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Author Topic: There and Back Again: A Punter's Tale by Matthew Harris  (Read 140733 times)
Rexas
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2013, 04:54:23 PM »

GPS Leg One and the poker stigma.

So, after a days sleep, I feel ready to write my second proper blog entry. Over the weekend, I played my first ever tour event in Star City, Birmingham. Before I get on to the tournaments, I feel I have to talk about the place. The casino itself is wonderful, the service was mostly good and the staff/dealers did a fantastic job. I felt more at home than I ever thought I would, and found it pretty easy to settle into a rhythm and feel comfortable at the tables. Big thumbs up to Genting Smiley

The tournament itself went really well. I had a little ego problem at one point (Which Simon Deadman was on the receiving end of, sorry matey :p) where I made a play and showed the bluff, and spent the next half hour being annoyed with myself for letting my ego get the better of me. Thankfully, it was close to the end of the day, and we had a break just after, so it didn't have too much of an effect. I made day 2 with somewhere around double the average stack, and played really well all day (barring a play where my bet sizing on the river was embarassingly bad, put the guy on pretty much his exact hand and just levelled myself into a bad bet). That aside, I felt very comfortable, played some hands that I was very happy with, and overall feel encouraged that I could make a decent impact at some future events. I ended up running into someone who picked up AA two hands in a row, then made a BB squeeze with all of my remaining chips with A6, succumbing to KQ after a Q on the flop. I finished 28th for £1020, which I can't really be disappointed with as an entrance to the tour, although I guess we always hope for more.

The big story of the weekend, however, was Adiman, a member of the loughborough crew who took down the side event for a tidy £6.8k, his biggest tournament win to date. Made some great decisions all weekend, finally starting to get some of the results that his standard of play deserves, well played matey!

I want to talk about an issue that I'm sure everyone here has come across at various points in their poker career. Some members of my family insist that poker is never a viable career option, that it is gambling and a game where luck prevails. I don't even think of myself as a gambler. I have never played roulette, I have very little understanding of blackjack, have never played a slot machine, and only occasionally play back at a three bet with  three diamonds Wink. I have tried many times to explain the concepts of E.V., of bankroll management, and of the sheer amount of skill that is involved in the decision making process that makes us long term winning players. I am constantly amazed by the amount that people claim to know about a game they have never played, and how they feel they can judge my life decisions as confidently as they seem to.

This subject has come to my mind after a recent experience with a tutor at my university, when I was trying to explain that I wanted to switch a module to give me the freedom to travel to three day events and play the friday session. After explaining this, I was met with the following response. "First of all, I would like you to understand that poker is not a career, it is just gambling." As I was readying a response, I was struck by the notion that I didn't need to get involved in this conversation. People very rarely seem to leave arguments with a different view point, or indeed in a positive frame of mind. All I could think was that trying to combat this statement would not achieve anything. I would leave feeling frustrated, and the tutor would leave with exactly the same opinion, and a rather more negative one of me. The stigma is something that I have come to accept as a player, and I would much rather let my bank balance defend my stance.
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kinboshi
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 05:04:56 PM »

I don't even think of myself as a gambler. I have never played roulette, I have very little understanding of blackjack, have never played a slot machine, and only occasionally play back at a three bet with  three diamonds Wink.

I used to think the same.  But poker IS gambling, even though you can have an edge over your opponents.
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2013, 05:17:08 PM »

Matt, you must realise that poker IS gambling. Thinking otherwise is just incorrect, and will likely hinder your success since you will be thinking about poker in the wrong way - you will not fully grasp the essence of the game.

Just because something is gambling, it does not mean that it is not also skillful. Or that it is impossible to make a living out of it. You are (or are seeking to be) a professional gambler who specialises in poker.

Poker seems a really complicated game in many ways. However, it is actually pretty simple - it is about making good bets, and avoiding bad bets. This is, in reality, the essence of the game. Just like any other form of advantage gambling (sports betting, professional blackjack, playing the stock market etc). Start thinking of poker as a gambling game, and start thinking of yourself as an advantage gambler. Because it is, and you are.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 05:21:35 PM by Honeybadger » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2013, 05:18:38 PM »

Quote
The big story of the weekend, however, was Adiman, a member of the loughborough crew who took down the side event for a tidy £6.8k, his biggest tournament win to date. Made some great decisions all weekend, finally starting to get some of the results that his standard of play deserves, well played matey!

Always nice to get some recognition from a big name such as yourself Rexas Wink

In all seriousness you played well all weekend and where just unfortunate to run into AA two hands in a row. But hey, thats poker Tongue

And in other news this is my first post here on Blonde, and I really hope to become a more active user in the near future.
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Rexas
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« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2013, 05:25:20 PM »

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I have a bit of a problem with the connotations of the word "gambling". When you say that someone is a Gambler, you conjure up all these images of roulette tables and crazy adrenaline sports and all that, but many people seem to struggle with seeing that there can be a skill edge. I don't see myself as fitting the negativity that many people seem to connect with the word, more that I gamble with a view to achieving the highest adge possible, and that's what makes it profitable.
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2013, 12:14:27 AM »

You have your whole life ahead of you. Get a great degree Rexas and then try a year off as a poker pro as a gap year would me my advice. You students get plenty of time off and half terms. Good luck.
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2013, 06:01:24 AM »

Hi Matt,

Just a few things on your previous post about validation from gambling outsiders about poker, I've actually struggled and struggled with this myself, as I come from a very religous family, who have very strong "anti-gambling" views. First thing to consider is that poker, like many other en-devours is a "non-linear" life choice, and the thing about non-linear paths in life is that firstly (and obviously) they are unusual and niche. This will lead to a lot of skepticism from others, remember society bring us up to think that the "stnd" path in life is to get an education, career, family etc - I used to despise this "unambitious brainwashing"  but now I'm a bit older I realise it's "standard" for a reason - like in poker the reason the standard play is just call KT on K74r against a C-Bet is because its just 9/10 times its just the best way to play the hand. Looking back at how arrogant and opinionated I was back in the early days of my poker career really does make me cringe, but was born out of resentment, I was young, successful, did whatever the fuck I wanted and had plenty of money - I couldn't believe that this didn't bring me the same amount (if not more tbh) of validation that someone who just qualified as a doctor would recieve.

Defo try not to fall into the same hole I did in this respect, as you'll constantly feel like you have something to prove and this will have very negative affects on your life inside and outside poker.

The stigma is something that I have come to accept as a player, and I would much rather let my bank balance defend my stance.

Let your the freedom poker gives you, and your inner happiness defend your stance, not your bank account. I used to be very proud of the story of when I was 20 and at a familly christening in Exeter, I was playing online sneakily whilst an elderly relative lectured me about the sins of gambling and won $23k during the lecture and stormed out saying "im off to buy a car" that story used to be to demonstrate how wrong they all were and how right I was, actually looking back it proves they were way more right than I thought they were (admitedly they were right for SLIGHTLY different reasons than they thought they were) but i was obsessed with money and thought that was how you get happiness/validation. Saying "gambling is bad you're going to hell" is obviously ignorant drivel (that's likely what you're encountering right now) but when people say "is this actually making you happy, or are you hiding behind the emotional swings" then that's something worth listening to. I nearly burnt a lot of bridges with people who care about me confusing the two.

The second thing about non-linear life choices is that they attract a LOT of jealousy, the truth is many, many people would love to have the opportunity and the courage to try something like you're going to attempt. Don't let those people get into your head because again your poker and your llife will suffer.

Stu's definition of the poker/gambling thing is spot on, that's just something to deal with - "gambling" is portrayed so negatively in the mainstream for the most part that it's become a negative buzz word, people who know nothing about gambling and poker feel qualified to comment on it because they've read a newspaper article about how a man lost his house betting on greyhounds. I long ago took the stance that if someone wants to have a grown up conversation with me about poker then I'll entertain virtually anyone, if someone wants to give me an ignorant lecture of how the house wins or ask me what i'll do when my luck runs out I just straight up ignore them (this has lead to some awkward moments at family gatherings in the past lol)

(rambling Stu B style now lol)

I think you have the emotional control, and self discipline to do very well in poker (I had none of the qualities when i started out and the amount of money it's cost me over the last 3/4 years sends me to bed in shivers) but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the best thing to do, I actually half agree with your uni proffessor, poker isn't a career (not for me anyways) it's a platform that provides you with freedom and opportunity, you're gonna meet a lot of incredibly interesting people in gambling, and if all your can learn from them is what range is good to 4bet vs a laggy CO btn 3bettor than, imo you'll have failed. 

I often feel like it's not really real isn't poker, you're not making a difference or doing anything meanwhile, you're really just treading water in a very expensive swimming pool, the real winners though stay in just long enough and come out much better swimmers.

Worry more about making yourself the best you can be, and taking real advantages of the opportunities that come along and leave what other people think to them, but as much as you won't wanna hear it DEFO do not do what I did and ignore and alienate people who do actually care by throwing them in the same catorgory as the jealous and the ignorant, you'll really need those people one day.
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2013, 07:26:57 AM »

The advice above is great.

What I will add is that you should just go for the understated approach with everything to do with poker to your family members and anyone else.

Say to them it pays for your upkeep, you are making money and are making savings at a much higher rate than any other graduate job could provide, assumably.

Say that its a short term thing, hint at a year or two and say that the freedom it provides is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you are doing well and can prove it show it to parents with printouts of bank statements if needs be.

You are in control of your own route here, so do what you want to do. Would advise to finish the degree obv, as I assume you enjoy that anyway, and poker will always be here. If you get the degree done then I am nearly certain they would be so much less on ure back, especially if you go onto get the grades you were meant to.

Straight after graduation I would assume they would be fine with it and if not you need to just be as civil as you can while you still pursue it and the validity of the game will become stronger and stronger as you are not yet busto and grovelling back for money in a year or two's time, etc etc. And at the same time could even show progress on how you are doing better than you would be if you got a regular job.
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2013, 03:42:23 PM »

Great advice from Lil'Dave.

I want to use the term 'non-linear' in a sentence at some point in my life.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 03:46:45 PM by Honeybadger » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2013, 03:49:01 PM »

Great advice from Lil'Dave.

I want to use the term 'non-linear' in a sentence at some point in my life.

Would you be looking to use it incorrectly?
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« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2013, 05:56:51 PM »

Would you be looking to use it incorrectly?

Correctly, incorrectly... I don't really mind, since I don't actually know what it means. It just looks like a cool phrase to use Wink

Edit: Actually, I have just looked it up and I think Lil'Dave has used it correctly. He is meaning that there is not a clear and immediate causal link between input and output i.e. between one's play and one's results. Which is clearly true in any form of gambling. And is also one of the issues that non-gamblers have with understanding it.
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« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2013, 08:38:54 PM »

Would you be looking to use it incorrectly?

Correctly, incorrectly... I don't really mind, since I don't actually know what it means. It just looks like a cool phrase to use Wink

Edit: Actually, I have just looked it up and I think Lil'Dave has used it correctly. He is meaning that there is not a clear and immediate causal link between input and output i.e. between one's play and one's results. Which is clearly true in any form of gambling. And is also one of the issues that non-gamblers have with understanding it.

exactly, output, input all that jazz - just what i meant.
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« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2013, 11:04:46 PM »

As an english student, and a bit of a wanker, I can confidently say Dave has used the term appropriately Cheesy
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« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2013, 12:31:40 AM »

As an english student, and a bit of a wanker

What you do in the back row of your English lectures is no-one's business but your own.
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« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2013, 01:10:48 AM »

What you do in the back row of your English lectures is no-one's business but your own.
Without a doubt the wisest words I've heard in a long time Wink
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