Friday, November 04, 2005

The enigma of gambling

I think a lot of poker players have a lot of gamble in them. Even very good poker players.

I'm not sure how people arrive at poker playing as their game of choice, but I think many of us wandered into a poker room while gambling in a casino at other table games. I doubt people go right from slots to poker, as it seems very intimidating from that perspective.

My personal fascination with Hold Em came from the broadcast of Phil Hellmuth's WSOP final table on TV. Even before hole card cams and fancy screen graphics, Hold Em was an enthralling game for me. But I also had a lot of interest in other gambling games. First blackjack, then roulette and eventually craps. But once I started playing poker, all other games faded from interest.

But I think there's an interesting enigma to gambling. Non-gamblers think that people who gamble a lot are WEAK. They are feeding an addiction, and it is definitely a BAD thing. That can absolutely be true about poker.

But what non-gamblers don't understand is that being a winning player requires exactly the OPPOSITE of that addictive behavior. They don't understand that being a profitable player means playing within your abilities, within your bankroll and within your tolerances. In fact, playing poker requires a TREMENDOUS amount of DISCIPLINE.

The last thing that comes to mind when you think of gamblers is discipline. Even poker players don't inspire thoughts of a well regimented personality. A lot of this is because poker players value their ability to deceive, so much so that they don't physically betray their discipline.

Some poker players I know are also some of the most disciplined people I know. Take a look at some of the charts, graphs and spreadsheets that players post online, and you'll see what I'm talking about. These aren't the type of people that throw thousands of dollars around on a whim. These are disciplined people who are willing to assume an acceptable amount of risk if they have an potential advantage.

Some poker players don't have this discipline, and that's why you hear about bustouts, or the occasional "I got carried away when I started with $1 blackjack bets on Party Poker," or "I blew all my winnings at the Craps table." It's a temporary, or sometimes indicative lapse in discipline. When people talk about "tilt" they are talking about lapses in discipline. The ability to control tilt is one of the most valued lessons in poker experience. Keep your discipline.

It's a very important, if not THE MOST important characteristic of a successful poker player.

EasyCure Rules

I made a comment in EasyCure's blog about how cool his licence plates are, and he made me this:

goberude

That is freaking awesome.

9 comments:

leathej1 said...

Oh, and mine isn't cool because I made it 4 years ago?

http://www.scaffadaffa.com/blog/archives/hd_kbase2.jpg

DuggleBogey said...

No, yours isn't cool because you didn't tell me how to do it then.

Greedy bastard.

MVilla888 said...

No problem...and I think I would edit one minor point on your post (which is very good btw)....

...playing SOLID & InTELLIGENT poker requires a tremendous amount of discipline...

there are a ton of players that think they know how to play poker from watching it on TV, but have no real idea about the game...hell, I've been playing for about 18 months and learn something new all the time, and I only play hold'em...let alone getting into other variants. I'm just glad the donkeys exists in such numbers so even a novice like me with a bit of discipline can make a nice casual bankroll from them.

Slimeface said...

I find your post on "The enigma of gambling" a refreshing reminder. You can never be too attentive of this fact of poker/life. Cool tag!

Beck said...

...and yet Ted Forrest and Phil Ivey routinely drop over $100k at the craps tables...

TripJax said...

Duggle,
Knowing you don't link others too often, I just wanted to drop by and say thanks for the link up. I appreciate it.

I was telling my wife the other day I think I am more disciplined with - and keep better records of - my poker bankroll versus my "liferoll." I have so many aspirations for my bankroll and what I will do with it, that it almost becomes an overwhelming force to keep a very disciplined record of what I do. Meanwhile, I keep my "liferoll" in order, but it's just a little less exciting.

Great post man...

...and by the way...I first decided I would take poker to the next level when I watched the 2002 WSoP with Hellmuth and Varkony. That's when it went from a once every 3 months event to a passion of sorts...

Elvis Henry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DuggleBogey said...

In my experience, most people who claim to be less than 1/4 of a race are almost always 100% full of shit.

And I think people who think it matters that they are whatever fraction of whatever race are not worth much anyway.

But to answer your question, none that I know of. Or care to know of.

Drizztdj said...

The license plates sure are purdy.

I started playing after final tabling in a MTT Stud tourney at Canterbury Park card room.

About 3 months later Moneymaker won and now there's maybe 3 Stud tables out of 40 there.