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Introduction

 

You, The Machine

Think about a computer program of the future or maybe some great "intelligent" invention descended from today's software. Suppose you had such a program running on an equally advanced computer, playing poker for you in a $20-$40 holdem poker game, which went around the clock. Obviously, the program would use highly complex artificial intelligence, observing and listening to the other players with the computer's advanced audio and video probabilities, always considering the best play based on all available information.

While you play at home, the computer start with a $30000 bankroll would play always with highly advanced level of "skill." Because it would play better than any human it could be expected to achieve an hourly rate of more than two big bets per hour, the accurate rate determined by how tough the game was over time.

Many intellectual players would see such situation as a guarantee of making good amount of money over time. There are also periodic downswings, but they would always be surmounted. This would be a "sure thing" if there was ever one.

Now imagine that although you spend most of the time in other considerations, you could, any time, turn on a monitor and check in how your computer was advancing in the game. Suppose the computer has been playing for several months, and has created something close the expected profit for that time period. You can check any time and learn that the computer was drawn out on by a player who had only two outs. It has sustained a $960 downswing over the last some hours, having been similarly drawn out on several times and after missing number of draws of its own. Are you disappointed with it? Many players would answer something like, "Obviously not. That computer will simply keep playing and finally win than any other player in the game."

Still many of them become angry and feel dejected when they sit through a similar downswing during their own play. For many players are affected by this play, only making matters worse. You should realize that as long as you continue to play correctly, given the information available to you, you are really quite similar to the computer. You are not much skilled so your hourly rate will be lower but as long as you have sufficient bankroll and play the games in which you have a positive expectation, you will win most of the time just like the computer. The other time when you are stuck or have lost back a good win then think yourself as a computer, playing on, playing correctly more number of hands in a game that never ends. If you are good enough to win, you will win most of the time. Poker is a sophisticated game and so do not force yourself by going on tilt in respect to the variations in the cards.

Danger in the Goal of Winning

Apart from skill, the big advantage of the computer program I said above is that it serves only one purpose: To play correctly. That's all it does. It is incapable of tilt. It doesn't try to get, it doesn't get mad and try to beat a particular player, and it doesn't worry about losing back a win. It has professional attitude to the inhuman degree.

Though you are human, by adopting the professional attitude to the level that you can, you can separate yourself from the poker crowd. Only few players like it. Perhaps the big problem to it arises from what is for most players the very essence of poker: Winning and losing. Many players see a poker a game of competition, a game they try to win. Only one small step further, and winning becomes their primary winning (in the short term) they satisfy themselves with what they hope will happen in the future. Yet they are consistently faced with the decisions in the present. Furthermore, it is their handling of those decisions which determines their long run results. This main focal point has gone astray.

Of course many serious players want to win in the long run. There's no need to ignore your reason for sitting down at the poker table to start with, but don't get confused with your long and short term goals. Focusing your attention strongly on winning in the short-term will encourage tilt and further destroy your results.

If you do not believe me then for an hour of your play stop thinking about the decisions you face at the poker table. Do not assess your options as you play each hand. Put those things out from your mind. Shift your focus instead to your desire to win as early as possible in the particular session. You want to win each pot every time you play the game. Put your mind completely and exclusively on winning the pot. Now, how well do you think you will play during this hour? I can tell you I don't like your chances.

Though, some players take their minds that far off their playing decisions. I hope that thing is clear that it is actually only on the objective assessment of those decisions that your mind follows as you play.

The Golden Key

We will see one main feature of the professional attitude: The awareness of the need to focus not on short term results but on the quality of play. This is the golden key to a good poker. Made possible to the elements mentioned above, in relation to the focus will help maximize your hourly rate and give you with great immunity to tilt. When your attention is fully focused in this way, you do not think, "Oh, God, she drew out on me again! Now I'm stuck so bad it'll be a miracle if I get even." You think, "She was semi-bluff with her flush draw. I think I charged her as much as I could by raising on the turn. Was there are any much better way to play it? Next hand."

You don't think, "I'm fed up with getting stuck. I'm going to play this little suited connector even though it may not be correct in this place. Perhaps I win a big pot." You think, "Not profitable here so I'll fold."

Hence, while your long term goal of winning remains, you focus mainly on playing well. Playing well or correctly means making more money as much as possible most of the time. So it is interconnected with winning in the long run. It makes more sense to think of your decision in regard to the monetary expectation or "expected value" (EV), to use recent Internet parlance. You always struggle to make decision which will average the profit in the long run, but that is not thinking about winning by itself. It is also not thinking about competition, or victory or defeat. It is analyzing decisions.

I would also recommend that you will do best is you can just put winning out of your mind as you play. For a time being just forget about your long term goal. Put it aside and concentrate only about your play. Make playing well, playing to increase EV, your only aim at the poker table.

There are many skilled players whose results at poker are comparatively poor only because they are out of touch with the professional attitude. They get caught up in concerns over having winning sessions, go on tilt and their judgment becomes weakening over a long period. Paradoxically, there are less skilled players who do better at the game only because they maintain the professional attitude every now and then.

If you have any difficult with emotion affecting your play, try shifting your focus away from short term results to the quality of your play. Work on your confidence with poker theory. Remember that short term fluctuations of all sorts are predictable. Analyze your and your rivals play. Once the professional attitude is at the normal state at the table, you will be tilt resistant. Furthermore, your mental strategy will be intentionally focused where it will do you the good - on the decisions which evaluate your long term profits.

Continue Here: Judgment Of Making Profitable Decision

 

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