Your downfall: Overconfidence

So, you have been reading all the forums, watching all the videos, playing tons of hands, and have this game all figured out.  So why the f@$k aren’t you soul crushing like Raptor or Durrr?  Well, it could rest on the fact that you may be overconfident.

Often, because you have studied the game to the point where you can easily identify a weaker player, or an exploitable playing style, you feel you are ‘the man.’  Since you are ‘the man’ you are ‘supposed’ to win.  There is no way this monkey can or ‘should’ beat you.  I mean…c’mon, you’ve played 30,000 hands this month, and can 18 table, and have 100x the tournament cashes, blah blah blah.  You get the idea.

Being confident is a good skill to have.  It can serves you well in life, and in poker.  The trouble comes when you allow your confidence to create a sense of complacency.  Sure you may be better than this random spew monkey, but he may still win this hand.  And the next one.  It’s important to always have some degree of respect at the table (and in life) for other people.

Sometimes, we can get what I like to call ‘fancy pants’ syndrom – where we are trying too hard to outplay everyone, in every single spot we see that is exploitable.  This leads us to playing like a meglomaniac.  Playing too many hands, playing too aggressively against opponents who aren’t thinking beyond level 1, forcing the action, creating big pots because ‘you can outplay them on later streets’.

Everyone in the poker world is overconfident to some degree.  We all think we have an edge in the games we play.  That’s why we are playing.  We are playing to win money.  Without this confidence factor we’d be relying mainly on luck – and since we know poker is a skill game – we must have an edge.

Short term, edges in 6max, full ring, mtt, sng’s (less so in HU cash) are not always that big.  Ivey has a 5% chance of winning the WSOP ME, whereas my chance is somewhere between .01-2%.  That is not a huge edge for any given tournament.

Also, when we see people making dumb plays, like limp calling big raises oop with marginal hands, we want to pounce.  So sometimes, we can get over excited and make costly mistakes, and ignore the signals the monkey is sending (like ‘I’m never folding’ type signals).

Try and keep your confidence in check, and next time you might just play better against that clown sitting next to you.



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