Thursday, June 01, 2006

Compounded Interest is Goot, Compounded Mistakes are Not Goot

Feeling cantankerous and bored isn't a good combination. Consider yeself forewarned.

Go read F-Train's recent post on "luck". Then read it again.

I try to take a pretty laissez-faire approach to stuff that floats around in the world of poker blogs. When it's all said and done, people tend to find their own paths. A few work their way to the point where they're consistently pulling money out of the world of poker, many don't. A few stick with it, continuting to blog and play, many don't.

But man. It makes my spleen ache sometimes to see the amount of misinformation and bad advice that gets dispensed, the negative behavior that gets reinforced, watching people continue to bleed chips away, while all they get is encouragement from the peanut gallery.

Collect and distill all of the pokery advice and strategy in the world and you can pretty much boil it down to the following:

Be honest with yourself.

Poker isn't some mystical, theatrical battle of psyches, karma, and/or creativity. It's just math and pattern recognition, and the willingness to recognize and learn from your mistakes.

If you've played many, many hands of poker and you're not winning, there's something wrong with your poker game. I'm sorry, but there just is.

It's not that you have bad luck because you bashed the last living dodo bird with a rock and supped on roasted dodo. It's not a matter of just adjusting your tinfoil hat into the perfect position. It's not that you just haven't found your style of play yet.

It's because you're not being honest with yourself and because you're not using the plethora of resources available to pinpoint why you're losing, and to take the necessary steps to correct it.

Now, granted, you may be completely and entirely cool with that, playing recreationally, playing for fun, playing for the social aspects of poker. I completely and utterly understand that not everyone is looking to eek out those extra slivers of BB/100, and could largely care less about methodically grinding out profits at the tables. That is completely and utterly copacetic. To be brutally honest, you'll probably get much more pleasure and enjoyment out of poker in the long run if you take that approach.

But if you really and truly want to improve and to win money playing poker, well, there's the mirror. Be honest. Even if it hurts. Because that's what winning players do, each and every day, scrutinizing every single blemish and flaw and horribly misplayed, misbegotten hand they bequeathed onto the world.


John G. Hartness said...

nicely said.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I love it. While it is inarguably laughable when people like Felicia claim there is no such thing as a bad beat, only a bad play, at the same time, most people who claim they are consistently unlucky, regularly getting sucked out on, etc. are either lying to us, or their games are not tailored properly to "convincing" that fish across the table from them not to draw at that silly inside straight on the flop.

All very well said, Scurvy.

Gnome said...

One thing to keep in mind is that skill manifests itself over the long run, and sometimes the long run takes longer than we would like.

Rod said...

Excellent post - I applaud you!

I have been winning for many years and do not consider myself a good player. I'm not real tricky, I don't really pay attention ALL the time unless I'm at a higher limit.

I do know I learn from mistakes, think about the game and know enough about odds to know when and when not to draw to that inside straights.

Perhaps it's not that I'm good but that others are so bad?

Felicia :) said...

"While it is inarguably laughable when people like Felicia claim there is no such thing as a bad beat, only a bad play..."

I never said this. I have no idea where you are getting these quotes, but they are not from my site. They are either out-of-context, or just imagination.

I've never said there is no such thing as "getting in as a huge favorite and then getting beat..."

I said "We don't call those 'bad beats,' we call that variance."

I also never said that bad beats are bad play in the sense that you are speaking. I said when they make a person play badly before, during and after the beat, that is when one is dwelling too much on them. I also said that in many instances, a bad beat happened because of bad play at some point (like someone so tight they got themselves blinded down to two big blinds in a tournament, and then went all-in with AA, got called by the big blind with QT, who made two pair, a straight, a flush, etc). In that case, who truly made the error? Blaming that type of error on a "bad beat" and going around claiming to everyone in the poker room that so-and-so is an 'idiot' and just 'sucked out' is a mistake. Convincing oneself of that type of situation will only lead to compound the problem of "bad beats." It will cause someone to play badly, which was my point all along.

Reading between the lines, taking quotes out of context, or skipping critical lines in my posts seems to be a big problem with some of my readers.

Felicia :) said...

Oh, jeez, btw, scurvy, excellent post.

CC said...

If you're a long-term loser, there's something wrong with your game is absolutely a fact. Very good stuff.