Overestimating Your Poker Ability

Posted by pokermoney | poker | Wednesday 11 May 2011 11:25 pm

Never Underestimate Your Ability to Overestimate Your Poker Ability

I am not an absolute expert in human psychology, but I am pretty observant of people. I have some formal training due to past employment in the legal field where I was certified in neurolinguistic programming and interview techniques. I have had occasion to interview many people under various circumstances and judge their reactions. One thing I have learned is that we humans have a tendency to overestimate our ability.

We all have ego, admittedly some more than others. The type of person who sticks with poker for any amount of time probably has an abundance of ego. It is the way we are wired. Poker feeds our competitive spirit and our ego. This ego can easily lead to an erroneous belief that we are better at the game than we really are.

Once we learn the basics, off we rush to conquer the poker world. Some of us work a little to develop a few tricks but then we once again figure we’ve got it figured out. I would guess that even the pros (perhaps especially the pros) have to make sure they put their ego in check and that they don’t fall into the trap of overestimating their abilities. I have found this to be the single factor that was holding me back from making progress at several stages of my development as an aspiring poker player.

I have accepted the fact that I’ll never know everything there is to know about poker, but I want to know it all. So, I have dedicated myself to a course of constantly learning new strategies and gaining an increasing knowledge of the more technical concepts of poker. I am doing this by reading constantly, participating in poker discussion forums and even in friendly chatter with other players away from the table. I play poker virtually every day and try to learn something from each game I play.

I will not overestimate my poker ability. Go ahead… write it down 100 times so you’ll never forget it.

When you think about it, that’s quite an empowering concept.

Good luck at the tables.

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A miracle river

Posted by pokermoney | online poker | Tuesday 27 April 2010 2:24 pm

A great read

This hand was played at a pokerstars $1/$2 NL table. The buy in was $200. I was in the cut off and limped with 22 after a bunch of other limpers. The flop was seen 8 way including both blinds.

The pot was $16 and the flop came 4c2h5h. Both blinds checked. EP limper (who is very loose) bet $6. The next limper who is even looser called. The next player raised to $18. The raiser (I’ll call him Mr Tight) is the winningest player in my PokerTracker database among players with a significant number of hands. He plays very well but also is very predictable. He enters the pot voluntarily only 12% of the time. He had a little more than a full stack as I did. There was no doubt in my mind that he had either a higher set, 99 or TT. He would have raised pre flop with a higher pair and he would not slow play a set in this spot.

This was a very tough spot for me because I was 75% sure he had a higher set. I needed to reraise to get any draws out but he would have gone all in for sure with a set, but I was not sure if he would with the overpair. He never talks in chat but he had to know me as well as I know him if he’s as good as I think he is. We’ve played a couple 1000 hands together. I almost folded my set, but decided that the pot was going to be big and I wanted to see the action at the turn so I flat called.

The button also called, but everyone else folded. The pot was $82 by then. Mr Tight had about $180 left. I had about $200 and the button had about $60 left. The turn was the ace of diamond, so the board was now 4c2h5hAd.

Mr Tight checked to me. That was strange. He was obviously afraid that one of us had a straight draw and just hit the straight. If I bet, Mr Tight will have to fold an overpair, but will call with a set trying to catch his boat. If the button was not in the hand, I might go all in right now but I was afraid that he had a straight, so I was stuck in the middle. I decided to bet $35 and see how they reacted. They both called. Ok, I was done with the hand. I was 100% sure that Mr Tight had 55 or 44. The button very well may have a 3 for a straight. He only had $25 left but probably would not go all in because he wanted Mr tight to call the $35.

The pot was $187 at his point. The Gods of Poker were obviously happy with me that day, because the river was the 2 of diamond. The board had paired and Mr Tight was now leading out for $74. Man, I actually felt sorry for him. I just hit a 1 outer! I raised all in knowing full well that he was going to call with his full house. The button folded and Mr tight called as expected and I won the almost $500 pot. The cards did not show but I knew what he had.

He was playing at another table I was at, so on the other table I said “55 or 44?”. I had never seen him say a word in chat and I had tried to get him to answer before, but this time he said “check the hand history”. I said “if you did not have 55 or 44, I have been giving you way too much credit”. He did not answer.

A few minutes later someone who was playing at both my tables (where I had $500 on each table) asked me if I was a pro. Now Mr Tight piped in and said “yeah he is a pro at hitting 1 outers for $500 pots”.

You think he was a little bitter? I promise you, I came very very close to folding my set on the flop because he is so predictable.

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