Monday, March 18, 2013

Game's the same, just got more fierce

Poker blog, entry 232. Yeah that's right, I ain't retired yet…

While I haven't been playing high stakes poker competitively since Black Friday, I still have been playing some poker - primarily in the form of micro and small stakes training videos for DC. These videos have me building my bankroll from scratch as I work out all the leaks in my game acquired from disengaging my brain from the dailyness of thinking and obsessing about hand histories, 3bet percentages, and which avatar suits my screenname best (clown, long may he reign). What I like about these videos is that they've allowed me to open up a dialogue with other players at these levels, where they can help critique my game and follow along as someone with a lot of experience approaches sharpening his skills in the modern era of online NLHE. 

OK, so what skills am I sharpening right now? On DC there has been a lot of geeky discussion led by a group of super smart poker minds - blah234, improva, shuttle, and sthief - in a new poker theory forum that's been created. These dudes are working on applying a GTO approach to their game, which really intrigues me as it seems like a) this is where the best players are headed and b) applying math and theory to my decision making has always been the weakest part of my game. Lately I've found that I'm making too many wild guesses about my opponent's ranges and blah has pointed out repeatedly that guesswork is a losing proposition and the GTO approach could give me exact answers.

So in the coming months I'm going back to school and attempting to unlearn all my old habits, replacing them with a new foundation born from mathematics. Since I can't spend 8 hours/day doing this, it's going to be a long, tough road... but I plan to simultaneously chart my path in an extensive video series on DC (where I'm under the tutelage of blah) in order to help others who might also dare to remake their game. In the end, I think this will provide a sweet guide for players who might find this stuff interesting but are also intimidated by all the math and work away from the tables. And I think it will make me a deadlier player than I ever was, even at my peak.

For awhile before Black Friday I felt like I had hit a ceiling in terms of achievements, but these days I'm older and wiser and realize that poker is a game that's miles deeper than most people think. The challenge of mastering it over the course of my lifetime is something I now relish, and knowing that challenge lies ahead has done a lot to renew my passion for playing cards. So that's where I'm at and where I'm going - I'm rethinking poker, and I hope to have more frequent thoughts to share as I continue to do so.