Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What if you started online poker with a bunch of beats?

Some follow-up thoughts to my last post:

My point was that an overpair with a flush draw on a coordinated, single-suited flop is often a dog heads-up against an opponent who pushes all in on the flop. I didn't mean to suggest that the overpair is always behind, but it does tend to trail the range of possible hands.

This is when hand reading, pot odds and table image become important. Many times, a call will be the correct move. But in the two hand histories I posted, I think it was fairly clear that I should have folded. The pots weren't exceedingly large and the hand ranges of my opponents were pretty narrow.


I should be posting more often, but it gets hard to write about poker when good cards seem so evasive. I've been winning one day and losing the next, which has put me close to even over the last few weeks. I can't get much action, sets don't hold up, double-ups seem to be canceled out by beats, blah, blah, blah.

I'll say this: the games are good, and I'm playing well. Results will come.

I'm reminded of a topic that Kuro and I used to talk about a couple of years ago.

We were both primarily limit hold 'em players at the time, and we were discussing when to move up and how much bankroll is needed to support each limit. The accepted wisdom at the time was that 300 big bets were required, but I've now come to believe that 500 bets should be the minimum. The reasoning for having 300 bets is that it would minimize your risk of ruin because deep downswings are not only possible, but they're actually likely in the long run.

Anyway, the question in our conversation was: "What if a new online player started their poker career on a 300 bet downswing?"

Surely there are many players out there with a lot of potential who just get crushed when they start playing, even at the low limits. They may know poker from live games but can't seem to beat internet poker because they didn't anticipate the long-term swings of the game.

Most players who start on a 300 bet downswing would simply stop playing after coming to the conclusion that they're not good enough to beat the online game. They may never realize their potential because they aren't prepared to accept that results only accurately mirror skill over tens of thousands of hands.

As Mike Caro says, the goal of poker isn't to win money. The goal of poker is to make correct decisions. If you keep making the right choices, the profits will follow in the long run. Unfortunately, the long run can be a long time coming.

1 comment:

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

As lame as this may sound... when I'm in a downswing, I play one table, and after one good session, I quit. If that means I only play for one hour on one table, so be it. But I stop and I lock in my profits. Take it on another day. That always seem to work for me in terms of getting out of a rut or a downswing. Just a thought.