Insights on the plight
A lot. And I have only been playing for 6 months.
But I promise this will never be a collection of bad beat stories. I've learned from my time as a reader of poker blogs that they are the single tackiest form of poker player self-expression. If I can't stand to read one, why the hell would I bother trying to write one?
To be truthful, I just don't possess the odds calculating ability to know which of my on-the-fence bets/calls/all- ins were truly bad beats. At this stage in the game, I'm pretty confident I'm getting a healthy dose of garden variety good beats, and making a collection of budding degenerates feel damn fine about their new found talents.
If I were a lesser, more reasonable man, it might occur to me to try a hobby which was not quite so hellbent on impoverishing my bank account and my conception of self worth. As it turns out, I am incapable of walking away after the orb cracking swats to my genitalia I have already endured. Now that I'm functionally unable to reproduce, I may as well stick around and see if I can get a date to the prom.
And in that spirit of grizzled optimism, I have identified three structural flaws in the architecture of my game. I'll allow there are plenty more, but these are a pretty reasonable place to start.
1. I am successful in my life away from the table.
I make a living trying to make sick people better. I am a very particular kind of cardiologist that specializes in treating disorders of the heart's rhythm. I can implant pacemakers and shock-boxes, as well as put catheters inside the heart and burn out trouble spots 1/5th of an inch wide. It's very cool stuff, that requires patience, planning and a little courage. It's occasionally high stakes and (not to be a jackass about it) every once in a while you come away with the sense that you are making an honest-to-God difference; playing your part in saving someone's life.
To get to where I am now took eight years of training after I graduated med school. Eight years that owe me at least one book, and almost cost me my marriage a couple of times. In my real life, I've come by my self-confidence (outlandish arrogance?) honestly. I paid to play and it paid off. But in terms of poker, the problem is this: I pretty much operate 24/7 with a sense that I am The Man - most of the time its just my schtick, but still, it has given me the potentially dangerous idea that, I should be good at this too. Which is especially assinine when I consider that I'm lousy at math and have a brain that's 10-15 years older (35) than most of the people
I'm up against. It's already too late for me, I am permanently behind, I just refuse to believe it. Yet.
2. I haven't done my homework.
I got interested in Poker the way that everyone these days does. I watched Moneymaker take it all down and thought, 'damn, if that guy can do it...' But I didn't play for dough for another year. For that I credit/blame WWDN or at least it's creator. That bit of celebrity voyeurism brought me to Stars last fall, initially to play his Tuesday tournament and now has me wasting the kids' inheritance on a regular basis.
The difference in how to do this right and how not to is pretty well summarized by reading the posts where Wil got into poker and started blogging about it. He read Harrington on Hold'Em and anticipated SS2 eagerly. Those entries are especially interesting to me now because you can almost see him getting better at understanding what's happening around him at the table.
Me? Not so much. Mostly, and almost entirely passively, I would try to recall the rough-hewn odds generated on the left hand side of the screen during ESPN's WSOP coverage. Now that's pretty crude I agree, but you'd be surprised how good I was perceived to be at the homegame I joined. Or maybe not...I sense that bloggers as a rule are to a man and woman incapable of being astounded anymore by either how bad most players are, or the player's own blissful ignorance thereof. The collective mass delusion they regularly have to wrestle, all the while knowing AA will lose to Le Hammer 1 time in 10 (i think), has simply numbed most bloggers to the core.
3. I am playing at limits simultaneously too low and too high for me.
So who am I to complain about the cumquats you meet playing online poker? Agreed. But here's the dilemna...at the lower limit tables (I'm thinking of $10 SNGs for example) people do odd things (and I can't state enough how clear I am that this is incredibly hypocritical of me to say) that make trying to learn how to play almost impossible, because we're all unpredictable, illogical dumbfucks. Almost no one does what their supposed to...starting and ending with me.
Also the sting of losing $10 just isn't there for me, and I think that poisons my focus. I seem to play with more intensity at 30+3, but the play there is just too good for me. There's the truth of it, and I am okay with it, I'm just wondering what the best way to address this is.
Aside from actually reading the received wisdom, learning what hands to play, getting my head of out of my considerable backside and stop behaving like someone who was recently disbarred from the local Masochists Society for being too extreme.
Okay, that's it for now. I'd love to emulate the Bad One and PGP today, but who knows.
T.S. Elliot wrote that "all man's life is a cheat and a disappointment", and I have it on good authority he killed at omaha H/L.