Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Confidence Game

Christof: Cue the sun!
”The Truman Show”

Confidence in poker is a weird thing. I believe I can do great things when my confidence is high, and on the flip side when the confidence is low it is nothing more than a count down until I loose everything I have at the table.

Confidence for me starts before I even sit down. How much money am I willing to put into this here poker game? It took me a long time to get used to putting as little as $20 into a game – because hey, $20 is still $20. Someone comes out with a big bet of $6? Holy Cow, where did that come from? How could you risk so much!

I think I have only ever entered 2 MTT with buy ins of $20 or more, and never more than $30. I just can’t bring myself to do it yet, as I don’t have the bank roll nor the confidence to endure it.

When I am playing on a high, all the cards are hitting, the premium hands are holding up, the reads are 100% correct and life is good. I had 4-5 back to back session last week at $1/$2 where I would jump out to a 15-20BB win early, and then hover around there and up a little for the rest of the session. These results I was very happy with, and even entertained thoughts of moving up in levels because I was “consistently” beating this game (what did that “Professional Poker Player™” say about sample size?). It was a regular nightly routine and all was good.

Then on just one night everything goes wrong and I lost $70 – still up for the week mind you, but it was still a bit of a hit to me. And what happens? The confidence is gone, gone. My fearsome table image was evaporated, as evidenced in one hand where I was called down all the way by Ace high which beat my busted straight. I actually cringed when I got a half decent starting hand, and automatically go into “How can I minimize the loss on this hand” mode, which is never help full.

In football, there is this saying that you are only as good as your last game. In those terms, this means that how good you played two weeks ago, last month or last year doesn’t mean you are going to keep your spot on the team this week. Only the current form counts. I think this rings true for my poker playing confidence. I win one MTT, all of a sudden I am a tournament specialist. I loose out on the first hand of the next MTT when KK runs into AA and these games look like a lottery now. I spend 5 days grinding decent profit on limit holdem and I’m thinking that rising up the limits is a matter of time. I post one bad session, I’m considering going back to the drawing board all over again.

Something in Doyle’s book is ringing through my head. I can’t remember what he said word for word, so I’m just paraphrasing here. Basically he said that the pros know that the recreational player is happy to win enough for a free dinner, but is willing to loose his entire stack. I see this in my game all too often. If I post a $30 profit early, I feel inclined to cash out. But if I post a $30 loss early, I’ll keep playing until it is either all gone or I am back to level – where I reassess and consider if I can keep going. Maybe this is just a conservative approach that hampers my ability to maximise a good situation? I don’t know, perhaps.

I have been thinking more and more about the Turkish game, and how I would play it differently next time. I think I would need to be prepared to go bust more often – I was so scared for my chips that I sat on one buy-in for nearly 2 hours while every other person had either re-bought or doubled up. I was far too timid and maybe I needed to loosen up a little to create advantageous circumstances instead of waiting for them to happen. The end result could be I’d either walk out $100 richer or $100 in the whole. Hmm….maybe I will wait until after the honeymoon for that one.

Right now I am looking at which PSO offer I want to go with next, I’ve nearly run out of them! Maybe that too will be a good thing for my game, when I finally give up the bonus whoring and just play consistently at a site or sites. But man I just love all the free shit!

1 comment:

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