Saturday, February 03, 2007

Poker Psychology - Being Honest With Yourself

This post is inspired by a couple of interesting reads over on 2+2. Firstly an article in the monthly magazine discussing motivation and determination, secondly a very open and honest 'farewell' post by one of the mods on the '1-table tournaments' board called Bluefeet which discussed why he is giving up Poker...

Together they got me thinking about my motivations and how these relate to the beautiful game. Do not have a plan here - just fragments and ideas to share, wanted to be honest with myself and thought a public blog was a great place to do it!!

I am not competitive. Ambitious, yes... motivated, certainly- up to a point... smart, sure (even if I do say so myself!!) - but have never felt the need to beat other people in any aspect of life. This is a drawback in the online game but also an advantage - no need for me to seek revenge on anyone who sucked out to win my chips etc. The thing is about the lack of competitiveness is that the drive which some people have to go from being good at something to being great is not there for me... a non-poker example;

For many years I played bass guitar, I had a talent - not just technically but in having an ear for a tune, being able to add something special to a song without trying to dominate it... for song arrangement and for production when in the studio. It made me a sought after guy at the time, with more offers to play than it was possible to handle.... great days and no regrets.

But here was the point, my talent was natural - I got to a certain point and then never pushed myself to the next level... ie found it easy to be good but somehow never put in the extra work which differentiates the very good from the great.

Now we get back to poker - I find myself in the same situation, have managed to get to good without too much bother (been playing for over 2 years now). The next step is now clearly ahead - the hours of work, the practice at reading hands, the better situational understanding that will move me from being merely good to being great. Will I do it? Possibly! I'd like to think so but history is not on my side... having this blog has been good exercise - it is not possible to share concepts such as ICM with others unless one has a clear understanding, writing the articles has forced me to fill in those little gaps...

Going to make a start - a resolution if you like - no more 16s!!! Too easy to sit within your comfort zone grinding the damn things... exactly the same for the Pot Limit Omaha, no more micro-stakes for me... time to move on up there to - minimum $50 tables for now, and $100 min by March.

Another point, I am very aware of the bonuses available out there... but very rarely do anything about it. Easy to see how I could increase my monthly earnings by 30% or even more with a little dedication here - why am I not doing it already??! Comes back to the comfort zone again, happy enough grinding away, not pushing myself hard, getting a steady income but not a great one...

Well, hopefully a reader or 2 can relate to this - even if your particular approach is different. Come on folks - time for action! Whether it is to have a stab at a higher level, find a new poker site (see my 'Beyond Table Selection' series for some ideas) or to learn just a little more about the game you are playing... go do it right now!

Cheers, Mark

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