Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wits End

I'm on the verge of letting this thing die. Though I've had some false starts towards making posts, grand ideas even, it's just not happening.

Part of it is work and life throwing up relative distractions (looked at more properly, the blog is the distraction of course, but this after all is on the blog so we'll pretend the order makes sense).

A large part of it is poker sucking for me. I've staunched the wounds and am no longer bleeding big losses, but it's been a long time since I've had a big win.

This game is very dangerous to people like me who are naturally intrigued by it.

It invites obsession.

Yet even if you understand it at a relatively deep level, you may always lack one or other of the things that will let you really succeed over time. You can get the math, but lack the aggression. You can have both of those but fall victim to tilt. You can lock up that troika and yet still lack the humility to seek competition you can beat rather than the kind that will, eventually, beat you senseless.

I would talk about this like it's something I've just realized, but in fact I think I saw it long ago. I will never be as good at poker as I want to be, and not by a long shot.

I compare this to how I am at the sub-species of legal engineering that is what I do. I might be delusional, but I believe I am among the elite at that obscure expertise--maybe not a Phil Ivey but arguably a Phil Laak.

At poker, I am comparatively pathetic. And it galls me. But the question at some point must emerge, should I care? I don't need poker (and poker certainly doesn't need me). It's not a release from a dull existence--I like my day job, it's fascinating to me if to few others, and it rewards me with challenging problems and decent remuneration.

Why then have I donated over 10% of my waking hours for the past two years to this game? It certainly is not for the money. My life time earn rate over several thousand hours hovers pretty firmly at around $2/hour. I can pat myself on the back for beating the rake and the tips, but that's pretty sad.

And yet, I am not even sure I have the willpower to just up and quit. But even if I did, is that the right move? I mean, I clearly get a lot out of this game. If I didn't, I wouldn't keep on playing despite the occasional back-alley beating it gives me. So what to do?

I think I am no longer shooting to move up and on, to be better than the rest. Rather, I want to get out of this game what I can, and that I think is the joy of a challenging hobby. I do want to continue to get better. I want to understand my own limitations, work on those that can be worked on and accept those that can't.

More importantly, when I play this game I want to play it because it's fun. When it is not fun, I don't want to play it. Because at the end of the day, I can think of nothing sadder than for me to sit there and click away, not even enjoying the ride.

Oh this blog. I should post more, I know.

4 Comments:

At Sun Sep 10, 07:05:00 AM 2006, Blogger katitude said...

Excellent post Sox....you raise a lot of questions I'm struggling with as well.

In the words of the Clash, should I stay or should I go now?

 
At Sun Sep 10, 10:52:00 AM 2006, Blogger DuggleBogey said...

I've always said "if you don't know if you should quit or not, you probably should."

What is it that you lack that you think you need to be a winning player over time, and what do you think is special about those that have it?

I never thought of "not being aggressive enough" as "I don't have it in me to be more aggressive." It's just been a different philosophy, one that I can learn to adopt.

To me it's a game of intelligence. If you are more intelligent than your opponents, then you have the capability to be better.

Unless they get lucky.

 
At Tue Sep 12, 11:46:00 AM 2006, Blogger StatikKling said...

"More importantly, when I play this game I want to play it because it's fun. When it is not fun, I don't want to play it. Because at the end of the day, I can think of nothing sadder than for me to sit there and click away, not even enjoying the ride."

This is very true. I know that I will never be a pro player, I know what I should be doing, I just don't do it. (notes, pay attention.. blah blah..)

I'm now in the mind set that I am playing for fun, not money. I realize that whne someone hits thier 3 to 1 outterm that that was the % that I am supposed to lose..

I'd love to say that my play has gotten better since the summer classic, but I do not think it has. I get too distracted.. bored when I play one table. That block there will always keep me from doing better.

---

But in the long run, you should do what is best for you. If that means not playing for a while, or forever, you need to be true to yourself.

 
At Tue Sep 19, 09:11:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha, he thinks he's a good lawyer, lol....

-katm

iggles rule!!

 

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