Thursday, November 1, 2007

Psychological barriers

I think a big problem of mine is that I rarely play my "A game". While that sounds like a nice, cocky excuse for not winning as much as I'd like to, I really do think it's true.

Online poker separates you from the money you're playing with. I rarely play live anymore, but I know that a player is usually in a different mindset when they put $200 in cold hard cash down on a table rather than $200 'online dollars'. When you rarely see the actual physical money getting moved around, it starts to feel more like a video game than a game of poker; I personally find that I don't value each buyin for what it's actually worth, and I no longer play my best game.

For some, that could actually be a good thing. They say that the best of the best completely separate themselves from the money in order to play optimally no matter what they're playing for (how else would Ivey and co. play 50/100k HU?). For me, though, it's a big problem.

I'm posting this because I realized how much better I played in that $60 tourney in comparison to how I play in the $6.50s or $16s. In my first year or so of playing, I used to have a note pinned right under my monitor that read in big, bold letters, "STOP AND THINK". I would often make spur of the moment decisions without thinking a hand through, and it cost me bundles. I've had it removed for ages now after finally overcoming that problem, but I might have to do something similar to try and correct my new problem. Maybe I'll tape a $20 bill there instead to remind me what I'm playing with.

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