Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Learning how to lose

If you want to play poker reguarly, make it more than a weekly game with friends, and actually hope to make money consistently, you don't need to learn how to win.
You need to learn how to lose.
That's not exactly true, of course. You must learn how to play, and the masters will help you with that. Harrington, Sklansky, Brunson, Gordon, Greenstein, etc., will help you develop the fundamentals and skills you need to play the ring games and tournaments well, especially how to beat all the donkeys online.
But in order to not only win consistently but enjoy the game, you've got to learn to lose.
That's what I need to learn.
Three weeks ago, I went through the worst losing streak of my short time playing poker, dropping more than $100 and taking bad beat after bad beat (and also making stupid decisions on a few others). The experience was gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking, and I even lost sleep over it.
It was only a week, and in the scheme of things, it wasn't a big deal, since I was far ahead. In fact, the stock market corrects itself all the time, and that's really what this is, a correction of a good, but not great, poker player's bankroll. I wasn't going to dominate all the time.
And yet, when I won, I almost expected it, like, "well, I was getting good cards, so of course I won." As I was losing, I would replay the hands over and over, and every time, I came to one conclusion: You suck.
Last week, I made a comeback, only to lose most of it near the end of the week, shaking my confidence even more.
So, this week, another correction, only in a good sense. I'm winning a lot. I'm getting great hands, and I'm getting great action on those hands (and you have to be lucky on both counts in that regard).
And yet, instead of rushing to the computer every night, as you might think I am, I'm hestiating to play.
I don't want the good feeling to go away.
I'm afraid to lose.
I won $15 in a SnG last night and won $30 in rings, and yet, and the end of the night, I played another site and lost $5.
That's what I'm thinking about today.
If you are afraid to lose in poker, you don't win. That's the way it goes. You can play hands well and lose. You can play hands perfectly and lose. You can play a hand horribly and win. That's poker and that's life.
Maybe, eventually, I'll figure that out.


TripJax said...

Man I love the title of your post (and the content). We could all learn to, erm, learn to lose better. Very good points.

I loved your comments on Gary's blog. I'm thinking of trying out the chicken decapitation this weekend. I'll let you know how that goes - and how long he runs around with no head.

TripJax said...

I just realized I overused the word love in the comment above. In the second paragraph, replace loved with "have a fondness with."

Much better...ummm...yeah...

pokerpeaker said...

Yeah, I was getting a little squeamish there.
How about you link my blog then? And I'll link yours. Deal?
Maybe I'll get into the blogging community soon here.

pokerpeaker said...

Oh. You already did.
Thanks bud.