07/06/2012

A Square Peg in a Round Hole

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

It is only when I look back at the time when I first started playing poker that I realise that I have never been a natural poker player. It is simply a game that I have worked very hard at and studied very intently simply because it fascinated me greatly as does any form of gambling. But it is clear now looking back that I was trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole and even when I was making money then the process always seem tortuous to me. These days while I still have big issues with motivation to play and tilt... life isn’t quite so bad and the round hole is now far more square shaped.

I still have issues with tilt but I figure that this will always be with me as I am too competitive and hate losing and as we all know, you cannot control your results on the whole in poker. I guess what I am trying to say here is that poker and online poker is so multi-faceted that many people really never get to realise where their true strengths lay. Many hammer away at tournament poker for instance unaware that a career playing cash could be very fruitful or vice versa.

In my opinion online poker is one of the most difficult areas in which to make a living. I am not just talking about big money here either but any sort of wage level. Even a £10/hour earn rate still requires 40 hours per week sat in front of a computer screen with no interaction and variance to annoy you just to clear £400/week. Very good money for some but online poker is hardly a long term career even if you start off with the best of intentions like I did.

I am trying to not look too closely at my own individual situation in a vacuum because some people are more cut out for grinding than others and I clearly am not. These young kids who can play for hour after hour on games consoles are made for online grinding. Clearly though we live in a society where a work ethic amongst the younger population is diminishing and modern living itself is making us soft and unable to psychologically accept tough jobs or jobs that we perceive as tough. It is probably why so many people flock to online poker because they see it as some Holy Grail... a way to get around the problem of going out to work and having to get up at the crack of dawn to the sound of an alarm clock.

We are in a recession but the numbers of online players remains almost identical to a few years ago. Clearly some of them are becoming more skilled but just how much time does the average player have to devote to learning poker? I believe that the average player devotes some time to learning the game and becomes fairly mechanically solid and this is certainly the case in full ring games. We can use the bell curve model to help us build up player profiles of our average opponents which actually helps us if we ever go into the often debated world of mass tabling. So knowing what your “average” opponent is doing at an “average” level is a pretty sound base to work from if your goal is to find value amongst the weak-tight fish in lower stakes full ring games for example where the calibre of player is weaker in my opinion than a comparable six max game.

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