Friday, 30 September 2011

At a loss for words...

In true blogger fashion, I'm going to write a post in stark contrast to my last. A flip-flop as they would say.

I was feeling the best about my game that I ever have as of last week. I still am, theoretically speaking, although numb would be more appropriate right now. In the time since then I have gone through yet another cruel stretch of attempting to navigate the random 2 pair / backdoor gutshot mine field and failed miserably.

  • Preflop: find a target.
  • Flop: aim.
  • Turn go (all)-in for the kill.
  • River: KABOOM!

The resulting carnage:

I'm really starting to question exactly how much of this game is luck and how much is skill and if anyone actually has any idea what their "longterm winrate" is or has even glimpsed the long term itself. I thought I had after my first 1.5 million hands. How wrong I was.

I am fairly confident that you can at least breakeven at a fairly high level if you're not a retard simply because there are so many complete retards playing still, and yeah games are getting stupidly difficult due to the dirt cheap dissemination of training videos and ebooks that should be running at $200+/month and $1k+ per book based on the value of the info (nevermind them being disseminated at no cost in some way or another over the internet), but  you should be able to theoretically make some money if you use half your brain. Thankfully this proves I'm at least not a retard.

But when you pit all of the theory that you have learned from forums, training videos, studying, coaching and high priced e-books against the amount of variance which is apparently possible over a million hands, it is starting to look to me like skill doesn't stand a chance.

You are at the mercy of the RNG.

Now I don't mean to say that online poker is rigged. My analytical 2+2 brainwashing has taught me that is a blasphemous statement unless we're being Cereus. But I think most people that have not been in a position to experience the extremes of the variance bell curve do not have a clue as to what is actually possible. Perhaps I'm just a ridiculously unlucky outlier in the grand scheme of things, but how do any of the top winners playing midstakes or higher after 500k lifetime hands know that they're actually winners and not just on a relatively short term massive heater -- ridiculously lucky outliers?

I know there's a ton of other variance not accounted for in AIEV such as hand stetups and coolers and the amount of the time you hit or dodge draws before getting all-in and how many sets you don't bink on the turn. But I still think AIEV is a fairly significant measure over very large sample sizes and it's certainly better than nothing.

I've used several different coping mechanisms over the past year+ to deal with this, the three most prominent being:
  • My entire poker 'carreer' has been one massive freeroll off other peoples' money.
  • I'm playing "correctly" enough to theoretically win Sklansky$.
  • They say I'm going to wake up one day and this bad run will all be over (tick... day 428).

Those reasons are beginning to sound like some fairly weak sauce compared to the shitload of work I've put into improving. I don't really know where I'm going to go from here. I'm still putting in the volume and am going to try to grind out Supernova one more time by the end of December (barring ending up busto). Out of the three years that I will have made it, this has been by far the most difficult, including my first time which ended with me 24 tabling 100NL right through December to the 31st.

But if my stupid luck doesn't start to improve to somewhere near average over the next 250k hands, I think I'm going to say gg next year. I don't need the headaches and energy strain of putting in hours of study and analysis only to be led down the high stress path of demoralizing 80/20 loss one after another.

The Great Divergence
I've read a few other blogs from some well known players who have gone through 400k+ hand breakeven / downswings and have gone on to do very well once they snap out of it. That is my motivation right now. If it doesn't work out, I'm not going to sweat it.

This was a fairly long post so I guess I wasn't really out of words... more like almost out of rope.

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