Monday, June 09, 2008

A Classic Tread Revisted - Gigabet's 'Almost There With Success And Failure'

Something different today, going to revisit a 2+2 thread that used to be required reading for all aspiring poker players. First penned in Feb of 2005, Gigabet's 'Almost There With Success And Failure' has stood the test of time very well indeed.

For this post I'd like to introduce the piece to those who have not yet read it, and highlight the key points for those old hands (like me??!?) who would like a quick refresher!

Here is the post in the 2+2 archives: Gigabet's 'Almost There...'

Mark's 5 Minute Guide To What All That Heavy Sh*te Really Means.

1) Whooaaa, where did all the philosophy come from?

It was triggered by a post from another highly regarded 'old school' 2+2er called Ireguy who wrote an interesting post about different psychological approaches to those inevitable downswings the game produces.... (not had a big one yet... ho ho ho... you just wait!).

2) What is all that stuff about failure then?

Well, that success and failure are relative and not absolute terms, that judging ourselves against others is counter-productive (since we will then never succeed, just move on to comparing ourselves to the next target until we eventually fail!) and that 'fear' of being a 'failure' and the 'shame' associated with this is what drives us to make irrational (ie negative expectation) plays at the poker table.

3) And Then Variance, lots of stuff on this...

Yep, Gigabets backs up the claim that most people do not realize how brutal downswings can be, agreeing with Ireguys point about the ones who feel that they 'do not deserve' the downswing being the most vulnerable to quiting. He then discusses how one approaches a downswing in terms of the success / failure axis. The point here is that we should stop thinking negatively about bad results, once we associate them with failure we are doomed. Once you associate the adverse results with feelings of personal shame you are far more likely to quit altogether to avoid feeling like a 'failure'.

4) In English Please?

Try not to be results oriented. A big downswing will hit everyone sometime, however good you think you are. Think about making the best decisions and don't go all gloomy... you are not failing or succeeding here, you are making a series decisions based on incomplete information in a card game - focus on making your decisions better instead.

5) Part #2 - The Cheerful Part!

Yes, Gigabet blesses us with his method for thinking about the game, checking every result and trying to work out the hands opponents have even when he has already folded. Solid and sensible advice.

He then concludes that once you have worked on this you must back up your judgement with some confidence... and here is the rub:

If you let feelings of 'failure' become associated with your downswing you will not confidently act on your reads, which will lead to losing more money... and guess what - you'll feel even more of a 'failure' and lose even more...

Well, it all makes sense to me... even in mid-2008!

GL at those tables, Mark


Littleacornman said...

Thanks for the links to that article Mark.I'm having trouble dealing my current downswing and it certainly helped.

Mark said...

Know how it feels mate, been on a downswing for 3 or so years now... exactly the same amount of time I've been playing co-incidentally.

On a serious note just keep on making those good decisions - however brutal it seems at the time the money will catch up soon enough.

Cheers, Mark