I was racking my brains trying to come up with something for my 3500th and I came up blank. How many more threads do we really need about blind play, stats to look for, how to use a hud, table/seat selection and all the other great things that have been written about far better than I ever could. Just mosey on down to the library and you will find tons of great literature for your poker mind to chew on. So for my topic I decided to just make a confession.
Confess you say? About what? Well, Iím just plain lazy. And Iíve gotten away with it for 8 years of poker! Lazy how? Well, letís just say that I have a mathematical mind and numbers come easy to me. Itís a part of what drew me to poker when I felt that I was losing that edge I always had when thinking about numbers and when I felt that razor sharp memory of mine starting to fade with age. Poker was a way for me to stay sharp. I studied and played and had a nice way to make a few extra bucks over the years. The FEEL for the game came naturally. When faced with a difficult spot I was able to use my mathematical sense to let my intuition guide me after doing a very rough assessment of the situation. Maybe it was because the games were so soft, but this rough guestimate approach to the game was enough to allow me to be a winner and amass a nice bankroll (even after much profit taking). I wasnít crushing the games by any stretch, but I was certainly winning to the tune of about 1BB/100 or so at FR.
Unfortunately, this crude approach to the game has left me with a very fuzzy approach to my poker thinking. As time went on and the games got tougher I found that my hand reading abilities were not quite where they should be. I am struggling for the best way to put this, but when thinking about hand ranges at the table I find myself kind of seeing through a fog and getting into the general area of where I should be, yet not seeing the full picture. This has hurt me significantly as I have tried to migrate over to 6 Max where you are faced with tougher decisions because of the need to maximize value on even the smallest of edges (yeah, Iíll get to the point soon). The end result has been a difficult transition that I have shared with all of you most of the year (Yes Dragon, there is some whine in hear if you want to look at it that way
So what is the nugget of advice I have decided to give to the community for my 3500th? Well, itís simple. There is no replacement for doing the hard work. You may get by for a while on your natural instincts and your whiz kid Rain Man ability to glance at the board and have a feel for the right play, but if you ever truly want to succeed then you need to put in the work. Do it now before you get to the level (or the game) that is going to force you to do it. Don't develop bad habits that you will pay for when you get to $3/6 or $5/T. Whip out Stove (although I just discovered Equilab and it is the nuts for running equities and testing yourself on this stuff) and start studying your hands equity against different hand ranges. Do thorough session reviews after you play (Donít pass on this because you ran like God and feel like you will never lose again or because you played like crap and just want to chalk it up to run-bad). Sign up for the session reviews every month and challenge yourself to spend an hour or two each month breaking down someoneís game (itís so much easier today thanks to vids than it was a few years back and you will grow as a player). Stop posting that ďAA gets raised on turn, what do I do?Ē thread and start truly grunching other peoples threads. Put your poker mind on display for the forum. Explain why you recommend a certain action rather than saying ďfold preĒ. If you feel that way fine, but back it up with what ranges you feel you are against and what your equity is in that spot. Leave it all out there to be shredded by the rest of the forum until the day comes that you are thinking about the game with laser focus and know that you are making as close to the best EV decision as possible every time you make an action at a poker table. Leave it all out there until the ďtough loveĒ stops because it is tough to argue with the sound logic you are putting forth.
I have been a lazy poker player. I learned these lessons the hard way. 8 years later I am doing the work that I should have been doing all along in order to perfect my 6 Max play. Donít make the same mistakes that I did. This isnít easy. Thinking and studying is hard work. I know because I avoided thinking too hard about the game for a very long time.
There is nothing epic about this post, nothing earth shattering at all. I simply hope that you will take it as good advice that you should heed. If my words help someone avoid taking the easy way out then I am satisfied with this post for my 3500th.