Monday, September 26, 2005

Reflections On The Weekend

I was pretty miffed on Sunday morning, as memories of the night before reverberated through my aching brain.

Six months ago I'd have been stomping around like a bear with a sore head, and back on the tables by lunchtime. Hoping to recoup my losses from tired, drunk west coast Americans.

Instead I spent the morning with wife and daughter. Somehow the poker tables don't seem half as important when there's an infant asleep on my chest, her tiny hand grasping my shirt as she cosily snuggles in.

Right now, I'd say that's the greatest feeling in the world. There's a benign tranquility that comes from knowing that I helped make her, and right now that little bundle of perfection is entirely reliant on Mrs Div and I.

Nothing else matters to us half as much as she does.

With this new found outbreak of common sense in my life, I was able to review the previous night's activities with a clearer sense of perspective than normal.

For someone who has been playing poker for less than a year, I've an awful tendency to lapse into a superiority complex when playing.

Just because say 40% of the table are demonstrably terrible - like the guy who just called a raise with A567, flopped no obvious draw on a flushing board but still called another big bet and runner-runnered an ignorant straight - I tend to assume I'm clearly superior to everyone. Which obviously is not the case.

Consequently there's a tendency to assume losing hands are bad luck rather than bad play. Often they are, but there were quite a few from this weekend where I was clearly the sinner rather than sinned against.

Having accepted that, I was trying to figure out the root cause of the bad plays, and this led me to a conclusion that slightly surprised me, though in retrospect it makes perfect sense.

Normally I'm an extremely patient player. When I play live, whether homegames, or my occasional forays in casino or card club, I am invariably the table rock.

When I blow the dust off my chips and stick them in the middle, people sit up and take notice.

That style of play is actually easier for me to maintain live than online at present. When I go to play B&M the night is set aside. There are no distractions from the game.

At home, even though I can multitable and see a ton more hands, there are other unpredictable demands on my time. Each session can end at any moment.

This wouldn't be a problem if I was maintaining the long view, but I've been too focused on each session as an atomic event, rather than looking at the long term bankroll trend. I've been chasing.

Consequently I've been guilty of trying to make things happen when the circumstances are unfavourable. Trying to push people off hands, chasing draws when the odds aren't there, overvaluing my strong hands, too much speculative limping.

For someone who is far from an action junkie, I've been seeing a lot of action!

Aggression with a purpose is one of the biggest weapons in the poker armoury; aggression for the sake of aggression is a leak of Titanic proportions.

There aren't many sports or activities where the superior player or team can always prevail, no matter the circumstances, through pure aggression. Poker certainly isn't one of them.

So, I have resolved to sit back, and let the cards fall as they may. When they fall well I play, when they fall badly I fold, and if I'm down at close of play, it's irrelevant. The long term trend is all.

My motto for this week: No more chasing!


Joe Speaker said...

Thank you Baby Div, on behalf of tired, drunk West Coast Americans.

Some nights are gonna be like that, where the idjits get the upper hand. Just gotta shower off the stench and get 'em next time.

Clearly, I'm not the "pep talk" type.

Div said...

In all seriousness, I reckon the ideal location to live and play online poker could be worthy of a post of its own.

(Takes note)