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Emphasising on the “O” of GTO

Posted by Shashank Desai on 2019-04-10 at 4:02 AM

Hello Poker community,

Just thought of writing another one of these infrequent blogs, to try to pen down some thoughts, and to share some personal views with the ever growing, ever evolving community that makes us one.

Playing online poker is a great way to experience the game we all love, firsthand in the comforts of your home. It allows you to live by the schedule you deem fit. Grinding till 3 in the morning, waking up at 12 noon. Lest we forget the times we run deep in a big MTT. After a while, it takes a toll on you. You love it at first when you start, and you can’t have enough tournaments to register in. Running deep in tournaments is always a big mental boost. Imagine, all those endorpins rushing through your bloodstream when you flip for CL stack on the FT, and win! Sounds great as it may, do it day in and day out, and it slowly and stealthily creeps into your psyche as a “button click”. And that is when the equative part of the game ranks best. You might be looking for thrill of big pots, chip leads, and mega millions into your bank account the next day, but drop your shoulders for just 1 hand, and the dream seems to run away from you. Most would blame it on bad luck, bad RNG , bad blah blah blah (I did this so much that my fellas started calling me “crying baby”), but it is just variance. Pure and simple. You win some, you lose some. The idea is to minimize your loss to the opponent, and maximize your gains. Now this is no post advocating GTO. This is a post emphasising the “O” in GTO.

No matter what we do, on and off the tables, subconsciously, we’re looking for the best or the “optimal” way to do it. But when it comes to bad beats or coolers, that theory goes out the window. No matter how much we want to believe that we played well and lost, and that it might be profitable over a substantial number of equally-poised situations equity wise, generally we choose to accept the opposite. “I got sucked out, my freaking luck is so bad”. “Can I run any worse near the money?”

Recently, I had a lot of these situations, and not bragging, but I could accept those and move on to the next one. Like a regular should. After all, it happens.

That got me thinking, what if a player who plays within his BRM almost all the time still goes on to lose a major chunk of his roll after a beat? Or could it be 2 beats? What if 2 bad beats on 2 tables simultaneously? What is all the open tables in front of him give him a brick wall everytime they 3b? Do you go on a rampage in order to try and recover it all? Do you blame it on luck? Do you smash your device? Or, do you know that you played well, but lost and need to either adapt soon, or learn more to be able to handle this in a more “regular” manner?

I put regular in quotes there because I am a regular, I am no online professional or prodigy.

But I know my limits. And they stick with me everytime a situation like the one I mentioned above happens with me on the tables.

My last, big, total score was around 14L in the IOPC many millenia ago, where I did many FTs and best came 3rd in SHR. Since then, I haven’t had many big scores, but I’ve had regular sizeable ones, and there is definitely another one around the corner. 🙂

I used to love playing live. It has a different feel. But if I can’t perform well on the online felt where most of my volume is, I have no justifiable means to add an expense in the form of an itinerary to travel and play live.

My point being, every poker player wants to be able to perform equally in live games as much as they do online. And most of us take to online poker to be able to earn a cushion to afford live poker. Variance catches up with you in live games too. It’s just a little merciful attributed to the number of hands. So, this is a shoutout to all the regular grinders, who are trying to keep their dream alive, to win prestigious tournaments, to win sattellite packages, to be featured players, and to play the WSOP main after all and kick some butt, online poker is your bread and butter. This is your investment. More often than not, it’s harsh. Don’t punt it. Grind is always on.

Until the next time,

The grind continues…

Shashank Desai

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Shashank Desai

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