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Location: london, United Kingdom

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What I'm Doing

So I first played poker because I wanted to make money. Some people play it because they enjoy the challenge. Some play it because they really enjoy it. Some people play because they think its cool. Some people play it because they love to gamble, and some people play it because they really have nothing better to do. Most play due to a combo of the above reasons, as well as for many other reasons that I can't be bothered to come up with.

The lessons I have learned

Anyway I've been semi-successful and have been thinking about how I've changed as a person.
When I first started playing I just messed around. As I grew more successful I started spending a lot more time playing. I'm one of those peoiple who really is very happy in his own company. Some people need people all around them all the time, not me. Don't get me wrong I'm not some wierd, loner guy who has no friends and sits in his room all day reading (or playing poker). I love hanging out with friends but I don't feel the need or desire to do it all the time. When I was first 'successful' I started sucking a LOT at meeting up with people. Within about 3weeks or so people were getting annoyed, and about 2 weeks later it was just taken for granted that I would either be late or not be there at all. This was REALLY bad. I started going to class late/missing class and really just never, ever made anything on time.
This went on for like another 3 months or so, and didnt get any better as I improved as a player. Also my mood would be affected by my previous session (this is something I haven't totally lost). All I ended up talking about was poker and how I was doing for the day/week/month. This went on up till only around 1.5 months ago, mainly perhaps since I have less people to actually talk to in the summer holidays? Either way I generally don't currently like to talk abou it (unless i just pwn). In fact when I go to the gutshot I don't really like to even talk about handhistories. Most people talk about bad beats etc but NEVER mention the most important parts of the HH. i.e. table image, history with villain, stack sizes, perception of villain (apart from... FISH). Sometimes people don't even consider the size of the pot. Right now I actually am trying NOT to talk about poker unless someone brings it up first. Even then I'm trying to brush over it. I do other stuff (ok this is kinda a lie. I WILL be doing other stuff... soon)

What did I learn? Poker is not really that interesting to most people, in the same way I don't give a shit about amateur marathon racing.

I used to play all the time and organise my day/ plans around tournament schedules. Thank God I am now a cash game player. There is no need to all this donkament crap. Just play when I feel good, and the fish will be waiting.

What did I learn? Don't let poker dictate your life. Do what you want to do when you want to do it.

I also used to tilt like CRAZY. One day I jumped from NL25 to NL200 just to win back my money. I martingaled that mofo and busto'd. I managed to rebuild and then have a BR of around $1500 (i think). I then started playing party and paradise BJ, so much so that I'm actually a VIP member on paradise off the back of my BJ play. I ended up going busto at party for around $400 then taking $300 to paradise BJ and going robusto and back to even. Seriously HOLY SHIT. I was martingaling like mofo crazy and really shitting it. BJ at $300 a hand is sick. Even when I started casinowhoing I martingaled when hitting a normal slump. I was such a jackass. These days I pwn BR management. Daily swings don't affect me like they used to and I take everything in stride. I jsut looked at keno and i just went 1/10. Didn't bat an eyelid. This might have bothered me in the past but I know it's just statistical variance.
Interestingly a lot of my peers are going into IB and in trading. Trading has a high turnover of employees. I seriously am not surprised. These kids have NO experience at dealing with statistical variance and enduring it's day to day reality. They think 'oh, I got a job trading govt-bonds at GS. I'm da man! I'm gonna be rich.' True some will be, but it's also true that some won't be able to handle the fact that sometimes you can make the +EV decision but still get fucked. It happens. Some will martingale, some will suck, and some will just be unlucky. I have no idea what 'the long run' is for a trader, but most will not judge it correctly thinking that a couple of months success means they're good, when really it could easily be more like 2years before they know whether or not they are. Standing the test of time is exactly like standing the test of time being a pro gambler. I see this thinking in many small stakes and beginning players. 2000 hands may have taken 20hrs so obviously if they're making a good return over that time they're doing something right? Well, actually no. 2000 hands is nothing, just a drop in the ocean. I talked to a guy yesterday who said that he clocked 13,000 hands a day. Go figure.

What did I learn? Emotional control. Sometimes life deals you absolute shit one day and the stone cold nuts the next day. The trick is to be able to ride both and hopefully come out ahead in between. Also, know what the long run actually is, and be happy with decisions based on whether you did the right thing or not, rather than results. This is relates to life. Just because you got home alright after drinking and then driving doesnt mean you made an +EV decision. That's clearly being results orientated.

Money is important. But then again it isn't. Right now I play enough so that I'm comfortable buying wtf I want. This month I will work hard so that soon I can get to a limit where I can work 10hrs a week and make stupid money per annum. Do I need a job? Not really. If I just played poker I'll easily make graduate money. However I would hate the fact that all I do is take money off people for a living, without adding to society. I envy the medical students, the plumbing apprentices, the trainee accountants of this world. I would not want to do ANY of those jobs, but they have direction and they do provide something that helps society as a whole.
Me? I add nothing, apart from maybe hurting people. If I take $200 off someone at NL200 or $100 off them at NL100, this may spark someone to martingale to get their money back. It's even harder as the stakes move up and after successfully martingaling maybe 5-10 times, the dude goes busto. So he takes money from the bank and redeposits. He eventually goes busto again, and it's a vicious cycle. The dude may end up going broke or close to it, have his home repossesed and get divorced from his wife, and all because I started it off by taking money off him. My current reasoning is that he's gonna lose his money anyway, so someone has to be there to take it, might as well be me... but is that the guy I wanna be? A leacher off other people's misfortune and/or weakness? One time I was at the gutshot a dude in a suit chucked £1.25 at me in chips because he liked my style. I took the money off him because he didn't need it (who passes free money anyway?), but what about the dude sitting to my right who I busted twice who was unshaven and really looked like he hadnt slept in 2 days? He wore a dirty red hoody and looked pained at every hand he lost (and that was quite a few since he sucked ass).

What did I learn? I have no idea what I want to do in life, but know poker is not the answer. I see it only as a short term thing before I 'find myself' (although as a side note I'm hugely grateful for poker as it's really allowed me to be so 'meh' about money)

What do I still need to learn?

  • Money is still money. I used to be the tightest mofo in Christendom when it came to money. Actually I still am, but back in the day I would never ever spend money if I could save it. These days I don't seem to be very prudent anymore. This I guess is a byproduct of the fact that at anyone time I can easily win/lose a week's rent in one click of the mouse, and in 4 clicks can lose a month's rent. I hope to not lose the value of money, ever.
  • Stop talking about winning/losing. I do still suck at this. No one wants to hear about it.Everyone else I know is a broke ass student, so 'bragging' is NOT cool. I was up just over £1000 yesterday. Telling a poker player is cool, they understand the good comes with the bad, but the average joe?
  • Stay disciplined. I haven't crazy tilted in ages. I've had mini-session which haven't cost me too much so I should learn from those lessions NOW. Also I suck at playing long hours. I so hope to clock 1.5k hands a day on average from now on (although not tomorrow).
  • Have fun. I'm not really having all that much fun at poker right now. I've turned it into a job and don't enjoy it as much as I used to.
  • Balance things. Do other things, exercise, read books, learn a foreign language, travel. SOMETHING


Blogger kitaristi0 said...

Very nice post. I'd respond in more detail but I have about a million little annoying bug things hovering around me so I have to try and fend off their attack first.

6:37 PM  

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