Great article dean, I can absolutely relate to what you're saying. When I was younger I was an avid bridge player, at school (15+) I used to play 3/4 hours a day minimum with a group of friends. Each of us became very very good and took our games onto the next level winning county level championships and onto national level. At that level it's not that unusual to play several hours at a time, I remember the under 19's being a good 12 hour day with small breaks. At that point concentration wasn't an issue for me, but when I got to 19 I stopped playing and took up poker. The problem for me then was that poker was a social thing. I had a weekly poker night and I'd play in casino's once a week too. I had no real issues still though with the concentration side of things then, but as time went by I played only socially or occasional evenings. Over the past year or so though I've stepped this up to playing much more online and especially the last 6 months. I've noticed I'm really just not able to concentrate for long periods of time like I used to be and I'm definitely having to adjust.
I think the biggest problem I have is with tournament play, or coming toward the end of a profitable cash session. I basically end up saying oh sod it & making what I know is a silly call. Two recent examples of this, in a recent large field mtt I was well into the money with an above average chip stack and I get dealt AA. I'm sat in the big blind hoping for a raise and a guy with a short to medium stack goes all in, I call and get sucked out on leaving me with below average chips. Couple of hands later action is folded to me on the button and I'm holding KQs, I raise hoping to nick the blinds or get a bit of action, big blind raises all in. At this point I'm positive he has me beat, he's been playing very TAG the whole tournament and at the very best I'm a coinflip. I sense I'm dominated & know if I called it's a bad one, but folding leaves me with maybe 6 big blinds and my impatience makes me call. He flips over AK and I go out after about 4 hours play just with a pretty small profit.
A similar thing in a cash game, I'm playing my last hand on a 6 max $2/4 nl table with KQ, board was KQ5 with 2 hearts. I bet get a reraise which I flat call (bad play). Turn is a blank, I bet he calls, River is a 9h... you can guess the rest. I absolutely knew my play was terrible, it was 4am though and concentration had totally deserted me. I left the table still just in profit but only just.
The problem is I really like tournament poker (I usually play 'til quite late with a cash game or 2 on the side), I just need to sort out my concentration issue. In the last 2 weeks I've final tabled 3 times from large field tournaments and made handsome profit, but I've been very deep an awful lot where I've just thrown my hard won chips away when it's getting late & I can feel my concentration dipping. If I could point out one major weakness in my game right now it's definitely this. _________________ I pressed down the mental accelerator, the old lemon throbbed fiercely, I got an idea.
Last edited by SlowThinker on Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
an excellent read carl and as ever, 100% valid for some. i can definitely relate to the concentration timespan. have clearly seen a difference in results from positive first couple of hours to a drop off thereafter. the old 'i'm in profit' meets 'i'm getting a bit bored' and it takes a lot of your early profit.
the ability to walk away when running good, is often the right thing to do. particularly if you have a limited attention/concentration span. _________________ Allardyce Out ! We want a FOOTBALL manager.
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