"I never say anything quotable."
-- Mike Paulle
Previously I've written about the self-destructive tendencies of many players, particularly online, where they seek to blame black
helicopters and endless demons for their inability to win. Instead of "just bad luck" or blaming the
dealers like many casino players do, online there are
unseen forces at work, including such mundane things as flaky Internet service providers, where players can make excuses for their
lack of ability, study and commitment by blaming various fairies.
I'm not out to debunk those fantasies. Multiple software programs exist which track card distribution, strength of winning hands,
success levels of opponents, etc. If someone still wants to insist the earth is flat, or that we didn't go to the moon, fine. Let
them live with their fantasies. Proving the earth is not flat for the zillionth time is a waste of air.
Windows - Mac
What is valuable to explore though is the fact that these people do in fact exist, and are playing poker online and in casino tournaments
in record numbers. The synergy of old world media (poker on TV)
with the cyberage convenience of online poker has brought forth an avalanche of new poker players, including many who play very poorly
but will refuse to their dying day to admit it.
The poor play online is at epidemic proportions. If someone thinks online games are tough, either they don't play very well or they
practice hideously bad game selection. The higher
limit games (and some mid-limit ones too) and multitable tournaments now include a lot of excellent, experienced players who have
worked hard to make their game into a winning game.
In contrast, many newbies think they can just show up and win. Woody Allen said 90% of life is just showing up. That is not true of
poker. In fact, without skill, hard work and discipline,
"just showing up" is a direct path to losing.
Excuses are easier to create than discipline, which is why we see so many of the former and so little of the latter.
One goofball online theory is the
"cash-out-then-lose" scenario. Despite the basic concept being preposterous (why would a site cause you to lose after
you have taken most of your money away?) parroting this nonsense simply betrays a lack of understanding of fundamentals of the game --
especially those involving weaker players. Many of these weak players tend to cash out after they hit a
rush, so when they "regress to the mean"
how can they be surprised? If a person is a break even player (or worse), and they start with $400, and they withdraw $600 after they go
on a rush, well... to be a breakeven player they need to lose everything they have left to break as close to even as they can.
Besides "regressing to the mean", many players end up playing scared money after they cash out. They try to play $5/10 on
a $300 bankroll. If you keep cashing out any amount over $300, you will lose the $300 at some point. You must. Poker is a game
of fluctuations. Even the best winning player will have major negative fluctuations.
But we aren't even talking about the best here. Even those players who fixate on booking winning sessions only win about 75% of the
time. So now a person cashes out and what happens next... having a losing session for even the best players should be common.
But when it comes to mediocre, breakeven players, they should expect to lose half the time or so after they cash out, like they lose
half or so of the time in any case. Now, how odd is it for this person to lose *two* times in a row (eating into their artificially
small bankroll)? The answer is, it isn't odd at all for a person who wins 50% of their sessions to have two or three losing sessions
in a row, and just after they had one or more winning sessions to boot. If you cash out, the next session that you play you will
either win or lose. Why does it surprise people when they lose? Basically, some people complain that they had a good session before
they have a bad session!
That is the way poker works. Fortunately many players can't deal with it. So if you track your online opponents, consider tracking
when they win two days in a row, and look to go after them the following day -- when they may be playing on a short bankroll,
obsessing about the black helicopters of a cashout curse. Watch the chat for comments involving cashouts. Give a person who likes
making excuses an excuse for making a new excuse.
See also Poker Bankroll,
Money Management and