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Poker, Psychology, and My Shattered Ego

After a rather typical heads-up session last Friday, I found myself on uber-tilt and stayed away from poker for a good five days. The one thing that I've learned from poker over the past four years is that I don't handle losing very well. I'm extremely results-oriented. I tilt very easily - especially when I know that my losses are caused by my own thoughtless and horrid play. And finally, I have no concept of the "long-run". I just don't play enough poker to believe that my luck will even out as long as I keep grinding away.

Due to my inability to handle variance, I'm going to put heads-up poker on the back-burner again. I know I can beat the game. But I can't handle the swings right now from a psychological point of view. If I had more time to invest in poker, I may give HUNL a shot again. But I'm currently wrapped up in a particularly addictive video game (inFamous).

To help me reduce variance and to start earning a decent return on the time I invest at the online tables, I'm moving back to good old 6-max $100 no-limit hold'em. I've still got a lot to learn about this game. I doubt that I'm a winning player at NLHE anymore due to the changes in game dynamics that have occurred over the past few years. I'm terrible at deciding when to 3-bet and how to defend against aggressive players. It's something I'll need to work on.

Of course, I'll also be working on my mental game. I picked up a number of new books recently to help me with tilt control and my views on poker. I'm hoping that The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success, Zen and the Art of Poker: Timeless Secrets to Transform Your Game, Poker Winners Are Different, and Tommy Angelo's excellent Elements of Poker will help me overcome these demons that prevent me from taking the next big step in poker. Admitting that I have a problem is probably a good start. I look forward to fixing my issues over the course of 2009 and hoping to start pulling in some better results.

My plans for the weekend involve donking off a $10 bonus that I got at Party Poker. I'll also be playing a ton of inFamous. I'll also hit up the $100 6-max NLHE tables at Full Tilt and/or Stars and/or Titan Poker. I've also considered forcing myself start taking shots at $200 NLHE from time to time when I've earned a buy-in or two at the $100 games. Unless I break out of this rut that I'm in, both in terms of the mental game and the bankroll game, I'll end up stagnating like much of the online poker masses.

Have a great weekend everyone! May you all have good luck at the tables and the resolve to continue improving your game when the cards don't fall your way.


Littleacornman said...

I think taking breaks ( 5 days or more if required) is the key to staying fresh and at least minimising losses if you're running badly.
Gl at the 6 max tables.

Klopzi said...

Littleacornman -

I definitely agree with taking breaks. Though my breaks tend to fall in the "or more" category. I think my record is 3 or 4 months away from the tables.

Hopefully my mental game will improve over the next year and help me deal with this obvious weakness in my game.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

raphnix said...

I actually thought that psychology and poker can be so much associated with each other that maybe a true psychologist can play poker better. lols