Sunday, 4 December 2011

Strategy Distribution

I was recently reading a post in SSFR by vini about "strategy strategy" and it really got me thinking. His general thesis as I understand it is that you should look out for the well being of your own bottom line since this game is all about winning money -- and in the process the collective bottom line of current winning regs -- and because of this ultimate goal, we should all stop posting strategy.

For the past few years I've posted a significant amount of HH thread strat and have generally thought of it as an overall positive activity for all those involved:
  • I like helping people and have a tough time staying away from an unanswered question (emotional, personality).
  • I have literally no one to discuss the intricacies of my passion with in real life and find online strat discussion to be an outlet for that (emotional).
  • I subscribed to the notion of "owing" something back to the community (sense of gratitude).
  • I like to receive confirmation that my own thought process is correct (+$).
  • I saw it as a win/win in that players playing lower would improve and win more for themselves, while at the same time moving money up the ladder and being able to become regs that I could take money from in my games. (+$).
So there's definitely real monetary positives to posting strategy and I can acknowledge that the non-montary positives aren't really necessary if we're thinking rationally and logically about our ultimate goal. But the question is: Is there a better way to accomplish the +$ parts of strat discussion?

Out of 6k+ posts, I've posted at most 10 of my own hands as I'm pretty paranoid that the questions I want to ask give way too much insight into my thought process. I've also found that a lot of the creative lines I like to take get flamed because it's difficult to explain exactly what's going on with the dynamic in a thread vacuum and would give very specific reads to some regs reading it. I'm pretty careful about posting 95% of my strat in threads for stakes lower than where I'm playing to accomplish the win/win but I'm starting to think that maybe those players are going to end up in the same place anyways and I'm unecessarily posting.

And then there's the whole issue with posting in a public forum. Regs do the vast majority of the work coming up with new strategy based off of the work that other regs have done in the past. I think this is where the "giving back" feeling comes in. But the fact is it's still out there for the whole lurking world to take for free and use against you. I sometimes find myself posting some detailed explanation of a certain concept, clicking submit, and then thinking to myself, "Why are you just giving away this concept that took you 2 months to figure out?" I am easily the the user with the highest edited post ratio on the forum. I honestly believe that the generally well written and detailed concept of the week series has had a massive impact on the ridiculous change in game dynamic in micro stakes games.

I'm still on the fence with this. It's really hard to break a habit. On the one hand I still just plain enjoy being able to discuss strategy with a large group of people and a wide range of ideas. On the other hand maybe it's better to just post on subscription based sites that have private forums where the players are generally already going to be good anyways and the nominal costs keep some of the lurking world out.

I imagine I'll just go with the flow. It's kind of a reverse bandwagon effect where no one jumps off because no one else has yet. We'll have to see if enough people are influenced by posts like vini's to make not posting standard. I imagine that's what will eventually happen. Every other trend else has trickled down from mid to small to micro stakes. Remember all of those great thinkers posting tons of strat in the middle of the last decade? I was quick to attribute their mass disappearance to the forum split, but now I think they just came to all of these conclusions a long time ago.

My last few blog posts have probably seemed trending towards this somewhat pessimistic discussion. To put it in context from my perspective: I'm still relatively optimistic about my place in this game for the next while after emerging from running worse than I ever thought possible over 14 months with my thought process virtually intact. But the thought of games getting tougher, and contributing to that, when your long term confidence hasn't fully recovered for the mediocre to above average reg who has less and less time to keep up with the perpetually increasing learning curve is a real cause for concern.


  1. I've read a quite a few books on motivation and the main motivator for becoming good at something isn't outside motivators like money or fame, motivation comes from intrinsic factors. If you give yourself a pat on the back after playing a focused session of 4-6 tables instead of 10+ then you will build the habit to grow and grow.

    I don't know your situation or if you need to grind for a living but maybe tabling down and moving up is needed to fully start exploiting the regs.

    Reading your post it does seem that you became a bit discouraged from the break even streak you had. Remember to stay in the moment and enjoy this game.

    Glad you hit Supernova BTW.

  2. PS: This is one of the best poker blogs out there.