Saturday, 12 November 2011

Thoughts on becoming a dinosaur

As far as the average age of online poker players goes, I'm getting pretty old nearing 30. I'm sure there must be a bunch of guys my age that still play poker online but they generally don't seem to participate in the community as much and probably just go back to lurking. It kind of seems like once you've been around for a while, you lose a bit of interest in active participation and have some forum burnout so I'm holding out hope that it's not just the decrease in age related brain function that leads to the community being swamped by people born shortly before Justin Bieber and after I learned my multiplication table.

Several things got me thinking about this this week:
  • I have a Facebook account. I don't Facebook. Ever. People will call me and say "Where are you staying I left you a message." To which I respond, "No you didn't, I just checked my answering machine." To which they respond "facepalm.jpg." I find the entire concept frivolous. I'm a minority
  • I have a Twitter account. I've never tweeted anything. It's a bit of a paradox in that it doesn't have all the frivolty of FB, yet people's tweets are even more trivial than status updates. One day I will start using this once I figure out what I want to randomly say to the world.
  • I finally became curious about all those cartoon faces plastered around the forum and discovered Rage Comics. I've been reading them non-stop for 2 days. Funny stuff, but apparently there's this thing called reddit and I am the only person alive that has no idea what that's about yet.

So here are some things you have to look forward to as you pass a quarter century on the planet:
  • The music you listen to starts to stay the same. And your playlist slowly trickles into the classics sub-category.
  • If you're a video game addict and find anything at all to do instead for even 6 months, there's a very good chance you'll never go back.
  • You start to realize that your parents were a lot more right than you thought they were when you were younger. Don't worry, you still think they're wrong now.
  • You can keep up with the lingo since you're surrounded by people 33% younger than you but it just sounds lame when you try to use it.
  • You realize that you've become boring and logical and think back to how much fun it was to be an irrational idiot. But you can't go back to this either because you'll just look like you're trying too hard.
  • You mellow out. A lot. If you've got massive tilt problems, don't worry they will go from 3-10 outbursts per day to twice per week in a matter of 5 years.

If you play this game long enough:
  • Every decision in life becomes based on + or - EV. And then that progresses along with your game exploring flop and conversation lines thinking about what's going to happen on future streets to manipulate range and maximize expectation. And you learn how to avoid shitty spots. Learn to fold. Some things are better left unsaid.
  • If you manage to move up at all, the highs and lows aren't as extreme even though the variance is larger. You start to separate yourself from the money even though for the longest time it seems like its an impossible task. But one day you wake up and realize it hasn't bothered you in months even though you're breakeven. You're ecstatic about a $30 day at 2nl. After a while a +/- $300 day at 100nl is just meh. It happens shortly after you start to disregard the cost of buying something irl because it's only a big blind.

Thinking back to how I got into poker is quite interesting. I didn't really know anything about the game outside of hand rankings when I started playing freerolls but it's amazing how my personality, skill sets and interests all collide in this game. It has a mind of it's own and seeks out people that fit the criteria. I'm sure most winning players have some combinations of these and it's what keeps them interested. I'll list a few of them:

Creativity: I've always loved being creative whether it's coming up with new ideas like the ones I've submitted in the Stars software thread (one click popup color coding, sit out next bb and close this table, efficient no-rake or time added run it twice), my music as a classicaly trained pianist, or art (even though my skill here has dropped off dramatically).

Individual Competitiveness: I played sports in high school, but I really enjoyed relying on myself. I played on the varsity soccer team but had no use for playing anything but goal keeper where I was most separated from the team concept. I felt like it was just me vs the ball coming at me. I also hated group projects in school and didn't want to have to rely on other people's incompetence. I would do 5 times the work on my own project if it meant I could blow everyone else out of the water. Poker's like that, it's you against the world.

Analytical Problem Solving: The one subject I really enjoyed in school was math. Nerd, I know. And in particular if I could pick my classes, it would have always been statistics and probability with a small dose of algebra. Those word problems where "train A (40 mph) is travelling towards train B (25 mph) starting 40 miles apart, how long till they crash?" and 10 green, 5 blue, 7 purple marbles in a bag probability questions were the nuts. If only they knew they were preparing me for a life of profitable gambling.

Poker is quite a bit of all three: You're on your own in a highly competitive game. You have to be able to analyze situations quickly, putting the ever shifting concept puzzle together to create a window of opportunity as best and as fast as you can before Baluga Whale and AE &#%*$ Jones come along and blow the whole thing up again. And then the pieces don't fit in the correct places anymore and you come up with creative ways to make them fit somewhere else, or better yet, create your own custom pieces.

My one biggest downfall is that procrastination outweighs competitiveness. If you don't have the natural skill and rather need to learn in order to be competitive, this is what is going to stop you from becoming good at life and good at poker. I couldn't be bothered with soccer practice, give me games every day. I couldn't be bothered to review hands or watch videos, give me 24 tables every day. This has to change but I'm just not sure how.

This is a bit of a rambling post and I don't know if it's of interest to anyone out there, but I wanted to get this written down while I had a moment of clarity and felt like going on an analogy spree.

(That's probably the wrong face. I'm still learning.)


  1. Hey Dude, thats quite possibly the best blogpost of any blog I've read in the 12 months! glad you did get it down in a moment of clarity lol and fwiw I'm 46 and only been playing online for 2 years but this game is making me feel like a "spring chicken" btw should 46 yr olds be using the word dude??? :)

  2. 35 next time. poker blog since 2005. no differant than when i was 25 lol, and was still playing this bullshit game back then....though love it really.