After listening to Baluga's Blueprint this past weekend, which reminded me of him telling Kristy (in Coaching Kristy) how writing about poker is good for your poker learning, I've decided to start this long-overdue blog. I've always like the idea of writing my thoughts down, but never followed through because it just seemed so silly for random strangers to read about your thoughts. But this is a new year, and I will try to set some goals for this year and writing on here will accomplish one of them (assuming I keep up with this blog).
One goal for this year is to move up in stakes (just like every other DC member) and to get better at poker by refining my thought processes. I'm sure I've said this in my mind during this time last year, but I don't think I actually put in the work that would have actually made that goal realistic. One thing I think I've actually realized more this past year is that thought process is actually quite important in poker and in everything (sounds kinda silly).
I've watch countless of DC videos in 2010, but I've come to realize that as the year went on, I actually learned very little in videos I watched back in January 2010 compared to watching the same videos in December. As bad as this sounds, it almost felt like I wasn't conscious for the first half of 2010 and just did things out of habit, whether it's poker, work, etc. As for watching poker videos, I almost just accepted what all the video makers said and did not fully process why they're saying what they're saying. So as I am re-watching videos, it's quite enlightening that I am truly understanding more things (can't say I understand every thought process perfectly clear).
Personally, I think both work and poker have made each other better in my life. As I am writing this, I was interrupted by an employee who wanted me to explain a science concept clearly to him for his demonstration. I work as a trainer in a science museum and I train youths on how to present science demonstrations and explain floor exhibits to visitors. As I'm helping this employee out, I realized that he was saying things that he didn't truly understand and that's when I started to question him on why, similar to how Baluga forces his students to think about why they do things. Turns out that there was a disconnect between in what he was saying, in terms of using the "correct" words, and the actual understanding of what those correct words actually mean. I don't think those thoughts are actually connect or make sense, but that's how I feel I've been like earlier in the year where I just accepted what coaches were saying in their videos and not really thinking through why they're saying things. By asking why, it forces people to think, and by forcing people to think, it forces you to know the material perfectly. And I'm positive that Baluga has also taught this to me through his videos, but as you can see, it didn't really hit home in my head until recently (thank you Baluga).
I've also come to realize that to truly understand something, you need to be able to explain the concept you learned well to someone else so that the other person can understand it. Listening and understanding what the person is saying is quite different than "true understanding". During trainings at work where I teach and show youths on how to convey science, it kind of hit me when I noticed that on most of my explanations for the science exhibits, they are fairly clear and the youths seem to have a look of "ahhh, that makes sense". But when it came time for me to ask them questions or have them explain an exhibit back to me, even though my explanations were crystal clear, the only people who were able to answer are the ones who questions things right after I've given my explanation and tries to explain it in their own words. Having realize this, I've applied the same methodology that I would like my staff to have in learning exhibits when I'm learning poker. Question every decision a coach makes on video and try to explain it myself on why they're doing what they're doing. In turn, poker makes me think more and therefore, made me think about how others learn and that has altered my teaching methods at work to get one to think more rather than just giving info to them and expect them to internalize it.
Something that I've had trouble with in 2010 was just putting volume in. I fell into the "watch too many videos, play too little" category of people, and I've been fixing that as of mid-December. I've been playing about 1k hands a day and doing this for at least 3 days a week when I started mid-December and I've been slowly increasing the number of hands per day and starting to average 4 days a week now.
I play at 5NL and have had terrible results in 2010. Some things I've learned ever since I've became "conscious":
-Need to stop calling passive fish when they show aggression (because I just didn't believe them cuz they're fish)
-Keep betting until they tell you that you're behind (basically against everyone in the micros)
-3betting with a purpose. I used to 3bet just to 3bet because it's "cool". I didn't truly understand why coaches were 3betting so often (or perceived so to be often) even though they explain why on their videos.
I'm sure I'm missing some other things but as you notice, all the microstakes videos stress these key important concepts but I just never really figured out why it was said and therefore, never truly internalize these concepts. Similar to my employee, I was kind of doing the motions but not truly understanding why the motions are done when they are done (I sound quite confusing lol).
Another interesting thought in my mind is tilt. Just like videos, I've gone through the Eightfold Path of Poker Enlightenment without truly listening and internalizing it. But recently, I've re-listened to them and really thought about tilt and noticed that part of why I couldn't beat 5NL, besides of my poor fundamentals, is because of my monkey tilt. I remember that when I would get stuck 3 BIs, I would just start loading more tables, and just call down lighter and lighter (lol at myself). It's quite interesting to self-reflect and I'm starting to have a better grasp of my thoughts and emotions and not let them affect my decisions. Tilt is inevitable but it can be reduced. Reducing tilt leads towards a happier life. =)
Other videos that's very good and got me to think more analytically or just think more in general: Where the Buffalo Roam, DogisHeadsUP (especially episode 1), Pokersense, any balugawhale videos.
I think theres a bunch more random things in my mind, but I'll leave it at this. I apologize to anyone who decided to read this and now is confused, bored, and/or annoyed at my scatterbrain-ness. This is my first step to becoming a better poker player and I'll try my best to keep writing on here to share thoughts and progress. Thanks =)