Promises are whispered, in the age of darkness/
Want to be enlightened, like I want to be told the end, yeah
I've been reading a bunch about people frustrated with poker and it struck me that among a certain number of bloggers, namely ones that I perceive to be hugely winning players, I don't tend to see those kinds of posts.
Poker is kind of zero sum in that:
1). You win
2). You lose
Good players, like great sports teams, lose all the time. Keeping the frustration (which leads to tilt?) out of the game is one of the many things that separates the good from the bad.
Analysis is key here. If your result of a session is 1). You win, then you may continue on like nothing ever happened (although I think the good players will analyze the win to see if it's fools gold).
But if a session is 2). You lose, there are two things to look at.
A). Did the other player make a mistake?
B). Did you make a mistake?
If it's A, then you'll hear top pros like Taylor Caby say "That's a cooler" and move on, maybe making a note of the fishy thing that led to the suckout or beat. You have to be properly bankrolled to be able to do this.
If it's B, then you should look at where you went wrong. Here are just a few of the things to consider:
a). Did I underestimate the player?
b). Did I misread the hand?
c). Am I of the proper emotional state to play successfully right now?
d). Is the table too tough for me?
e). Am I properly conditioned to be playing?
f). Am I playing the best style to beat the game?
I've had downturns before, but no large ones since I've adopted the CR offense. That may be fool's gold, but I think a lot of it comes from how I view tables.
1). Is it a soft table?
2). How are they reacting to my pre-flop raises and c-bets?
3). Is there much 3- or 4-betting going on here?
4). Do I feel comfortable with the stakes?
Many times I feel like people stay too long at a table that maybe once was a good one to play at but is no longer. I'll just get up and leave when I notice this, or if I notice that holes are being punched in the CR offense. It immensely helps to multitable so you see more cards and reduce your variance.
Keeping a spreadsheet helps so you can look at the game from a historical point of view -- sure you got kicked in the junk on X day but a few days later made it all back and more. It will also tell you the direction you are headed in poker -- up or down.
I'd also try to play on a few different poker sites. There are times when it's good to make a change.
The Pearl Jam quote above is what I think many people think poker is about -- that just because they play and do a little bit of navel gazing they should automatically reap the rewards.
But it's a lot harder than that. In sports, the championship teams not only have the talent but prepare and train all the time. It shows up in games, especially late in games. You can tell a great team by how they react when they're down. In some of the best, it doesn't even faze them. They know that they have the ability to win and that if that result isn't in the cards for them, there's another day.
In poker, the best players are often too busy thinking about past -- and future -- hands, and how to win the most money, to be frustrated.