Monday, March 31, 2008

Chat In Online Poker - Better Switched Off??

Many online poker things to think about this week (oh and some more 'Part #2's" if I get the time!).

Going to start with the results of a personal experiement... for the last 10 days or so I have turned off chat - completely - while playing poker. Been busy with new websites so really only played cash games for 30 minutes here and there. I firmly believe this has resulted in better decisions by de-personalising the game, let me explain.

Poker is a competative sport right? Just like sex and driving, each player assesses their own skill level as 'above average' relative to their peers at whatever buy-in level and game. There is an emotional element to the play at the tables, including pride (both for a well played game and 'injured pride' when we get outplayed), anger (tilt) and a more general sense that things are somehow personal.... for example 'that is the 3rd time this guy re-raised me, I'll show him not to push me around'

It is the 'me' that I see as significant.

Of course we do not think of our online poker opponents as 'real people', just a collection of below average players or 'lucky donks' to take chips from... yet many of the emotions which affect peoples play at the table do appear to stem from some thought process which attributes the actions of opponents to the individual you.

Hope this is not too confusing... my thesis here is that this is a 'one-way' phenominon. We do not attribute human characteristics to opponents but feel emotions which indicate that opponents are insulting / messing with us as a person.

Hey, deep thoughts - time to lighten up a little.

Switch off your chat... no, I'm not convinced that having it on is somehow +ev due to 'reads' it gives you on opponents, their betting patterns are much clearer without any of this 'humanisation' anyway.

Do an experiment, not in slient poker playing, but in detaching your 'self' from the actions of others... your decisions will get better - I promise.

GL at the tables, Mark

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