Saturday, May 10, 2008

Absolute And Relative Poker Profits

Are you happy with the profits you make from the virtual poker tables?

Have been mulling how a fairly well known psychological phenominon could apply to poker. Can not recall the details of any particular study, however the gist is that our wealth relative to our peers is a better indicator of happiness than our absolute wealth.

For example, say we earn $50k in a year and our friends / relations / peers all earn $80k - this is a recepie for being unhappy - even though that $50k might leave us with money to spare and the lifestyle we are content with... conversely we earn the $80k and our friends the $50, this feels good for our self-esteem.

Not exactly rocket science to see how this works in day-to-day life with aspirations of bigger cars, houses and more exotic holidays (or just more!) than our neighbours. My question is how prevalent this is in the world of poker, and whether this has a negative effect on many players who really should be happy with the profits they are making?

Leader-boards, leagues and ratings are huge in the world of online poker - indicating that there is a big demand for comparative ratings. After all, poker is a competative sport so it makes sense to judge our performance against peers, right?

I think 'wrong'.

There will always be a small percentage of very successful players in any game, poker even includes some transitory 'big names' who run good for their first couple of years.... the danger is that those players who compete for liesure as well as profits end up judging themselves against the top players instead of the masses.

Compare your profits with the top of the leaderboards on a number of sites (pocket 5's / stars / sharkscope / pXf to name but a few) and you'll feel small in comparison. Compare your success with the online poker population as a whole and you may well have every right to feel damn proud....

Lets start with a small fact - if you are a profitable poker player you are already ahead of 75% of all your peers. Furthermore, if you beat the rake on a consistent basis each month, even for a small amount or with some 'bad months' in-between then you are already better than 85%!

So, it is your absolute poker profits that are the king - make sure you compare yourself to the masses and not just the top few percent.

GL at the tables, Mark

1 comment:

Sean said...

Good points above. I considered myself an average player. I play within my bankroll and have been trying to work my way up the limits slowly but surely. Despite what I considered meager profits I looked myself up on officialpokerrankings.com and I had a 91% ranking! I started profiling other players on this and other sites and was surprised to see how many players had some pretty good scores, even thousands in prizes over the last 4 months, but still weren't showing a profit. Like you said, my first place in a 90man SNG would mean little to a player who buys in to $100 rebuys nightly, but if I'm turning a 100% ROI in the low stakes I'm more than satisfied... for now!