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Stages of a Poker Blogger: Stage 7 Revisited

I am most definitely in Stage 7 at this point. I can tell because all that was old is new again and all that is new is quickly being absorbed and reworked by that part of my brain focusing on poker 24/7.

I was worried that the next stage (which I'll refer to as Stage 8 for now since I have no clue what it will really be) would turn out to be the plateau stage. In fact, I think Stage 7 is itself a form of plateau.

I've started re-reading some of the books I own (I don't feel like pimping anything right now, so no links...). I'm finding more meaning behind the words. I'm seeing the texts in the light of new experience and it is enlightening to say the least.

How we can read the same chapters and pull different meanings after only a short few months is strange. In addition to Miller's SSH and some Sklansky, I've found myself enjoying Matt Maroon's book. His concepts, while more abstract, are more thought provoking and practical (practical abstract concepts?). He presents numerous situations to address the different ways of viewing and tackling situations that arise at the tables.

His concepts also seem to apply greatly to the online poker world. I'm not saying that Matt's book cannot teach you how to play B&M poker - I'm just saying that his focus on using math and betting patterns to determine a course of action seem more important to me than whether or not the guy to my right scratches his nose thusly.

So it seems that Stage 7 is a time for re-learning old tricks, learning new strategies and concepts, and trying to assimilate it all into one big poker package. The rewards of this form of assimilation also represent the dangers of this stage of development. Gathering yourself and defining yourself as a single entity can cause problems if there are pieces missing or, even worse, pieces that are just plain broken.

As a poker player, you cannot help but land upon a plateau during this stage. You're game is in flux. You've lost your poker identity and, as such, can feel a little lost at times. When it all clicks, you feel unstoppable. You're running the tables and people are throwing you their chips.

But as with any new theory, you can't seem to apply your new self to every situation and table out there. Your poker brain will tweak itself at times and do a complete overhaul at other times. This leads to bankroll fluctuations and, if you're not careful, the possibility of ruin. This is, of course, my opinion as a proponent and devout follower of strict bankroll management. I find that the infamous "I blew my bankroll" posts always seem to follow a player trying to come out of Stage 7 too early and tackling harder games without having completed his/her learning and introspection fully.

These peaks and valleys in your game and the mindless flailing at the tables coupled with a burning desire to improve yourself also present themselves on your blog.

You'll find yourself giving advice, retracting that advice, further expanding upon some ideas, and coming up with novel new ideas that just don't work. Your readers are in for a bumpy ride of highs and lows, of "I got it!" moments, of "I thought I had it!" moments, and even the dreaded "I hate this f*cking game!" moment.

However, unlike previous stages littered with bad play, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Not the light, but a pretty good light nonetheless.

You see, by this time, your game has actually improved. Unbeknownst to you at the time, the plateau was tilted slightly upwards. All the while, it seemed as if you were pumping your crazy legs and getting nowhere but even. In fact, you've been reaching upwards and outwards.

This stage is finished when you've successfully taken that next step. It's when your readers notice a change in your writing and in your play.

You seem somehow better than the average player out there. Not great, but pretty good.

You seem somehow better than the average poker blogger out there. Not "I'm bringing my laptop so I can read Klopzi's posts while I'm on vacation" great, but "Let's see what Klopzi's up to now" good.

One last thing about this stage - I have a feeling it's one that lasts a long time. I only say this because as you move up in limits at the table, you need to learn so much to improve. Now, maybe I'm wrong and once it clicks, it clicks. The Law School Dropout moved very quickly from $2/$4 to $50/$100. Many of the bloggers out there seem to do it.

My guess is that you're stuck here until you're well into the middle stakes type games.

As a reader of many blogs, you can definitely sense when a reader has finally moved on. There is no more talk of bad beats, no more hand histories (other than the occasional "I just won my first $XXX sized pot"), and very little advice relating to the playing of the game.

There is more talk of the abstract. There is more talk of theory. There is more talk of "I read this article by Cloutier in CardPlayer where he...".

Good Lord, this post was long! I apologize - I'm in flux and I will be for a while. I just hope you'll put up with my silly theories, good plays, bad plays, and mediocre poker advice.

I guess we'll know when I've left this stage. I have a funny feeling that it'll take me about a year or two. My writing will probably improve at a much faster pace than my poker game, but that's not saying much. I just hope that everyone will put up with me as my blog moves from zen-like discussions to bad beat stories to bathroom humour.

Until I've finally left Stage 7 behind me, I can only say one last thing: don't forget to check out my affiliates.

I blame Stage 7 for my shamelessness...


drewspop said...

Hey klopzi, thanks for the feedback on my post before vacation. I need to catch up on your posts now. Been in blog withdrawal with a puking kid all week. Not a good combo.

Klopzi said...

Blog withdrawal may not be a bad thing: they're like junk food for the mind. Reading my blog is like sitting back and watching back to back to back episodes of Dr. Phil.

But a puking kid all week: rough. I don't know how I'll handle it when I have kids and they're sick. It grosses me out just thinking about it.