Upon further review

Posted: May 17, 2010 in poker

For the past few weeks I’ve been helping a friend improve his live cash game skill set. In doing so I’ve had him really explore his strengths and weaknesses. Seems like an easy task, but I dare you to find a poker player who can set his ego aside and self actualized in an honest manner. Always looking to improve, I decided what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. So this blog is going to be an inside look at what I feel my biggest flaws are and how they relate to my poker career.

-EGO: This could just as easily fall on my list of strengths, but just like any other competitive person I have an ego. It only becomes a flaw when it weighs in on the decision-making process. I admit I’ve passed on smaller soft games to play the biggest game in the casino. I admit I’ve played a bad game because I didn’t want to walk away a loser. Granted these aren’t really applicable any more, but my ego does get me into trouble at times when I hero call in a clear fold spot, or when I begin jawing w/a fish that has a big mouth. The more I’m able to remove ego and emotion from my game and rely upon skill, game theory and thought process the more profitable I’ll become.

-OVER ANALYZE: There are times I put myself into bad spots because I’ve over adjusted to a lineup or player in general. I’ve become very good at assessing players’ capabilities and there are a few situations where I make bad pay offs just because I think this person has to balance their play against me at some point. Just because a person is capable of developing a line to neutralize me doesn’t mean they are capable of following through. I need to realize the difference and force them to follow through rather than playing defense against the level of giving them credit for something unproven.

-BALANCING: This is much more of a life flaw that leaks into my poker game. When I’m winning I want to play 24/7. When I’m losing I want to focus on life activities 24/7. Where my work ethic is never in question with things regarding poker, I tend to half ass everything else going on in my life unless I’m losing. I have other commitments and I’d like to see myself give 100% to them during the time I spend involved w/them. Working out is a stellar example. Too often I put forth a mediocre effort and ultimately am disappointed w/the result. I remember what it took to be both physically and mentally successful, it’s draining but the end result is well worth the effort.

-TEACHING: I’m like a kid w/a big secret when it comes to knowing something others don’t, I can’t wait to spill the beans. I’m getting better at biting my tongue when I hear guys talking at the table, exchanging inaccurate information, but I still too often add my two cents. If nothing else this tips my hand to them as to just what it is I’m capable of which if they have even half a brain will lead to an adjustment. It’s like pulling $100 bills out of my pocket and lighting them on fire.

-COMPLACENCY: Too often I get comfortable. Be it a certain game, lineup, bankroll, even a $ amt to a win, far too often I find myself content. And generally it will take a big loss to open my eyes and drive me all over again. I’d like to skip the ass end of this cycle and work on being complacent while enjoying a vacation rather than in the middle of a win streak.

-WSOP: I’ve yet to have a stellar series, even from a cash game perspective. It’s the Christmas of poker and this year I’d really like to stay focused and earn a good portion of my yearly income over those couple of months. I think scheduling and bankroll management has been my biggest flaws in the past. This year I have a tentative list of events I’d like to play w/$5k set aside for sng’s/satties. The rest of my time will be spent between 5/10 and 10/20 pending on the lineup. The action in the right games is fast and loose leaving room for a bundle of money to be made, even if a big tourney score should elude me.

-PROCRASTINATION: Doesn’t directly apply to poker, but when I put things off it puts a lot more pressure on me to get things done hurriedly which ultimately can cut into session time or at worst leave me in a rushed mindset when beginning a session. It also does nothing for the task at hand as far as quality goes. Sometimes making unnecessary mistakes in life can be more detrimental than the ones made on the felt.

-PATIENCE: This is more directed toward live MTT play, but can be applied to all aspects of my game and life. I’m general a very patient person but something about being short in a live event lends itself to my impatient side. Generally speaking if I make a big mistake in any aspect of poker or life it’s because I didn’t take my time when making a decision.

-GETTING TOO THIN: I guess this is kinda like a lefty’s pickoff move in baseball,
if you never get called for a balk then you aren’t trying hard enough. That being said when I’m losing I’m getting called for too many balks. Getting thin value whether through a bluff or value bet is a tremendous asset to have in your repertoire, but going to the well too often will blow your cover leading to a major strength becoming a difficult leak to plug.

-NEGLECTING LIFE: It’s easy to get lost in the grind and forget that the best part of this career choice is the freedom it provides. I need to spend more time enjoying myself. More days playing ball, weekends w/friends and family, nights out w/a group of friends. The time spent doing so needs to be w/full effort too. Just like poker, putting the hours in isn’t enough; they need to be quality hours. Just makes the ship run so much smoother.

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