Saturday, 19 November 2011

Poker Epiphanies

Aha moments.
Eureaka moments.

If you came here based on the post title hoping to find a quick fix to spice up your game, you're going to be sorely disapointed. That's ok. I am too.

Until fairly recently, I scoured the internet, picked coaches' brains, dove into wells and scrutinzed videos waiting for that elusive ephiphany to smack me upside the head and turn me into a good player. Unfortunately it didn't happen, and I think I know why: Magic bullets do not exist.

We all want the quick fix. Do X = profit more. A cookie cutter response that we can implement now with immediate results. It's no wonder late night infomercials continue to thrive when even above average thinkers are looking for get rich quick formulas.

Poker, like most things in life, doesn't work that way. It's a puzzle you have to put together. You have to see the big picture. And some pieces don't fit - yet.

How many times have you opened a well thread and skimmed to the part where the OP states what concept turned them into a poker monster only to be left thinking "How is that an epiphany?" leaving the thread once again disappointed.

Their statement is still true - for them. For you it's not because what you're trying to glean from it is akin to pulling a single puzzle piece from the box, turning it over and over and wondering how is this supposed to be a horse standing in a pasture?

You're not looking at the big picture. When you start a puzzle, it's tough to figure where pieces go. You pick one up, try a few places, and usually put it back down planning to pick up later. But then as you progress it gets easier and easier to figure out where the next one goes and your success rate increases. And all of a sudden you fit the one key piece - eureka! - that watershed moment when you know where everything else goes and rapid fire them into place.

Your poker game growth is exactly the same. You need a base to build on and the more you understand, the easier it is to understand new concepts and how to implement them. Trying to track down poker epiphanies is a lost cause because you won't have the same moment as anyone else - you're putting the puzzle together differently than they did and your key piece will be different as well. You work on the 3bet part in the bottom left corner a bit, you work on postflop lines against TAGs over here a little bit, you work on hand reading in the top right corner, back to 3betting, join the postflop plan with the preflop plan, join the hand reading with the postflop lines and the range manipulation and all of a sudden you fit those few key concepts into your big picture. You step back wondering how you didn't see all of this before. It all makes sense now.

The path to poker enlightenment is not through finding the right piece to make everything clear. It is about working on your understanding piece by piece so that those eureka moments have the opportunity to occur.

Stop trying to have an aha! moment and have an aha moment!

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