Saturday, December 03, 2005

Winning and Losing

Winning ang losing is a constant battle for poker players. Running bad or good, playing well or not, is it just variance, all come up in one way or another. This is a VERY good read in my opinion on the subject posted on 2+2. I like some of the points this player makes:

We poker players always think we are better than we actually are. We think we are farther along than we actually are. That is why losses hit us so hard. We think we are invincible. We don’t “deserve” to lose. Well guess what, everyone deserves everything they get in poker. Luck doesn’t exist in the long term. If you lose over a proper sample size it’s because you didn’t have the edge you thought you had.

I think this was well said and overlooked must of the time by most players. Everyone seems to understand "the long term" but most miss the point about losing over a sample size. This is where varience seems to catch the most flack. Variance is a part of poker life but you can still work to control how big a swing it is.

Winning at poker is dangerous. Very dangerous. We are all more results oriented than we think we are. We think if we win its because we were supposed to, and when we lose its because of variance.

The fact is that good and bad runs will come and are you good enough to take advantage of them both. It takes a lot of study time for both. Did I get the max value out of my cards during the good run and did I lose the minimum amunt during the bad run.

Losing is a part of winning. Throughout the long streaks, where the right-most column in your spreadsheet will keep reading “0,” you have to be able to be objective. Don’t assume you are playing bad, but don’t assume its only variance. The only way you can know what it is, is to be super critical with yourself. Even when you are playing well, you will make stupid plays, but how often?

This is where I need the most work at. Studying my play during the good runs. I think we all tend to take too much credit in the good run and forget to look back and see the tiny mistakes that missed us a bet here and a bet there. Maybe the hand that we made a "good fold on" that had the pot odds to go on with and we would have won with on the river. Didn't matter much at the time because we where up big but when the ugly end of variance raises its head, those bets here and there and pots dropped will make a difference. If you stop and think that 1-2 BB/hour is the average, it doesn't take that big a mistake to wipe out a whole hour of work.

Studying during the bad runs is probably what most players do normally. Even then I think we sway towards studying the unbeleivable draws that came in against us and trying to figure out where it went wrong. Not only will that happen but I am glad it does. That's how money is made. I need to study harder the hands that I played wrong altogether and start working on those areas.

I could probably ramble about this forever. Most subjects that hit close to home I can ramble on about. Go read the article, it was a great look inside a poker players summer.

Till Next Time

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Peaceful Easy Feeling

….and I feel better about my limit hold'em game now than I ever have, and I know I'm learning again, which is fantastic.


In a zone, focused, on a run or whatever you want to call it, I’m there. I’d like to think that –EV nailed it though. Though I have had more winning sessions than losing, I can not honestly say I am winning more than my fair share. I am winning at an alarming BB an hour rate that will eventually level itself out for sure. There is a difference though in my game. What do I think it is? I have come to an understanding.

I am not as articulate as Hank, or a good communicator like Pauly, or the master of the uber-post or even good under So-Co. That’s why I like this blog. It makes me try to put into words what I have learned and I think I am getting better at it.

I have reached another plateau in my poker career. This one came quietly and without much fan fair or fireworks. I didn’t wake up and say “A HA!” or shout from the mountain top. To be up front about it, I missed it all together. I can not tell you when it happened but ironically can tell you it happened while I was not playing poker a lot.

All the information I have put into my head has finally gelled together into a usable mass of information. I finally have a solid foundation of the poker basics I can call on when I need it. I found this out over the last couple weeks when I would not only make a certain play but I caught myself explaining to myself why this play was the right play. I found that the hands I would put my opponents on were getting more specific and I am getting more accurate.

It as taken me over a year to confidently write this and get to this comfort level but I can now say I am top 1 or 2 at every limit table I sit at in my level. Looking back, I can see that I pushed limits a little to fast. Though I am not sure anyone could have told me any different at the time, but I will agree that money is not the only reason you move up limits.

I wish I could say that is that but we all know it doesn’t work that way. I believe now I am ready for more information and to expand my horizons a bit more. I know I have higher limits to obtain. As –EV said, I am learning again, which is fantastic!

Till Next Time!