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Old 12-30-2009, 10:30 PM   #1
Hince
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PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

I have been thinking about what to write for a pooh-bah post for sometime. I don't think many of you know who I am, outside of this forum. I will start by saying I do not have a lot of new content as far as strategy goes. This is very TLDR, and it's probably full of grammar mistakes, or something... but I tried to make it easy to read.

I've been around the forum for a long time now, and started playing poker before the UIEGA. I've played many different games in my goal to become great at poker, and it never really took off for me. I make consistent money now, but I don't play the super high stakes games, and I don't really think I am the best poster when it comes to strategy.

However, I haven't had a formal job for many months now, and have no intentions of getting one anytime soon. So, I still feel obligated to give something back, or better yet, pay it forward.

Looking back on the years I have spent on this game, and the numerous ups and downs in a poker career that has been less than stellar up to this point makes me wonder what kept me going. One of the hardest things I have ever done in my life was being a mediocre poker player. When you are marginally above break even, you still take the same swings that everyone else does, but you also don't really make any serious money doing it. You get to a point where you should realize you aren't very good, but your ego won't let you. So you end up being gratified and tortured by your results.

One month you win 10K and you think "finally this game makes sense", then midway through the next month you get hit by negative variance in the cards and your play. Of course, at the time you won't admit that your play has everything to do with your results. And one night, you tilt off 40 buyins because you can't accept losing. Your ego just won't let you.

Yeah, that's right 40 buyins over one 20hr session. I mean, no breaks, no food, not missing a single hand. It's not the first time either... or the last. You read numerous posts that if you lose that much in one session, you should quit, or you are horrible at poker if you take those kinds of downswings, but you can't quit. You think you have a borderline gambling problem, but you still made some money. And you are doing something that society generally feels as being pretty stupid, so you better ****ing succeed.

You think... if I just didn't tilt... I would have $XXXXXX.XX. I would be playing $10-20 or 25-50 by now. But you aren't... you are busto. You know you aren't stupid. You have an engineering degree, so why are these idiot dropouts making all this money and you aren't? How can they be better at a game like this? Well, I got news for you, they are better.

If you are tilting, or otherwise not playing your A game, that is all part of who you are as a poker player. It took me a long time to learn this. Every time you sit down at the table, you are demonstrating who you are as a poker player(even sometimes when you are away from the table). If you play amazingly well, then once a month you go on tilt and you take your entire roll and put it in a high stakes game, you have a major leak and that means you aren't an amazing player, despite playing amazing for most of the month.

Most players don't have leaks this severe, but I hope you get my point. You can't pick and choose how good you are based only on when you are playing well. You need to look at all your play and all your skills.

Even if you are only playing when you are feeling good; you are missing out on money and good games, and you aren't giving yourself a chance to improve your B and C game. And trust me, if you need to play one day and aren't feeling tip-top, you will really wish you spent some time working on those aspects of your game.

I went through all of this... then I hired a mental coach and actually started winning constantly and figured out my tilt game. I am still working on it all, but it is coming along.

Now I focus on other things. I am working on taking my ego out of the game. I also decided that I don't care about the stakes I play, or the money I make, as long as I have enough to live on. I stopped compulsively checking my cashier, and don't even know if I am up or down for the month. This act alone takes money out of the game, and you can focus on what really matters.

So when thinking about what to write, I wanted to offer the community something that I have that most others don't seem to have. Then I realized that that is a pretty arrogant thing to even think about, considering how much I have struggled to get to where I am.

Instead, I took the selfish way out and decided to write something that I want to write about. Or more accurately, what I would tell myself back when I was starting out. So this is a note to the old me, hopefully by sharing it someone else may learn from my mistakes:

You are not as good as you think you are.

But that is okay. In fact, it is amazingly powerful if you can truly understand just how much you suck. It's even more powerful if you can understand why you suck.

This is the first step in learning to improve and improving is what this game is all about. I know things have always come easy for you in school and all the way through university. You never applied yourself for more than a few weeks and you did fine. People always told you how smart you are, and how they wish they could learn as quickly as you.

This is the first time in your life that you are facing something that you really have to work at to succeed intellectually. And don't kid yourself... YES! You need to work! ALL THE TIME! Trust me, it's sooo much easier that way.

I know you are reading this, and you think it is for someone else. But it's not.... believe it or not, I am talking to you. I am you! I was where you are right now years ago. Sure, you have had some success at this game, but what if you could do more? I know you've thought about it...but do you really know how to get there? Do you even know the things you need to improve? Do you really know why you lose? Do you know your biggest leaks? Do you have a plan to fix them? Is it working? Do you tilt? Do you know why?

I do...

I know something even bigger about you. You hate making mistakes. It makes me smile knowing this, I wish you could understand why... You hate making them so much, that you justify losses to yourself by saying you ran bad. How many times have you seen people complain about running bad? How many threads have you read about bad beat stories, EV graphs, doomswitch complaints, and chat window beratings? Now think about how many times you've seen someone say, “I have these mistakes, how do I fix them?”

Poker is weird that way... If we were playing basketball and couldn't make a free-throw we would probably ask someone better than us to help us with our technique. We would probably get a lot of weird looks if we just complained about our unlucky free-throw or how bad we run at basketball.

You know this game rewards skill over the long run. But when you are losing, you complain, you grind and you try to win it back in one shot when you KNOW you aren't playing your best... Essentially, you try to get lucky. You don't realize that losing is the BEST thing for your game!

If this game was easy, and you won all the time from the start, how much effort would you put into improving? If you make a big call, suckout, or sniff out a bluff and got lucky you probably won't think twice about it. It would be like school, and you would just coast through. But if you lose and lose and lose, you can start asking questions.

Failure doesn't exist if you keep trying and keep improving. Failure happens when you keep doing the same damn thing, and keep getting the same stupid result until you can take no more and you give up. Mistakes are necessary and are the best opportunities for growth. Seek them out and be proud!! Because when you find one, you can fix it and that means more money and confidence.

You have a long way to go and a lot to learn. But remember, every thing you learn compounds on itself in this game. You don't learn to win overnight, you pick up little things here and there, and eventually, you have built a game that wins and continues to grow.

Your Best Bud,

You.


I ****ing love this game. I realize I am far from an amazing player, but it doesn't matter. This game challenges a person on so many levels and I can't think about how much I have grown and learned from this game outside of poker. Taking my ego out and realizing that I suck at poker has been one of the best things that ever happened for my game. When you know you suck, you can work and improve. If you are 'just running bad', there isn't a ****ing thing you can do.

Now this next part is going to sound weird to a lot of good players. I don't lose confidence when I am running bad. Seriously. The cards I am dealt have nothing to do with how I interpret my skill, and that is what confidence means to me. If I do lose confidence, it's because I am not analyzing my game enough. Try it. The next time you feel like crap from a session, go over every hand and WRITE DOWN all spots you got unlucky and all the mistakes you made. Find out exactly why you lost, and don't make any excuses. It might sound odd, but if you force yourself to do it, you will feel better.

It is a privileged to play this game everyday, and I am very grateful that it is my job. I know this post isn't likely to help anyone a huge amount, but I also know that it might help someone a little and little improvements reap big rewards in this game.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:31 PM   #2
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

1st

wow man that's really solid. you seem like you know yourself and your game really well.

i've been moaning a lot and saying/doing a lot of these things lately and sorta half knowing a lot of the things you've said. so thanks man i got a lot from this.

Last edited by TakeHerOnACruise; 12-30-2009 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:32 PM   #3
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

2nd
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

A great post, thank you. I think the number of players who will ever get to where you are describing is less than 1%, but we should all be striving harder to be in that elite group. Poker without being results-oriented, without worrying about whether you are stuck or not, just playing the best you can every hand. It's a beautiful goal.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:38 PM   #5
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

nice post, tyvm. This is something i can definitely relate to.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:39 PM   #6
Andrex Puppy
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

strong wish i had read this a year ago.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:40 PM   #7
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Nice post man
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:41 PM   #8
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

nice post, tyvm.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:43 PM   #9
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Nice post Hince. I definitely see a lot of myself in it, apart from the 20 hour 40 buyin downswing.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:47 PM   #10
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

nice post sir tell it like it is
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:55 PM   #11
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cog Dissonance View Post
A great post, thank you. I think the number of players who will ever get to where you are describing is less than 1%, but we should all be striving harder to be in that elite group. Poker without being results-oriented, without worrying about whether you are stuck or not, just playing the best you can every hand. It's a beautiful goal.
Thanks, I agree with you. To be honest, if I didn't agree and thought more were capable of putting in the work it takes to get there I wouldn't have made this post. It would probably mean I would need to get a new line of work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrex Puppy View Post
strong wish i had read this a year ago.
Wish I could have written it a year ago...
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:55 PM   #12
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Good post
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:56 PM   #13
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

damnit where was this 6 months ago seriously

I'm going to read this a couple of times because my mental game is far and away my biggest leak -- probably make a list of all the things I need to teach myself to do to snap out of the rut I was in for most of '09. Most of them will not by theory, but emotional control.

Things like playing x games a day when you are playing well even though you won your first three and that's like a three digit win man! I keep forgetting on those days that I will also have three digit losing days where I drop five in a row. Oops, maybe if I had played more on my strong day I'd be up instead of down aggregate for those.

As someone whose mental game has held him back for months (if not years), this is huge. Thanks a ton for making this thread -- if I can get this to sink in, I'll almost definitely be able to at least make a run at playing where I want to play.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:04 PM   #14
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

TYVM. Now at least I know why I suck at this game.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:12 PM   #15
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Nice post sir.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:19 PM   #16
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

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Originally Posted by Insane_Steve View Post
damnit where was this 6 months ago seriously

I'm going to read this a couple of times because my mental game is far and away my biggest leak -- probably make a list of all the things I need to teach myself to do to snap out of the rut I was in for most of '09. Most of them will not by theory, but emotional control.

Things like playing x games a day when you are playing well even though you won your first three and that's like a three digit win man! I keep forgetting on those days that I will also have three digit losing days where I drop five in a row. Oops, maybe if I had played more on my strong day I'd be up instead of down aggregate for those.

As someone whose mental game has held him back for months (if not years), this is huge. Thanks a ton for making this thread -- if I can get this to sink in, I'll almost definitely be able to at least make a run at playing where I want to play.
Especially against regs that initially drop a few buy ins to you. Maybe more relevant to cash but my biggest winners lately have been sticking it out in these situations and winning 7-8 buyins off a tilted reg. I used to get scared and run with 2 maybe 3.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:22 PM   #17
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Wow, this was very very good. Thank you for this.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:36 PM   #18
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Your post transcended just poker IMO some very good life lessons to take from that.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:58 PM   #19
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Great topic! You have put an idea that is very hard to understand and accept into an easy and fun read. Well done, this is going to help many players on their journey to becoming the best that they can be.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:01 AM   #20
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

AWESOME post hince!! was a good read. ty
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:02 AM   #21
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

great post. I can really relate to the working hard to get better thing. We all think we're great when we run hot for a little bit and we believe we're invincible. I have begun to realize how bad I was even a couple of months ago. Learning and adapting is the key to success. Great view on the world.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:06 AM   #22
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Profound stuff, especially the free throw shooting analogy lol
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:22 AM   #23
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hince View Post

I know this post isn't likely to help anyone a huge amount
You're wrong.



I can relate to your philosophy, i need to deal with serious tilt issues.

just a couple of minutes ago, i played a Donk, i had serious chip advantage, 2600 to 400 or something like that and first hand I go preflop AQ vs A3

Board 99JTT

I go.. hell what the **** split pot.... well..

ten minutes later

Three coinflips three of them with me having a pair (slight favorite), and i lose them all, and bye bye HUSNG.


Later i started to lose absurd hands against other players, i checked their stats : complete fishes.

I lost vs both in less than 10 minutes.


Then i realized i played like a donk vs those two, because i was so furious to have that other fish almost dead, to have him saved with a miraculous split pot and the 3 coin flips i lost in a row.I went all in with draws, both had double pairs..At the moment i realized i wasnt playing my A-game but i was so furious i didn't care.

Later i checked those hands, knowing i made mistakes , i thought i had bigger chances to win even with the draw and i was wrong in both cases..


The point is that you're right, we cannot let ego drive our game, we need to be humble and realize we also commit mistakes, and realize that as everything there's room for improvement every single day.


Well, i cannot add anything more. But your post was really great.

Have a happy New Year
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:32 AM   #24
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Well written Hince. Thanks for this.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:35 AM   #25
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Re: PooBah Post: You suck at poker.

Awesome thread, thanks OP!!
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