, where I am either not in the big blind, or the big blind is raised preflop. I do not count if I am the big blind and nobody raised me. Then I play the hand because I had to, not because I decided to. But most of you will simply succumb to boredom and play anyway.
I challenge anyone out there to try to beat my personal best of 73 folded hands in a row. Someone might, but you are a rare bird if you do.
I bring this up this morning because of one hand from Saturday night. And this hand is a perfect example of someone calling "just to call". Probably because he was tired of me raising preflop, or whatever other reason he wants to come up with.
So, seven people at the table, I'm 2nd to act after the big blind, and I raise 4 times the big blind. The guy to my left immediately calls, but you can see on his face that he is calling ME, and not calling because he has great cards. Time to shut me down I guess.
Everyone folds around, so it is me and him. Flop comes 4-7-8. I check, he immediately bets a reasonable amount. I call.
Turn comes a 10. I check, he moves all in, I call.
He turns over 8-10 for two pair. What do you think I have? If you guessed trip 7's, you win the prize today. And I take down around a $100 cash pot.
Now, most people are saying "Well, two pair...he's gonna have to show me trips too." Which sounds good, but you aren't looking deep enough into the story to figure out what went wrong. I didn't win $100 because I got lucky and hit trips to someone's two pair. I won $100 because the other person called a raise, out of position, with 8-10 offsuit. Period, end of story. At no time from preflop to the river was I EVER behind in that hand. Had the person done the right thing, and thrown his crappola in the garbage, where it belonged, he would have played on and possibly won some money.
I suspect he called me because he was tired of me raising. But honestly: NOT GOOD ENOUGH. If you want to make a stand against someone, at least do it with a reasonably good hand. 8-10 is NOT a reasonably good hand. In fact, it is totally garbage.
Now, if I continually raise your blind, then maybe at some point you need to take a stand with a lesser hand. You can't just continually let me steal your blind, because if you show that you'll fold it without primo cards, trust me, I will continue to steal it. But taking a stand when you are not in any way a part of the hand is never a good idea, without good cards to do it with.