Now that you‟ve opened this thread, let me warn you… Unlike some of the smart individuals around this forum, I‟m unable to deliver a long-winded, well thought out, and constructed article on something strategy specific in this pooh-bah post. So if that is what you‟re looking for, then hit the back button and slowly slink out
Instead, I am going to do something very typical of myself. I‟m going to write something generalised, certainly non-factual, and what will at some point become the definition of non- revolutionary. Yes. I will be spewing my opinions in this thread.
Being serious though, I have learnt a lot in my time as a poker player and as a member of these forums. What I intend to do is to share some of the things I have learnt along the way. It won‟t be strategy specific, nor will it be mind-blowing. But there are some things that I really believe in and I guess my intention is to share them with whoever cares…
#1 Opinion: Finding your Niche
This applies in a much broader sense when you first decide to play poker. Do you play MTT‟s, 6m cash, SNG‟s etc etc… I went through several different forms of poker before I found one that I felt really comfortable with (which was obviously husng). In regards to HUSNG‟s, you obviously have the option of playing many different formats if we take into account the different structures on different skins.
Although poker is a skill and all formats can be learned by a competent individual, I personally believe that we will have a natural propensity to be better at a certain format than another. Many factors obviously influence which it is that we are going to be better at, but I think it‟s important to try to establish what your most profitable format is. It‟s kinda like how people (fish) see
their hero (Phil Hellmuth) on the tv and want to be like him so they automatically play MTT‟s, and likely never venture into trying out other games. Well that could be you! You play turbos on FTP because of X,Y and Z reason, yet you have never tried out any other format… Do you beat the game you chose? Yeah sure, but it doesn‟t mean it‟s necessarily your best game. People are scared of change, and if something ain‟t broke, why fix it??? Well why not give yourself the opportunity to upgrade it?
#2 Opinion: The Different Sides of Variance
People tend to think of variance in one way only, and I think that is an ignorant approach. People say “eh i‟m running so f****** bad right now. Stupid variance” (and this is the only type of variance). In reality every time we sit down and play we are experiencing variance, whether it be good, bad, or ugly.
The first side of variance is the one we most often consider and that is how we are running in all-ins. Are we getting sucked out on? Are we holding? Etc etc…
The second side of variance is the coolers and setups. I guess this is the second most complained about scenario (because we rarely hear when hero is getting the good side of it).
The third side of variance is the situational variance that we encounter. By this I mean, are we just getting no hands or are we missing every single flop. Conversely, are we getting a ton of hands and hitting a ton of flops…? Or is it somewhere in between?
I hear you thinking, „yeah I‟m no idiot, I know all of this!‟… Well have you ever considered the fact that it‟s likely that all of these factors are working at the same time? Every time we sit down for a match we are experiencing all of these factors, which leads me to my real point. Don‟t think that just because you‟re a ton below EV that it is your true expectation. It‟s easy to review your game and say well I got 3-outered 6 times in 10 matches so obviously i‟m just running bad. Ask yourself also, “was I running good situationally?”, “were all of the coolers and setups in my favour to begin with?”. When trying to examine the variance that we are being affected by we must consider more than just the factors that are blatantly obvious, and instead try to understand everything that was out of our control to best critically examine what we can control.
# 3 Opinion: Poker Friends
This has probably been the most influential factor of my poker life. 2p2 is a good place to learn but it‟s full of ****ty posters and equally ****ty posts. When you can filter out the crap you can find a lot of smart individuals who are also good people.
I‟ve spent a lot of time talking to numerous people online over MSN, AIM, and Skype. This has allowed me to keep my sanity when I‟m sitting in front of a computer grinding by myself for so many hours. I am a very social person, so it‟s hard for me to go from constantly being around people at work and university to sitting in front of a computer for many hours of the day for work. To go with this, I have learnt an absolute ton from the people that I talk to on a daily basis, more than I could learn from some training site, coaching, or from the forums themselves. Obviously I have been lucky in the people I associate with, but this will be true in a lot of cases. We don‟t always talk about poker, in fact it makes up a pretty small % of the conversations we have. But it does allow me to keep my sanity and have some fun along the way with people I truly consider friends.
#4 Opinion: STOP being results oriented
Here we go again…! No not really, I‟m not going to go into this really as too many people have done so in the past. However, I cannot emphasise this enough… STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR RESULTS!!! STOP LOOKING AT YOUR SHARKSCOPE!!! STOP THINKING ABOUT BEING DOWN FOR THE DAY/WEEK/MONTH!!!!
START THINKING ABOUT YOUR PLAY AND CRITICALLY ANALYSING IT~!!!!!!
#5 Opinion: Maintaining life balance
This is so simple but I cannot stress the importance of this enough. If you are not happy in yourself and your life then it is very unlikely that you are going to be in a positive frame of mind when it comes to playing poker. Grinding mindless amount of hours is not going to make you happy, even if you are making a ton of money (except in some very rare circumstances/people). You really should try to interact with real people and you should try to do things that make you happy outside of poker. They say that exercise etc makes you more focussed and so on (which could be true), but in reality it should be amended to doing things that make you feel good about yourself or doing things that make you happy will make you more focussed and relaxed at the tables.
If anything stands out in this post I guess it should be to not lie to yourself. I know that I‟m no poker genius; hence, I‟m not attempting to write anything super deep rooted. I understand that there are many players better than me and that I have a ton to learn. I also know who I am as a person, and I don‟t attempt to hide my true nature so that I look like something I am not… (If you haven‟t worked out that I‟m mildly sarcastic, don‟t take myself too seriously, and that I‟m an utter smart ass by now then maybe you need to work on your hand-reading skillz).
Don‟t kid yourself into thinking you‟re smarter, better, or know more than you do… There is also no point in trying to convince others that you are smarter, better, or know more than you do… The only way to move forward in both life and poker is to be honest with yourself and focus on learning to become a better person and/or a better poker player.