December 06, 2009
I haven’t blogged for a while, mostly because I just had nothing specific to write about, so I decided to just jot down some random poker musings.
Firstly, it is important to be honest, with yourself and others.
In poker, it is way too easy to convince yourself that you’re playing well when you’re not, simply by justifying losing sessions with terms like ‘running bad’ and ‘cold decks’. It is very important to evaluate yourself objectively and not automatically blame variance for everything. There’s being results-oriented, and then there’s going too far the opposite way and completely ignoring results.
Poker is harder than you think
When I began this whole poker endeavour, I didn’t quite realise how tough it would be. Sure, there are a lot of idiots out there that make it easier for you and the games will always be good, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the adversity that you face when you choose poker as your main source of income in terms. I’m talking about your downswings, when nothing goes right for you for a long period of time; I’m talking about tilt.
The variance can be brutal in any form of poker (losing a few thousand in a week isn’t nice), but it can be even more brutal if you can’t handle variance in the first place. Theoretically, poker would be a lot lower variance if your A-game was super solid and you never tilted, but in practice, everybody tilts. And if you’re in a middle of a big downswing and you then play bad, your downswing is going to get a heck of a load worse.
I don’t think I was actually prepared a year ago. In fact, I think I only just became good enough, in terms of both the technical aspect and the mental aspect, to make it in this poker world.
The rake is a bitch
I never quite realised how big of a role rake plays at small stakes, but it’s a lot. Here are some rake figures from my HEM stats (bb = big blind, BB = big bet):
5/10 LO8: 2.7BB/100
A ton of your winrate is actually lost to rake, especially at limit. I’m so glad that I actually have rakeback, as 27% at FTP or ~28% from Supernova actually increases your winrate dramatically.
I’m a scholar, not a grinder
My passion for the game is definitely diminished at the prospect of grinding out several hours a day. I much prefer talking, studying and thinking about the game to actually playing. It takes extra effort to override this natural aversion and play hands. As a result, I’m thinking about going down a different route, like becoming sort sort of coach, but I’m too lazy to make a real effort in that field. I’m definitely trying to get more involved in the community, discussing the game more.