Why Being Results Oriented In Poker Is Bad

Posted: June 20, 2012 in General, Poker Results
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

So i am sat looking at my computer screen, the date is 18th December 2010. The reason I cant take my eyes off the screen is because I have just had my biggest winning day playing poker. I’m up nearly 10 buyins at NL100 earning nearly as much in a day as I do in a month working my `real life` job as a Carpet Fitter. I’m delighted and feeling truly baller and although I am not one to brag about things I cant wait to tell people how much Ive won. I think I have made it.

Fast forward 4 months and I am once again staring at my computer screen. Again I cant take my eyes off my graph, this time though I am looking at the graph in disbelief because I am in the middle of a 35 buy in downswing. December 18th seems such a distant memory now as I prepare to move down to NL25. I’m in shock at how fast things have turned around and never believed I could have a downswing so bad as the most I have had in the past is about 10 buy ins.

The funny thing is, the more I look at the graph the more I seem unable to stop the rot. With every bad beat comes a bit more tilt and with every bit of tilt comes a bit more bad play. This all contributes to me never playing my A game for sustained periods because I am petrified of what monsters lurk around the corner.

Anyone who has read any of my posts knows that I am ultimately results oriented, almost to the extreme, almost to the point of looking at my graph and if it goes up I am happy and if it goes down I am sad. It isn’t just a case of how I am doing over the month or week that effects me. It can be how I am doing in the day or at the extreme how I am doing at the very minute that I am playing. It matters not how I have played in a session all that matters is the graph goes up or the graph goes down. There are times that I look at HEM while I am playing and find myself delighted to be up but from then on every hand that I lose and every time I check and see the money I won fritter away just sends me deeper in to unhappiness and usually deeper in to tilt.


How To Stop Being Results Oriented

Bloody hell if i hear one more person say poker is a game for the long term i think i may scream. Thats the point though, i know poker is a game for the long term but even though i know it for some reason it dosnt register in my head while i am making my decisions at the table or taking a few bad beats. All i can think about at the moment in time is money that should have been mine that is no longer mine. This is the thinking that i have got to find a way of getting out of. When someone sucks out on me i shouldnt be dissapointed, i should actually be pleased as this usually means that i have outplayed my opponent and got him to put his money in while behind. We all know that once the money is in the pot theres nothing more you can do so if you get your money in good more often than your opponents then you will profit in the long run. Every decision that you make at the table should boil down to a simple question of what action will make me the most money in the long run? Yes its ok to get it wrong occasionally as unless you make mistakes it is impossible to learn.

Below is a list of things that i hope can help with this aspect of the game:-

1. Stop Checking HEM Repeatedly

This should be quite an easy one but i have struggled with this in the past as theres no real way to stop HEM been available while im playing. The steps i have taken to help me in this aspect are to take out all the winning indicators in HEM so i no longer have $won or bb/100 won displayed on any of my reports tabs. Theres no way to take it out of the sessions tab but i will have to show some discipline here by trying not to look at this section. Even with those things not displayed it is still quite easy to review hands as we can use the filters and really we should be checking over most of the hands in a session where we have put money in the pot anyway and not just the big hands. Im hoping this will cut out some of the instant tilt i feel when i check HEM and see that i am down money.

2. Realise You Can Play Well And Lose And Vice Versa

This speaks for itself really but it is something that i obviously have trouble understanding because i am results oriented. On any given day i can play the best poker i am capable of playing and still lose money to the worse player that has played the game. In the short term varience is at its highest but as long as i realise that by making more good decisions than my opponent i make money in the long run. Realising that the graph can go up when i play bad and can go down when i play well is the begining of getting out of results oriented thinking.

3. Work With Ranges Not Specific Hands

Im really bad for doing this mainly because i know the hand that beat me. Although we should be doing session reviews on a regular basis i have found it quite interesting to go back through my database and pull out random hands in medium to big pots and run through the hand and try and put my opponent on a range. When i am tilting though i never do this instead just going over big pots and not really considering my opponents actions or range and just saying to myself that i got unlucky here or my opponent got lucky there.

4. Make Good Decisions More Often

I mean this in the context of just because i know i am up for the session i may decide just to call with Ak instead of 3betting and facing getting shoved on by a loose player and getting my money in on a flip or as slight favorite. Ive done this many a time and it all boils down to been results oriented. Every decision i make at the poker table has to be what i think is the most +EV play regardless of whether i am up or down for the day or session. If i get my money in as 60/40 favorite then in the short term i am going to lose some of these and thinking of results i am going to be dissapointed when i lose and elated when i win yet its just simple maths that says we look in to the future and i make this play then i win in the long run. So basically every hand i play has got to be seperate and not just looked at as part of a session which i do at the moment.

5. Stop Using Negative Words

Words like `Always` and `Never` are words that dont leave any room for any middle ground. When posting in my thread i find myself using words like this more and more often when i am running bad or playing bad. One of the regular posters in the thread actually pulled me up on it at one point. How many times have we asked ourselevs ” Why do i never get any luck?” The more and more we type things like this or say things like this the more and more our subconcious starts to believe it. When related to poker eventually we convince ourselves that we dont get any luck and this makes it very hard to be objectional when we are doing things like reviewing hands.

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