Sunday, July 18, 2010

What Gets You Off? (poker, gambling, entertainment)

Now that I've been starting to play a lot more online poker again, and even doing some SnG grinding, I think I might write a couple more poker blog posts than before. As evidence of the hours of grinding I've been putting in, if I continue to play at the current rate I will make supernova on pokerstars just from July to the end of the year. Because of this, I've added a new "poker" label to the post labels so you can search for just poker-related stuff. Going back, I didn't realize I had written a bunch of stuff on poker on here before.

Most of us aren't professional poker players. Even if we have above average skill and are probably +EV players in the long run, we don't grind out the long run. We play an occasional cash game, an occasional tournament. We expect to do well, but often times just end up cursing out the bad beat we just took. Because we play for fun, I think we should figure out what maximizes our fun, and that might actually in turn maximize our profits.

So what gets you off when playing poker? Do you like to steal a lot of pots? Do you like to make big bluffs? Do you like tricking people into bluffing you? Do you like taking down a big starting hand with a bad starting hand? Do you like playing down the middle because you're one of those sticklers for rules and high card points (bridge pun)? Do you like to make the hero call? Or do you like to make the hero fold?

I believe that knowing what maximizes your enjoyment of the game and then choosing the right game situation for that will lead to more fun and more profits. If you want to steal pots, you should look for a table of nits. If you like to take down big starting hands, you should play deep stacked. Phil Hellmuth, for example, likes to get people to bluff into him and likes making the hero fold (masochist). But he'll frequently play online in a limit holdem game that just doesn't work out numbers-wise for that type of play.

So for the amateurs out there like me who are skilled but prefer to play for fun instead of grinding it out, I would recommend you look inside yourself and figure out what you're getting out of your poker. And if your tendencies turn out to be masochistic in nature, at least it's better to know it.

Another thing that's added to my enjoyment of poker is putting poker on tv while I play. Doesn't matter if it's high stakes, wsop, poker after dark, or the big game. I find that poker is a good thing to put on in the background to balance my concentration. And even if I do start paying attention to the tv a little more, it's ok because it still keeps me in the mindset of playing poker. I wonder if this is useful for other things as well. Perhaps having the food network on when cooking, or the DIY network when building something, or porn while having sex.


Memphis MOJO said...

I'm more of the ABC type player, although I can mix it up, too.

I guess in bridge terms, I'd rather play like Rodwell than Zia.

The Pretender said...


I understand that you are an ABC player, but the question that the post brings up is what brings you joy from being an ABC player? Are there specific types of plays that you employ more than others and makes your arsenal unbalanced? Or is money the only enjoyment factor for you and you feel ABC is the best way for you to achieve it?

Also, MOJO, I'm curious what others would say in response to this post, and I was wondering since you have much heavier poker-based traffic, if you wouldn't mind either copying it onto your site or linking to this post.

Dan said...

For some reason I seem to really enjoy lowball and razz. Something about my overly pessimistic nature (glass half-empty always!) seems to take extreme joy in drawing for crappy hands.

Jonathan Weinstein said...

I'm only an occasional poker player but I guess nothing beats having someone bluff into me and holding the nuts (or making a good call with a moderate hand.) Stealing can be fun, but I always have to wonder afterwards if I picked a clever spot to bluff or just got lucky.

You could ask the same question about bridge. I guess anytime I come up with a winning action that you couldn't possibly find by applying some standard "rules," it makes my day. The "Unusual sacrifice" entry from a few weeks ago on my blog is a good example.

Memphis MOJO said...

I got a view blog readers to comment on this topic. You can see what they said here.