Monday, August 25, 2008

Commandment #3 - Don't Steam

Continuing with the 10 commandments of poker as started in this post:

Here is a commandment that we can all relate to... Steaming / Tilting is the second biggest reason that poker players lose money - 2nd only to calling (!) IMO at least.

Not going to go into the detail of tilt in this post... it is a big subject, will mention that I always try to look beyond the 'angry' tilt and into the other (equally dangerous but less obvious) forms such as a resigned 'bound to lose' form or a determination to 'stack' a single opponent who annoyed you while feeling fine about the others....

Anyway, wanted to tie this commandment in with something that the mad genuis of poker Mike Caro said about a poker-fairy coming along... which in turn ties in with yestedays post about never giving up (still following??)

The story was something like this: You lose $10k in a year playing poker. A fairy comes and says it will give you $10k to bring you back to even. Your choice is to have $100 added to each winning session, or to have lost $100 less in each losing session?

Its a strange story for sure - but very thought provoking for those who are open-minded enough to let it be...

- How many cash games have you lost $45 of your $50 buy-in on a beat and shoved in the last $5 with ace-rag with a shrug of the shoulders?

- How many times have you gone down to 150 chips in a SNG and just called a raise with the very next rag hands?

- In any form of poker how many times have you re-raised as a bluff and then called a subsequent re-re-raise 'just to see' when you are 100% sure this is a waste of $5 or $20 or even $200.

Anyway... those last few dollars (or % of equity in a tournament) can add up, and being aware of this can save you those small amounts... which in turn can add up to a lot of money over months or years. Of course it does not matter whether the fairy adds of reduces losses... the same cash at the end of the year - it is only when you see a 'silly question' like this one that you realise that keeping losses as small as possible is just as important as maximising your wins over time.

GL at the tables, Mark

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