Monthly Archives: November 2006

What the Pros Have Taught Me About Poker

This is an old post I wrote, and just never got around to getting it up. I’ll post it now, only because it ties in somewhat to my next post.

At a poker game I hosted about a month ago, I came in third place (of 8, where 4 players did a rebuy, meaning I essentially beat out the equivalent of 9 players rather than just 5).

That doesn’t seem particularly astonishing; unless you consider the fact that I only won four showdowns and two pots where other players folded. Despite almost never winning, I was able to outlast other players who won several (up to 5x) more hands than me. I was able to last long enough to place “in the money” thanks to a minor change in my game play that I’ve been working on for quite some time.

The problem with poker is that it can get to be quite an emotional game. You get upset with yourself when you fold a hand that you would have won had you played, and you get upset when you lose a hand because somebody sucks out on you. Those two cases are quite normal.

But you also get upset when you’ve put a large portion of your stack in the pot to try and prevent someone from outdrawing you, and some psycho calls you with a long shot drawing hand and gets their draw.

There is also the situation where you commit a large amount of chips pre-flop, just to be reraised by another player, or get called by another player with junk and you get a junk flop.

Essentially, anytime you commit a large amount of chips, then later realize you’re going to get beat, it’s extremely frustrating and has often caused me to go on tilt. Going on tilt, of course, results in getting busted out early.

But as I’ve watched the pros over the years, I began to realize that a major factor that separates winning pros from losing pros is the ability to keep one’s emotions in check. Committing a large part of your stack, laying your hand down after realizing you’ve been beat, then collecting yourself and continue playing based on proper tactics rather than emotion — those are the hallmarks that separate the good from the bad.

This change in play is about the only victory I can take away from recent games, as I am currently on an 11 game losing streak. Prior to this losing streak, I had won 8 of the 30 home games I had hosted, averaging a win 1 in every 5 games.

Now my average has dropped to a win every 6 games. And while a few of those games were simply the result of a couple bad moves on my part, for the most part it just seems that the stars are against me, as in the last several hundred hands I’ve played, I couldn’t sell my soul to the devil to get decent cards.

But no worries. The stars always rotate back around, and the wins shall return.

I’m a Rich Motha Effer!

So I was on Alexa checking out the movers and shakers list. That’s where I discovered the Global Rich List and found that I’m the 377,126,437th richest person in the world! In a world where there are roughly 6 billion people, that’s not too shabby.

Now, I am grateful everyday of my life that I have a roof over my head and food on the table, so don’t get too riled up as I state the following…

The rich list fails to calculate in cost of living factors. I understand that I am substantially better off than most of the rest of the world. However, in most parts of the world, you can live off the land. Many tribes are raised in an atmosphere that teaches them to do so. Many people live without any concept of money (their “money” consists of trading labor, skills, etc. as opposed to using those labors and skills in exchange for a number in a bank account, which can then be traded for “things”).

It would be impossible, for example, for me to make $1.50 a day (as may happen in many sweatshops or farms around the globe) and support my family. It would be equally impossible for me to simply pick a plot of land and hand build me a home. The reasons are two fold:

  1. In America, land costs money
  2. I haven’t the foggiest idea how to build a house

Now, that being said, if you were to take cost of living into account, I still am substantially “richer” than most of the rest of the world… perhaps I’m still in the top 20%. I have a car, a house without a dirt floor, clean running water, heat to keep the house warm in the winter (without having to go out and chop wood) and and air conditioner to keep the house cool in the summer. I work in a nice office rather than a muddy field. And you know, I really am grateful for everything that I have.

And, just for fun, I punched in the annual income for a person working full-time at minimum wage ($5.15 per hour):

If you’re making minimum wage, you’re not too bad off! Hopefully you’re single and without kids, otherwise that would be tough.

In my last job, I made $8/hour. I am married with three kids, and my wife does not work. My rent was/is $750/mo. + gas and electricity, and I still donated about 15% of my gross income to charity every month. If you’re single and making minimum wage, you’re actually much better off than I was. Sure, you’d have to live with room mates (it’s pretty easy to get into a place for $250/mo. with roomies here in Utah), but it’s better than trying to raise a family of 5 on just 54% more (which is what $8/hr would be).

Anyway, I’m totally rambling off here. Have fun playing with the Rich List!