I’ve experienced a few pretty rough days to be quite frank. I was really really getting my ass handed to me. It was getting so bad that I re-enabled chat and got a bit mouthy with the administrators of my bad beats. I kept playing “angry” and wanting to get even. It’s a downward spiral – let me tell you.
Despite that, I cracked the books as I usually do and was just hoping that something might trigger a change that could make a difference. The word “deception” kept coming up in the texts. Another thing that came up was an arguement for NOT always raising when you enter pots. Even if you have good hands. Interesting. “That would be considered deceptive”, I thought.
I took out a sheet of paper and was about ready to write out a few things to keep next to the PC while I played. As I was looking for a pen, I saw the cover of my “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” book. It hit me! One of the 7 Habits is, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. I’d been playing poker with all of these donkeys who I wanted to respect me when I raised. I wanted them to fold A6o because I’ll only enter pots with better hands. They’d call, and flop 2 pair vs my AK, AQ, etc. Knowing that they’re fools and rags are in their range, I’d just keep firing away. They’d just keep calling. And KABOOM…I’m done. I’d get pissed, lash out at them, and get ugly. No fun for me. No fun for them. But they’ve got my money and I’d have a sore pooper from taking it in the rear against my will. So – that “habit” of “seek first to understand, then to be understood” is a good one for poker. You gain nothing if your opponents understand you. In fact, you inherently lose your edge if they understand you…you’re not deceptive if you’re understood.
So, the last 48 hours or so, I’ve really mixed it up. When I would normally raise, I just call or limp. I’ll limp and raise a lot more with lesser hands if the price is right and the action is likely to cap. It’s made the game more fun for me and more profitable. I’ve set a lot of successful traps. I’ve had a few first place finishes, and I’ve had TONS of 2nd place finishes – and I’m ok with that. Each bad beat (2nd place) reminds me that I got my money in good – and that’s ok. My opponent needs to think he’s lucky – and I need to know I got my money in good or at least used sound judgment before going KABOOM!
Anyway – the sheet I’m keeping next to me has the following reminders:
- Seek to Understand
- Select appropriately (table, limits, opponents)
- OK to fold the winner occasionally
- Any doubt, throw it out!
I’m back at smaller stakes with smaller, yet more frequent wins and hopefully on a better overall trajectory – hope it continues.
Filed under: Poker