Friday, October 01, 2004

I'm not a very good poker player.

I'm not a very good poker player.

Which is not to say I'm not a profitable poker player. I'm quite profitable. But I still don't think that means I'm good.

It's like the defense people use online when someone complains about a suck-out. One player says "You're a terrible poker player." The inevitable response is "Yes but I have more money than you." As if to imply "I'm winning this one particular game at this one particular moment, therefore the logical conclusion is that I'm a better player than you." That's a pretty silly conclusion to draw from what is essentially one hand of poker.

Just because I make money playing poker doesn't mean I think I'm a good player. I do think I am improving, and someday hope to be a good player, and am incredibly grateful that we have a game where I can make money at the same time as improving.

How do I make money even though I'm not good? Because being at a poker table is like being in a group of guys being chased by a bear. You don't have to be the fastest guy in the group, you just can't be the slowest.

One skill I have developed is quickly identifying who the fundamentally bad players are at the table, and figuring out how to separate them from their money. The only real flaw in this system is that if they are horrible players, you are fighting with the rest of the table for that money.

Now a fundamentally bad NL player is completely different from a bad limit player. A limit player can play badly for a long time on a small bankroll, and can catch enough cards to extend that time period. A bad limit player can even know he is a bad player and continue to play badly.

A fundamentally bad NL player must THINK he is good, but actually be bad. He must think he can make up for bad play with more aggression. He must think that he deserves every pot, and can take it with the appropriate bet. These are the true cash cows. This is how I make money at poker.

I can buy into a table and grind and grind my way to a profit. This is how the majority of my poker playing goes. But occasionally, even frequently, I run into these aquarium dwellers and make a big score. I love the buddy list system at Party Poker so that I can "run into them" a bit more often.

Another advantage at Party is that the lowest limit NL game you can play is $25 max buy in $.25/$.50 blinds. That's pretty high compared to most sites that offer a $.10 or $.02 blind game with a max buy in below $5. So the merely bad players cannot work on their game at these micro-levels. They must pony up a big $25 if they want to play. I have to assume that many of the 60,000 Party Players don't even know there are other sites with lower limits for them to play. The $50 minimum buy in amount at Party doesn't hurt either.

I hereby motion to delcare the official nickname of Party Poker and it's affilliates at Intertops and Empire be "The Aquarium." Heretofore, if anyone calls a poker site "The Aquarium" they shall be referring to Party Poker or an affiliate site.

So let it be done.

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