Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Commandment #1 - Never Play With Money You Can't Afford To Lose

OK, last day of working on the poker business before a 4-day break for the Sziget festival. Blogging will continue - have some fun Melted Felt pieces already in the can and will click the publish button as we go (the scheduled publishing seems to mess up the formatting). This is the first of a few more Plan3t Gong posts looking at Reuben and Ciaffone's '10 Commandments of Big Bet Poker' (links to 'jump off post).

Commandment #1 - Never Play With Money You Can't Afford To Lose

Sounds like common sense to me... but I personally believe that there is more to this than meets the eyes. The example that the orginal authors give is a guy who makes enough playing cash to rpay his debts (and then some profit) and is dealt aces only to see 3 raises ahead... he turns down the massively +ev situation because he can not afford to lose the money.

While it is not my place to lecture anyone on what to do with they're money. I would like to get readers thinking about the psychology of playing when you would hate to lose the money for whatever reason.

Think about a simple SNG - you have a +ev bubble call but could also fold into 3rd fairly easily. If you do fold into 3rd you cash will be safe - however you have just turned from a long term winner in the game to a long-term loser... nobody can afford to constantly turn down +ev situations and take the 'safe' route and be a long-term winner in the game.

Think of the same situation on the bubble of a tournament, folding into the cash when your expectation would be massively increased by a *likely* double up.

Of course this ties in with bankroll management. Yet is subtly different.

Bankroll management is a pre-requisite for profitable play over time... the risk of varience is too high. But if you do not mind losing the money then at least your lack of bankroll management does not itself lead to negative expectation play... it merely increases your risk of ruin.

Playing with money you can not afford to lose can lead to timid play. Weak and timid poker is not winning poker. If you can not afford to lose that last $200 in your account then withdraw it and play the micros instead, if moving up the levels is important to you then remember this - poker will still be there waiting when you have some cash to spare!

GL at the tables, Mark

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