01/04/2005

Have you ever watched Horse Racing, and seen those blinkers or hoods they put on some horses? It never used to make any sense to me, until I began to see the application in terms of playing poker. The concept is identical, to enable one to focus clearly on the winning post and ignore the distraction of the other horses and/or the crowd.You may feel I've lost the plot, but stick with it, and see if I can talk my way back to sanity.

One of the hardest things to do is to keep everything simple, and to continue with a winning system. As soon as I get comfortable in my game of choice, as soon as I feel I can beat it and am winning consistently, I feel it's time to move up to a bigger game. Everone tells me how easy the bigger games in the room are, I can see how badly some of the players play, it must be time to move up! At this point the alarm bells go off. Moving to a bigger game is not a decision to be taken lightly. The easiest way to go broke when playing poker is to play too big

This is a natural aspiration for players to move up to a bigger game. However it may be just another distraction which will become a hinderance rather than a help. When I am ready financially, moving to a bigger game is an important step in terms of my progress. Moving before I am ready is just another way to guarantee failure. In a bigger game if I am underfinanced in terms of bankroll, I will struggle to survive.The idea, that because I am a better player than someone with a much bigger bankroll, therefore I will win, is false. So the distraction of bigger and better games should be viewed cautiously with the awareness of the dangers inherent in playing bigger.

You always hear about the big winners in poker (the big losers are more discrete), and with the growth of internet, there are now alot more of them.Teenagers from Scandinavia and the UK earning six or seven figures from the game. People winning the World Series after entering a $40 satellite. It makes me wonder how I can be so ineffective by comparison. But the fact is, these are just further distractions which I need to see from the correct perspective. There will always be someone winning more than me, there will always be people playing bigger, and there will always be people luckier (and unluckier). The point is that these people who represent one end of the spectrum of achievement or success should be viewed as demonstrating what can be achieved. The distraction comes in when I attempt to emulate them, or measure my own progress against them. Experience tells me to concentrate on how I am doing, and what works well for me, and to ignore everyone elses success's and failure.The fact that they make me feel like I am moving backwards, doesn't stop their example being inspiring in terms of the possibilities.

But one of the biggest distractions of all for me, is tournaments. Tournaments are a way for me to play bigger than normal. Tournaments have a touch of glory about them, and that makes them more attractive as an activity for emotional reasons.Tournaments are a way of competing with the Top players which satisfies my competetive nature.Thats the up side.The down side is they take along time to play live, are expensive to enter, and the fluctuation is huge. If you are playing for fun, they are ideal, if you play for a living, and you have to pay for them yourself, most of the time they will be just another distraction. Yes I can win much more in a tournamet than in my normal cash game, but how often?

Some people would just see opportunities, but all I seem to see are distractions. I would definitly benefit from wearing blinkers.If I can just keep my eye on the winning post I may get there eventually.