Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Feeling of Suck

I really enjoy mind fucking myself. Well, I don’t enjoy it, but I do it a lot so maybe that makes me a little masochistic?

Poker is a game where if you are playing well you have a small edge and a lot of variance which means that bad (or good) things can happen for long periods of time. This phenomenon is generally referred to as luck. Really, there is no such thing as luck, it’s just the affects of variance, but that’s what we refer to variance as in day to day life.

Also, as an aside, when I say time I do not mean time in the traditional sense that you measure with clocks and calendars. Instead, what I am referring to is a statistical sample metric which, for me, in terms of poker, is number of hands. So above I said, “things can happen for long periods of time,” but what I really meant was “things can happen for a large number of hands.” For poker players the two statements are synonyms and you will see this in my writing sometimes and in the future I will not explain it and I won’t even try to fix it. Sometimes I’ll clarify what I mean and sometimes I won’t.

So, because of the above, it doesn’t make sense for a poker player to care how he is doing in any given session. It doesn’t make sense for him to care about how he’s doing in any given day. For that matter, it doesn’t even make sense to look at results on a monthly basis and put much faith in them. I know all of this, I repeat it like a mantra, yet I still do it. I mind fuck myself.

Actually, I’m quite good on a daily basis or a per session basis but I am bad on a monthly basis. So far this month I’m down $1460.75 over 6409 hands. 6000 hands in poker is meaningless. At my limits, $1500 is also meaningless. Yet, it kind of sucks and this feeling of suck that I have is something that I really need to work on. I need to get rid of the suck and focus on the decisions. Day in, day out, focus on decisions. Week in, week out, focus on decisions. Month in, month out, focus on decisions. Because, at its heart, poker is nothing but decisions and I have to trust in that. I have to trust in the fact that I make good decisions and by making good decisions the money will flow. I wrote this today to remind myself to forget about the feeling of suck. Erase it. Destroy it.

There. It’s gone.


clarkeellis said...

How many hands should you play before you judge your play? And how money much is a lot at your limits?

buck said...

Well, I'm constantly assessing my play and if I recognize that I'm not playing well I quit. To get a feel for your results... it's a lot. I've broken even for 100k hands. I don't think that I was playing my best over that entire stretch, which contributed to the duration.

That's the number I'd choose though 100-200k begins to get significant I think, but it's been a long time since I've looked at the numbers as I'm trying not to worry about that stuff. In reality I should be judging my play for itself, regardless of results. Not an easy task to be sure, and maybe it's inherently flawed. A better approach may be to look at both - play, and results. Shrug.

As far as money goes. I expect to see swings of $5,000 somewhat commonly and for me to think it was a lot of money, it would have to be > $10,000.