24/11/2008

Knowing Your True Self

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

I often think that there is a big difference in the player that we really are from the player that we think we are. I know that most players have a tendency to over estimate their game anyway and I am certainly no exception to that rule. But how often have you heard some new seemingly revolutionary analysis from someone or a certain concept that has made you realise that you were not quite as good as you thought you were.

This has happened many times to me over the years. But yet I cannot help thinking that new players who are learning the game now have a somewhat clearer picture in many ways as to what is actually required to win online than the older generation of which at forty years of age... includes me.

I remember talking to a guy who was a department manager for a large financial institution a few years ago. He informed me that it was customary for their company to train up financial consultants from scratch rather than recruit experienced professionals who had worked for other companies.

I can see the logic in this as previous knowledge can sometimes be a handicap rather than a help in certain situations. I feel that the current online poker environment is a good analogy with what that guy was talking about. With regards my online game, I have had to re-invent the wheel several times since I first started and after a pretty bad six months, may have to do so again.

My problem personally is that I am no longer dependent on poker for my income but I cannot help but think that this not only dulls your edge but that it also decreases your inclination to work hard and working hard is something that you really have to do online.

I have read an interview by David Benyamine this week and he was talking about the bad run that he is having recently in the high-stakes online cash games. Things ran very well for David for some time but I would strongly advise him (doubt he needs that from me) to take a very close look at his situation because I personally do not accept any losing run as being variance until I have explored every other possibility and that it is the only explanation left.

As Sherlock Holmes used to say, “the truth can only be arrived at by a process of eliminating the untrue and what is left, however unlikely is the truth”. But I did find faults with my cash game (not going to reveal what they are) but some of them were obvious too. I wasn’t game selecting well enough at the limits that I was playing at in NLHE was one rather obvious cause.

I have often said many times how knowledge does not always guarantee success and this is certainly true in poker. Having tons of poker knowledge won’t necessarily make you a winner in any sphere unless it is specific knowledge. But the online game is changing so rapidly that sometimes it is difficult to keep up with what is happening unless you are immersed in it 24/7.

But I have a big desire to play tournament poker more and more both live and online next year but I also want to get my cash game back in shape... can I do both... probably not. I also need to work on my PLO game and it just isn’t possible to do everything. In fact at times I ought to start practicing what I preach because one of the very first articles that I ever wrote for this site talked about the importance of specialising in order to make money online.

One of the things that I like about writing is that when things go pear shaped and you put it into words then this can have a very sobering and lasting effect. Over a period of several months, I have slowly and almost invisibly evolved into someone whose mindset has not been right in order to win and my ego has stopped me from playing lower.

It’s possible that my game may never be good enough again but it isn’t rocket science to make it good enough but it does take a lot of bloody effort. It takes more effort now because you cannot just plonk your backside down at any table and expect to win online. I have this capacity to work very hard when I get my teeth into something but yet I struggle to do something repeatedly for year after year without losing interest.

I am afraid that taking a year out to play tournament poker may leave me in a position where I am too far gone to beat decent level cash games again because the effort is just too great, a bit like a boxer who retires and then tries to make a comeback. If it seems to some that this article has no discernable topic then all I can say is that this is an article written from the heart about one persons effort to continually win money online and the numerous problems both technical and psychological inherent in doing so year after bloody relentless year.

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