"...a cusp is an important moment usually regarded as a decision point upon which consequent events are determined." Wikipedia.org
I feel I'm at one of those times, where as my dad would say, I need to either shit or get off the pot (Dad was never a man to mince words or suffer fools...remind you of anyone?).
I've been playing poker for a year and a half, both online and live; mostly online as the closest casino is 2 hours away. I've been playing real money tables online since October of last year.
Yes I definitely think my game has improved, thanks primarily to my friends who have managed to tell me in one sentence or less what they think I can do to make my game improve:
- Loud: "remember you are eff cubed....be confident and kick some ass!!"
- Weak_Player: "just pay attention to the table and the betting - don't let yourself be distracted."
- SoxLover: "If you folded more pre-flop, about one third of the hands you play, you'd definitely be in my Player to Watch list. As it is you're edging into the Maniac List"
- Veneno: "Kat, in HU you're far too passive. Be more aggressive - no way a HU game should last 110 hands."
- Garthmeister J: "Maybe playing after a few beers might not be the best idea of either of us."
- SirFWalgman: "Stop your love affair with TPTK and you'll stop being my ATM. PAY ATTENTION to the betting at every round...who's changed?"
- Hoyazo: "Don't limp with monsters!"
So from this, I boil down my challenges into:
- lack of proper aggression - slowplaying at a bad time/with the wrong people
- lack of the right mindset to win - playing because I'm bored, procrastinating, or just for fun (this last one is not a BAD time to play, but I shouldn't expect to win).
- not folding enough. I'm still seeing the potential in every hand as glass-half-full rather than glass-half-empty.
- not watching my opponents as closely as I should be.
So the last few days I've been thinking of my progress, my play, and where I'm taking this. While I've played a LOT of hours, I still think I've been a dilettante, a dabbler. I've skimmed books and magazines, but have made very little effort to incorporate the techniques into my play. I have not studied it. I do not use charts, calculators, players notes or helper software.
Why not? Two reasons: 1) I'M LAZY and 2) in the past, when something becomes work for me, it ceases to be fun or interesting.
The laziness thing I can't really do anything about. As Popeye said, "I yam what I yam". I will overcome it for periods of time, but it always resurfaces. And while it's definitely a killer obstacle, I've discovered that it's more the second item that's the roadblock to me becoming really good at winning poker.
When something is missing in my life, I take on an obsession, another passion to replace the one absent. My closet is filled with leftovers of these fleeting interests; stained glass bits, embroidery floss, books, half-written essays for creative writing classes, fabric and 2 dusty sewing machines, photography detritus, jewelry making thingamabobs...the list goes on.
Two obsessions have not faded: knitting and poker. I love poker. I like the ebb and flow, it's lack of constancy and certainty. It's about luck + skill, the controllable and the uncontrollable. But most of all I like how I can be myself. I don't have to be "nice"; civil, yes, but not nice. In fact it often pays more when I'm not nice.
So on the one hand, I want to win. (I was joking to Hunny Bunny about funding my retirement with poker; in retrospect it's probably the only avenue left for my later years if I wish to avoid eating cat food. Remember that fable about the grasshopper and the ant? Well, guess who's the grasshopper.) In order to win, I need to study the game better and brush off my rusty math skills. Which, to my lazy mind, sounds dangerously like work.
But on the other, I need poker. OK, maybe not NEED, that sounds ominously like a problem that can only be fixed by a 12-step programme. Playing poker keeps my mind engaged, makes me not only question myself and my actions but forces me to look at the answers. It's proven to be cheaper than therapy.
So, watch me as I walk the fine line between improving my poker game in a more serious manner, and making it so much of an drudge endeavor I lose interest. Between making it work (verb) and making it WORK (noun).