Monday, December 11, 2006

Why I Lose at Poker

The last day and a half of online poker has consisted of five or six tournaments with a single minor cash, so generally downward. But that's not the point of this post. Neither is it going to be as morbid as my last post. In fact, it's actually going to have some poker content.

I've been struck many times over the last year, mostly live, that I usually know more about the game than most of my opponents, which by rights should mean that I entirely crush the game whenever I sit. And yet I almost always fail to do so. And I've been wondering for some time why this should be the case. In a flash of understanding last night, I got it: My game has some pretty big leaks.

I'm not going to catalogue my leaks here. Probably I don't know about all of them, or maybe even most of them. But that's not the point; the point is that they're there, and my next period of paying attention to my game should be focussed on finding those leaks and eliminating them rather than learning new concepts.

If I devise an example to show this, imagine that you can perfectly figure double-reverse semi-implied super-pot odds in a three-way pot on the turn with a pair on the board and three flush cards, but you also raise preflop every single hand. Your amazing poker knowledge and skill isn't going to save you from losing your ass every time you sit down. That's the position I'm in, although I'm not that good, or that bad. It's probably amazing that I have clawed my way back to small-winner territory with as many leaks as I have, but the simple fact is that I have a long way to go to eliminate those leaks.

Now, here's another question: How do I go about identifying what those leaks are? I have a couple of ideas along those lines, and maybe the ideas I have happen to be about my biggest leaks, but they aren't very profound. Well, I guess the point of this part of my education is that they're not supposed to be profound. But how do I identify others? Gil isn't much use to me along those lines because we're at about the same skill level; he doesn't crush the games, either. I'm also having a lot of trouble coming up with any regulars at the casinos I play at that I (a) respect enough and (b) get along with well enough that I would consider asking them. I therefore feel somewhat stuck in identifying further leaks. Suggestions welcome.


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