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The Ability to Counter Inability.

Posted by Sangeeth Mohan on 2016-04-02 at 12:00 AM

Poker is a skill game and it can technically be taught to anyone. Yes, you take a lifetime to master and all that jazz still exists. But what is Poker Greatness.

According to me poker has a lot more to do with knowledge of tendencies than anything else. We can identify villain tendencies, make a note of it, come to logical conclusion on what to do with that information. (Very often its as easy as, Ok, when he sizes this it’s the nuts and I should fold). However many people fail at this stage.

The inability to act on information after clearly knowing what the right thing to do is what stops you from taking the next step. Unfortunately, this incapability mostly comes out during downswings which will make a player feel that its coz he aint catching cards.. But its not true. Yes, you are losing a sizeable portion of your roll to a downswing but if u go back and check your hand history you would know that bad calls or shoves cost you much more than the bad run.

Now let’s just break this issue down to see what we can do to change it.
Why are you in this spot more often than you like?
Why are you incapable of doing what’s logical?
The answer to both these question will be more or less the same, depends on which way you look at it.
You are in a spot where you see yourself making decisions which defy logic is because :
1. You are extremely irritated/pissed at someone.
2. You are tired
3. You are stressed
4. You want to get even.
5. You want to win back the money I lost immediately
6. Money makes you emotionally involved.
7. You can’t differentiate between chips on a poker table and money.

To come out of this situation, the first question you need to ask yourself is “Do I have enough money to be playing emotion free poker”. Emotion free is the key here.

Let me give you a real life example. I started my career off as a tournament pro and then ventured into cash games. I had difficulty in adjusting to cash than a lot of other players because in tournaments the chips don’t have value and in cash games that’s not the case. It took me time but then it did happen eventually.
What helped me was moving down stakes. I used to play all high buy in tournaments and naturally started off playing bigger cash games which was a mistake. I wasn’t comfortable losing 50k in a pot.
But when I moved down stakes, pots were much smaller; I was a lot more comfortable with the stakes. I was able to neglect loses or tilt and I was playing my A game all the time. Eg: I was still able to fold KJdd from the sb to an EP raise.

For everyone playing online, my first piece of advice is to move down limits. If 20-50 or 50-100 isn’t working for you don’t shy away from playing 10-20 and building confidence. Remember, if you are doing BRM right, you don’t need to earn from poker to pay your rent next month. You can easily be stuck for a few months and not worry about it.

The importance of taking breaks is under estimated in poker. A lot of books say that “If you say that you are taking a break when you are running bad, you are doing something wrong”. No you are not. Decision making is what this game is about. If you cant make correct decisions you NEED A BREAK. Yes, making the right play over and over again will definitely profit you in the long run. However, I am taking about ability. If downswings affect your ability to make that right decision, TAKE A BREAK.

May the Flop be with you.


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Sangeeth Mohan

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