February 09, 2010

Why do you play poker?

Why do you play poker?

I think that question should be asked more often and I should actually ask my opponents that question more often. That way I can gauge their seriousness and dedication to the game. Often a question that is asked on podcasts or interviews is: “How did you get started in poker?” That is all nice and well and for online players you get the typical: “Deposited 50$, lost a bit, read up on the game and then ran it up!” bit. I am more interested in the motivation that made somebody actually deposit money in a gambling enterprise. I’m thinking that everybody here is actually pretty smart. What made you wanna beat a game that is not zero-sum and you typical expected value was going to be negative? Was it the thrill of the rush? Was it the game itself? Was it boredom?

What was it for me?

I would like to think I’m above the mean and want to say, it’s a challenge to beat a difficult game. Sort of like a video game, where you are on the last level and you wanna finally crack it.

But my initial motives were much more simple; I guess I’m guilty of being one of those people we normally look down upon: a gambling addict. I remember the rush from the very beginning when I accompanied my dad to his weekly bingo games as a kid, or the belief in machines being “hot” or “due” (hey, I was eleven!). I have played -EV games seeing visions of me wining the jackpot or cursing my luck. If there’s a gambling sin that the advantage player (winner at gambling games) shuns, I’ve probably done it!

Fortunately (or unfortunately, lol), I was blessed with an analytical mind to analyzing the casino’s game. To finding out that there are some instances where the casino makes a mistake, willingly or unwillingly, to offer a game that can be beaten. Are you still a gambling addict if you make money at it? Well, what I like is that if you take such an analytical view of a situation over and over again, the “rush” or the endorfins don’t work anymore. That urge to gambool isn’t there anymore. Kind of contradictory to say that I
became better at poker to not be a gambling degen anymore.

What are your views on that matter?

Upwards journey update:

I have been on quite a heater at .5/1 the last two weeks. I can probably attribute it to a number of things.

- I’m studying the game a lot more, in periods of doubt, you should probably invest about twice the amount of time to studying than to playing, just to regain your confidence back in making the correct plays.

- I’m playing much lower limits, which have much worse play, it’s easier to win.

- I’ve been getting incredibly lucky. Fairly straightforward situations, not many coolers.

I now have enough of a bankroll to play 1/2 and will move up to do that. I expect to be here for quite a while, but again, the objective is to move up in a correct form, maximizing profits at the table and not volume (that’s my prerogative, it might not be yours). It feels better for me that way.

Posted By bellatrix at 12:54 AM


Tags: introspection journey up


ignominious posted on February 10, 2010 at 02:31 AM


Great blog.

Isn't another motivation to be able to make money using your wits? I have a need to compete, and once I got over the hill for my chosen 'sport', I needed an outlet for this drive. I found it.

I was sorry to read about your downswing. GL in the rebuilding stage.

merry posted on February 26, 2010 at 10:10 AM


my own motivation?
well i am a competitive person, i used to be a Judoka and practice it as a professional, also poker seems like a good challenge and as u said - i also like to solve riddles.
how can u play 0.5-1 after playing 10-20, seems so hard to drop down soooo low! did u lose everything? how come u didn't quit while the downswing or dropped down than?

bellatrix posted on February 26, 2010 at 16:53 PM


Hehehe merry!
It does wonders for your ego! I lost everything but 1800$. Cashed out 800$ and started anew.
As for the last sentence... oh well, I was on tilt ;-)

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