Completely random post about my adventure with poker... General forum

14 replies. Last post: 2017-11-08

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Completely random post about my adventure with poker...
  • Sean_Hettenbach at 2017-08-18


  • Sean_Hettenbach at 2017-08-18

        I started playing poker, specifically Texas Hold 'em about 8 months ago in December of 2016. I played with a roommate and was hooked instantly on the idea of using math and percentages, odds and outs, and weighing the values to make the best possible decision as much a possible. It was fun for a while. I would play and lose. I kept losing. After about a month though, I started winning consistently. I put a lot of time into the game, studying hands and board textures, what to do in certain situations, setting up traps, etc. After about 2 months of playing, I found myself with a solid ‘game plan/strategy’ and I went to my first local tournament... I lost very quickly lol. About a week later I tried again and this time I got what I wanted. I placed 2nd out of maybe 20 people. The next time, I won. Then I showed up again to take 2nd yet again. So my placings were very consistent I’d say... Second, First, Second. I continued to go to these local tournaments and thus started my battle... I would do absolutely amazing one night maybe finish 1st, another night maybe 3rd, another night 2nd... But on the in-between, I was losing way to much. I would lose maybe 10 tournaments before I made a final table again. Not because I was playing badly or anything, but because I just got sucked out on, which is a term for when someone gets lucky and beats a good hand. I remember one time Sitting with Ace King of diamonds, raising the pot to get called by one person. The flop ran Ace of hearts, 6 of clubs, and 10 of clubs... I bet, he raised, I push all in, he calls with Queen of clubs, 4 of clubs... Well The turn brought another club and he hit a flush... I remember just being so baffled that someone could make a huge call with an unmade hand and get paid off for it. I have many instances where I made the correct decision, or the right call and the last card falls and I lose... More often the not, that seems to be how I lost most of the time. I would play exceptionally well, make all the right moves at the right times, but for whatever reason, I get unlucky in a hand and that’s all she wrote. This has been going on for about 6 months now, and I’ve finally come to a conclusion with the game... It’s time to move on. Poker has taught me a lot about patience and controlling my emotions though. Always making a logical and well calculated decision and not letting mixed emotions affect my judgement. Though, the game is not worth putting energy into. No matter how many hours you spend studying hands and flops, turns, and rivers(Board Textures), plays, bluffs, squeezes, steals, tells, etc... it’s simply just a game of chance, and whether you’re a skilled player or not, anything can happen when the cards hit the felt. I have to say it sucks having put forth so much effort and time into the game thinking I could ‘get better’... but there is simply no getting better at poker. There’s only getting lucky, or getting felted. So for this reason, I choose to quit now, and move on with my life. I’ve had fun with the game, but I’m happy to be moving past this phase in my life. Thank god I didn’t go bankrupt lol!:) Thanks for reading!

  • Maurizio De Leo ★ at 2017-08-18

    You can definitely get better at poker, but the number of hands you have to play to overcome the variance is enormous.  

    Check the match between the pros and Libratus

  • The_Burglar at 2017-08-18

    I play it safe on facebook

  • Tasmanian Devil at 2017-08-18

    This resembles my experience with poker, but I’m still playing.

  • The_Shark_c at 2017-08-18

    As someone who has not put as much time in as you have, I can tell you:  It is possible to get better, because I know I am outclassed. 

  • Sean_Hettenbach at 2017-08-18

    @Maurizio Exactly... The gap is so marginal that you need thousands on top of thousands of hands to build a chart of how good you are actually doing. I don’t like that. I like the idea that you study the game you are playing and you progressively get better, and your gameplay improves. You shouldn’t have to look at a chart to see how good you are... It should be recognizable through how well your gameplay is. Which is almost impossible in poker. For example, sitting on AK playing against a loose opponent who makes a re raise to my original UTG open for about 4bbs. I know he is sitting on maybe A6-AQ suited/unsuited... So I push all in and get a call to see A7... Guess what the flop brings a 7 and it’s over. Making the right decision and getting no reward, and yes I understand it’s still a race and I was maybe a 4 to 1 dog to win, but still. Another example is calling a bluff with middle pair for example. I sat on 78off in the bb, to face one limper, everyone else folded. I put him on a hand he’s unsure of but wants a flop so holdings like AT,AJ,AQ maybe a small pocket pair 66’s or worse, and then maybe a king hand like KT, KJ, KQoff (has to be off or less he raises here.) Flop runs 4, 7, 10 rainbow, and I looked up instantly to look at my opponent who just stares blankly at the board thinking about what he beats or whatever, I can tell he missed so all the 10x goes out the window, and 7 not possible, and the 8 is a great card to be holding to block bluffs like K8, A8, and pocket 8’s, and even a combo like 10 8. Very nice flop for my hand but I want my opponent to take a stab at the pot, so I check, to which he bets 5k into a 4k pot... I shove he calls... I table my 78 to find his holding to be AQ like I predicted. The turn happens to be a brick, but the river is an ace and I lose. Yes I was a 3-1 dog to win after that flop, so there was a chance of losing, but the point is I was winning and so far ahead, and yet he still calls with garbage, and I lose because he makes a bad play.... For a game to make sense, the player making the right moves and the correct moves, shouldn’t lose. If a person makes a mistake and the other player capitalizes on their mistake, they should be rewarded for it, not vice-verse. That’s how it works... I have the decision to choose the best possible move which I have calculated the outcome and the further moves down the line that show to be in my favor and I will come out ahead, if not victorious. In poker, every time I seemed to make a very strong, well calculated decision, or play, somehow the other player is oblivious to strategy, and just likes to gamble, and they get rewarded for having less ‘skill’ than I. It’s to demoralizing for me. I can’t stand to lose against people who aren’t as good as me. Doesn’t happen, in chess, dots n boxes, nor any other game for that matter, except for poker. So this is why I choose to stop playing, because I lose in situations where is in any other game I would win. Logically it’s illogical to continue playing.

  • Sean_Hettenbach at 2017-08-18

        Also to explain the idea behind “Bluff hands like A8 and K8” When Holding A8/K8 on a board with a 7 and 10, A8 and K8 are great hands to bluff with portraying maybe instead of the ace or king you have a 9, so instead of holding A8/K8 you might have 98 which would be a nice open ender, except I hold one of the sevens that you need and I also hold the 8 so this means that the number of combos you have to end up with 89 are limited. Also say you held a gut shot, like J9, or 69, I hold one of the 8’s you need so I’m in a healthy position for a race. It’s complicated to think about I guess, but for the most part when you study poker you realize what certain hands do to the possible combinations another player has as a holding. I figured I’d post this if it didn’t make sense when reading the first time. I guess it gets confusing. I know when people would talk about poker and bluff blockers/catchers, I was always lost.

  • Ed Collins at 2017-08-18

    Hi Sean,

    As you know, poker is a game of percentages.  If your opponents are drawing out on you, THAT’S OKAY!  You WILL win in the long run.  (And by “long run” I don’t mean a zillion hands, either.  Just playing for awhile will do it.)

    You just have to make sure that you are playing within your budget so that you have time to see that "long run."

    You wrote:  "...For a game to make sense, the player making the right moves and the correct moves, shouldn’t lose..."

    If you don’t like the idea of your opponent’s drawing out on you, ever, knowing that you have the best of it and that you made the right play and they did not, then yes, poker is not your game.  In that case I would suggest an all-skill game, as you mentioned, like chess.

    Backgammon would also not be your game.  A backgammon expert would be a big favorite over a typical player... there’s a LOT of skill in backgammon, but he/she wouldn’t be a lock to win.  Backgammon, like poker, also has an element of chance to it.

    To me, it’s okay if the suckers win every once in a while.  If you’re a 4 to 1 favorite, you WILL win 4 times out of 5.  It’s inevitable.  You just have to make sure the stakes you are playing for a such that you have time to play as many games/sessions as possible, to give the percentages a chance to work for you, and that your losses don’t bust you out completely. 

    With poker and backgammon and other such games, you just have to change your mindset, and let go of that mentality of winning 100% of the time.  Ain’t gonna happen.  But that’s okay!  If you did... poker would die a quick death because the suckers wouldn’t even play it.

  • mmKALLL at 2017-08-19

    I also feel that it’s much more easy to remember all the times one is sucked on than one’s successes. Especially in poker the successful and correct plays are usually subtle and don’t leave much of an emotional impact, unlike going all-in.

    This was interesting to read. As someone who has played all sorts of games in tournaments for many years, I can definitely relate to the feeling. I played poker seriously for maybe 4-6 months, but concluded that despite the money it’s not worth it for me. I don’t want to become an emotionless zombie full of probabilities, after all. Not implying that poker players are emotionless zombies in general, but I might have been, had I continued to invest effort into the game. :)

    Poker certainly can be fun and deep, but I simply prefer other games these days. Especially when games with less or more controllable chance factors can be very exciting to play and watch as well!

  • Trevor Cook at 2017-11-01

    I also quit poker recently for much the same reasons you did. The variance is too great and I realized I don’t possess the stoicism required to withstand the variance. Also, I simply don’t have the time to play enough hands to know if I’m a winning player or not. Furthermore, the poker scene here in the USA has never recovered from the one-two punch of the financial crisis and “Black Friday” in 2010. My home state of Washington went further and made playing online poker a felony on the same level as animal abuse (the Congresswoman who sponsored that bill just happened to represent the district containing the state’s largest Indian casino, which I’m sure is a total coincidence!)  The games are way tougher than they’ve ever been and the inflow of new players has slowed to a trickle. People just aren’t gambling like they used to, even with all the disposable income the tech boom has brought to this area, and the poker boom of the 2000s seems like a distant memory. I imagine there are other places in the world where a decent player can clean up, but sadly poker seems to be on the decline in its home country.

  • Dvd Avins at 2017-11-08

    Tournaments, which are generally no-limit or have escalating limits, are a lot more swingy with luck. They’re more strategically interesting, especially the no-limit ones. But if you want to grind out a profit, limit hands outside of tournaments must be less variable.

  • Martyn Hamer at 2017-11-08

    I used to play a lot of Poker, I still do but nowhere near as much these days. I’ve also started playing a lot of Backgammon in the last year and there is a huge mental adjustment you need to make when playing both games. They’re completely different to games like Chess where the stronger player will generally win and where mistakes are more obvious. You just have to accept the cards / dice that come your way and do as well with them as you can. Even if it’s going against you, you just have to control your emotions and keep making good decisions with the information and resources available.

    Also, with Poker especially, you have to be extremely open minded about your own play as it isn’t easy to identify your mistakes. And despite the fact you clearly know what you’re talking about, you’ve been playing for less than a year and will undoubtedly have been making plenty of mistakes yourself. Just because you happened to be a big favourite in a hand doesn’t necessarily mean you should have been raising aggressively. If they happen to have a stronger hand, you lose big. If they are on a complete bluff, you chase them out of the hand and stop them losing more chips. Okay, it seems a lot of your opponents were playing awfully and trying to donate their chips to you, hard luck but this will not pay off for them in the long run.

  • Carroll ★ at 2017-11-08

    I totally agree with you Martyn and start to see why you beat me regularly in Einstein...

    For people thinking of playing poker, I think you should be prepared to strengthen yourself first by living a very balanced life regarding sport, sleep, food, relationships, meditation... Only then will you be in an open state of mind allowing you to accept variance, bad players winning consistently, and taking long hours at the table that will allow you to make progresses and mitigate variance.

    As Martyn says, it is very difficult to get an evaluation of your level and the mistakes you make. Most of the players are both losing players and feel they are among the top 10% of the players.

    Even winning players have very long streaks of downswings (long can mean 100 000 hands...), so losing is not a perfect indicator that you are a bad player either.

    For me, looking back at my level of play last year and the mistakes I used to do is an indicator I still have plenty to learn.

    As Martyn said, when you play the usually bad players that try to donate you their chips and don’t succeed, learn to accept this with joy and compassion as it will also allow you to have this state of mind for all the wrong things that happen in real life despite the wonderful person you are acting the best you can each day.

    Yes poker is a spiritual journey in the evil world of selfish egos and money.

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