If you’re like most Playing Poker online, you’ve felt legitimate pain while playing the sport .
Such pain is typically caused by bad luck, which may are available many forms:
Getting the cash in as a favourite and losing;
Having an extended streak of unfavorable results to no fault of our own; or (even more subtly)
Running into the highest of our opponent’s range.
Playing Poker is filled with instances which are painful but also completely out of our control.
Properly identifying them could also be a touch tricky sometimes — especially for thinking players who hate to use luck as an excuse for his or her mistakes — but we all know they’re there.
One lesson we will learn from this is often that: the earlier we identify the instances which are beyond our control, the quicker we will start working towards accepting them.
A stoic mom
Speaking of stone walls, once I was kid, my mom wont to tell me that there are two sorts of problems/challenges: those we will fix and people we cannot fix. That sounds very stoic and every one , but how do i decide which is which?
Should I put longer in my failing business?
Does my flawed partnership still makes sense?
Should I keep fixing my old car or hand over on it? and therefore the list goes on.
These are in fact rhetoric questions, the answers to which are different for every individual and irrelevant to our discussion. the purpose is, however, that albeit our world is clearly imperfect, it’s still unclear whether certain aspects of it are improvable or not.
Nevertheless, once we answer that question, mom’s wisdom becomes relevant again because it sets us into a transparent path. we should always work on those aspects which will be improved and ignore the remainder . it’s often the talk on which category they belong to that’s eating us alive.
The Pain Principle
Playing Poker is not any different. regardless of what things is, the amount one question thinking players are asking themselves is: Could I even have done this differently?
To which the solution typically and frustratingly is: It depends!
That’s the Bad news.
The good news is that although I don’t pretend to arrogantly have some one-size-fit all answer to how one can distinguish the roads from the dead-ends, there’s a really useful heuristic, courtesy of our community’s collective wisdom of painstakingly analyzing the sport for many years . It might be artistically paraphrased as follows:
If you don’t feel pain frequently enough, you’re probably not doing it right. (Either that otherwise you have a spectacular mental game.)
This is what i might call the “Pain Principle.“
Perhaps the 2 most classic samples of this are the following:
If you never get caught bluffing, you’re not bluffing enough.
If you never value-bet and lose, you’re not value-betting thinly enough.
playing strip poker
playing strip poker with mom
who is the artist behind the famous painting of “dogs playing poker”
dogs playing poker poster
playing pai gow poker
guys playing strip poker
The idea of those two examples is that the inherent inaccessible information of the sport , makes occasional losses inevitable and necessary if we hope to book a net convert the end of the day . If we will make, say, 2X with our successful bluffs while losing only X by our unsuccessful ones, it pays to bluff albeit we all know we are sure to lose sometimes. The crucial word here is important .
Monetary “pain” is important for our net success. We cannot make this extra profit without bluffing and that we cannot bluff without occasionally losing. there’s absolutely nothing we will do that last part! Similarly, with value-bets.
A high level violation of the “Pain Principle”
Many of you already know that. Some may even argue that this concept of “necessary pain” may be a bit out there and it doesn’t have any practical applications. this is often a really fair point. I would, however, invite you to require a better look by exploring a non-standard example from high-level Playing Poker.
In his recent post-mortem analysis of his match with Daniel Negreanu, Doug Polk gave a reasonably in-depth review of Daniel’s play.
Note: Doug also recorded a free video going over insights from the grudge match. check in for that exclusive $200/$400 review here.
The entire video is worth watching but there was a striking point which is extremely relevant to our discussion here.
One of Doug’s biggest constructive criticisms of Daniel’s play was that, during one stretch of the match, Daniel didn’t get stacked for something like 2,000 hands during a row. this means a significant lack of aggression that certainly impacts his bottom line.
Does that sound familiar? it’s like even a world-class player like Negreanu couldn’t avoid the temptation to mitigate the proverbial “pain” from above. Whether consciously or not, Daniel may are trying to “do something” about variance!
Unfortunately for him, unless one is facing a weaker opponent, HUNL isn’t the sort of format that one can play “small ball Playing Poker” and control the action or the dimensions of the stacks. Especially when facing a world-class heads-up specialist like Polk.
The only way one can have an opportunity is by being as balanced as possible across the board. This not only implies taking various lines in various spots but also implementing bets with all kinds of sizes and with relatively high frequencies. This includes overbets and in fact shoves either as bluffs, value and a few hands in between! come short of that and one is now exposing themselves to an entire new level of hurt.
Moral of the story
Although arguably a number of the small print are simplified to form the purpose concise, the key idea remains: there’s an unavoidable amount of “pain” (both in life and in poker) and there’s absolutely nothing we will do to bypass it.
We can either accept this relatively small discomfort or risk inflicting ourselves a good larger amount of it by trying to avoid it. Of course, this is often easier said than done. Regardless, there’s still value in articulating something before we start implementing it so we will a minimum of have a transparent vision to guide us.