Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Boredom and Magic Peanut Trees

Finished up the TopRankedPoker signup bonus yesterday, for a whopping haul of -€32. And yes, sports fans, that includes the €600 bonus.

So how exactly did I manage to dump €632 over the span of a week or so, flexing my poker muscles at 2/4 and 3/6 LHE tables and 0.50/1 NL tables? I'm really not sure. Well, no, that's a lie. Got the bad end of the set over set stick a few too many times, but mainly I was playing without much enthusiasm or interest, playing for the sake of getting hands in, without much interest in the results.

That last one is the kicker, and one that I find a bit odd. I've been plenty burned out before and poker motivation has waxed and waned a good bit, but I'm usually competitive enough (and driven by monkey greed for money enough) to play pretty hard, when I sit down to play, whether I want to be sitting there or not.

But not so much lately. Lately it feel more like I'm sitting down, mashing buttons in a pattern that I've learned that, more often than not, results in a small window opening and a peanut rolling out of it. Except for the times when I mash the buttons in the same exact pattern and get an electric shock instead, and no peanut.

I mash the buttons and mostly good things happen, if I mash them enough, but not always. And the difference between good and bad is often sheer randomness, and not so much an increase or decrease in the skill or frequency of button-mashing. I've continued to mash buttons because I like peanuts, and because I'm fairly good at the button-mashing, able to avoid the electric shock most of the time, but in the end all I have, even when successful, are a few more peanuts than I started with. And that's after spending a lot of time mashing buttons, instead of doing any other number of things.

And I like peanuts, don't get me wrong, but I'd much rather own a peanut tree (yeah, I know, but work with me here) and just go out and pick one, when I wanted a peanut. My motivation and interest, over time, is more towards doing what I need to do to own the peanut tree, as opposed to working at accumulating individual peanuts in ever-increasing amounts.

And the obvious answer is to take a break, and I probably will, and I'll more than likely find myself wanting to play poker again in the near future, but it is a bit of an odd feeling, just being outright bored with playing. Not frustrated, not burned out, but just completely and utterly bored with the game itself.

As far as lingering poker lessons, I think it's easy to underestimate just how small the advantage of the best players is in many games, and that you really need all of your ducks in a row, mentally and physically, to play your best. I've been prone to chalk up some poor runs over the last few months to variance and crazy monkey play, but in the end nearly all of it can be tied back to me, and my less than optimal mindset. A few bad turn decisions an hour can kill the expected profit of even the best players, wreaking even more havoc on those of us in the middling range.

It's easy to convince ourselves that we're fired up, ready to play our best, but that's likely pretty rarely true. Stressing over paying all of the bills by the end of the month? Not the best time to play poker. Yawning as you sit down and fire up the poker machine? Not the best time to play poker. Hiding in the office after arguing with the wife/husband/kids/rat? Not the best time to play poker.

It's more a matter of balance, methinks, than anything. And that should work itself into better shape in the future, as I've been getting more interested in the artsy-fartsy stuff I do, like welding and banging on copper, especially now that we're set up at home to monkey around with such stuff. Getting more freelance work is helping, too, as I'd like to look at poker more as a hobby than as an expected source of additional income each month. If I can shift that expecation to artsy-fartsy stuff I make + freelance work, then hopefully I can get back to playing poker when I feel like it, for the fun of playing.

Not much else exciting going on in Scurvy world. I've just about got the mini-foundry put together and will soon be doing Jebus knows what with molten aluminum in the backyard (insert maniacal laughter). Need to buy an argon/CO2 canister for the MIG welder and we'll be and running with that, too.


WillWonka said...

I haven't faired so well at TRP either. I am only half way there and have dropped almost an entire deposit... mostly 1/2 NL killed me with similar set over sets and stuff; but limit hasn't been going much better.. Hopefully the second half will be bette

Meek said...

Poker hiatus, eh? Are you going to rename this blog "Sound of a Casting Spout" then?

kurokitty said...

No rat pic. No peanut.

littleacornman said...

If you ever find a peanut tree gonnae send me a cutting!

I hope the hiatus doesn't extend to your blog.

Happy peanut hunting...

Boardet said...

Hey Scurvy, I hear you. Been feeling the same about poker for a while. I have been playing and grinding for enourmous amounts of time earlier, but at this time, im working at my thesis which has been taking most of my time the last 60 days or so.

In that 60 day period, I have played poker in what amounts to less than 24 hours, total. And the truth is, that I dont really miss it (that much). In fact, its so enjoyable to see my friends bitching over msn when they get run over by 2 outers. At those occations i get to see what this game does to you sometimes.

In those hours that i HAVE played i have played with a pure delight and top notch motivation. With that follows really good results, as you stated in your post, I agree on that.

So, basically what I tell you is this: Quit poker a a part/full time "hobby". Find another big interest in your life (looks like you allready found that)and play poker only when you really want. With that approach you maximize your enjoyment, profit and get some quality time getting a lot of work done on a lot of fronts(i dont think sitting in front of a screen 5 hours a day is quality time).

Say hi to the rat for me, will ya?


Mark said...

I just started on the TPR bonus. I won't argue with the rat, and hopefully the peanuts will keep coming.