Make it a good game and make more money

August 26, 2008

I was listening to an interview with Gabe Thaler on Pokerroad’s Cash Plays, he is a long time live pro, running big games in Vegas forever…he was commenting on one of the best poker lessons he ever received. He was playing a limit game, and got sucked out on by a recreational player. At the end of the hand, he started grumbling and getting upset at the recreational player. The wise rec player said “Gabe…you got it all wrong…you are supposed to buy me dinner.”

The point he is making, is that he understands he is the underdog in the long run, but that it is the professionals duty to create an atmosphere in which recreational gamblers can gamble their money any way they want.

I think this is a GREAT lesson. People at every level, are often beraiding other ‘donks’. In most cases it’s in an effort to prove their worth, fulfill their ego, make sure everyone knows how great they are at poker…this is stupid. Say good hand, give the monkey a compliment (and make it believable). Your goal should be to create an environment where they can continue to gamble. If you know they have leaks you can exploit, try and keep them there.

So if you are getting the urge to talk some trash…think twice. Remember, you want the monkey to come back tomorrow. Make the game fun. Don’t be a douche bag.

Thanks for the lesson Gabe.


Your downfall: Overconfidence

August 25, 2008

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.


Poker Tip – The Rut

October 7, 2007

Sometimes when you’re grinding away, at whatever limit you are playing, you develop some bad habits.  We call this ‘the Rut’.

It’s kinda like working out, when you do the same exercises over and over, the same routine, your body stops getting stronger – it has gotten used to the activity.

Poker is the same.  To grow as a poker player, you need to challenge yourself.  Read the rest of this entry »

Poker Tip of the Day

August 18, 2007

When they check… bet!

Yeah yeah, I know this sounds like rocket science to a lot of you, but…This is especially useful in late position.  You’ll find that most games will consist of a majority of relatively straightforward players, who when they check – don’t have much outside of a weak drawing hands.  When they check to you on the turn again – guess what?  – bet again!

I know this seems stupid and trivial, but Read the rest of this entry »