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Enjoyment Trumps Strategy?

    • VilaRestal
      Joined: 28.12.2008 Posts: 22
      I think there is a draw back to the hyper-analytical approach so many people have:
      It saps the enjoyment,
      replaces their super-fast subconscious mind with their super-slow conscious mind and
      sets them up for being on tilt:

      "I'm playing the hands 'right' but losing. That should not be! How dare they beat when I'm playing better than them? I'll show them!"

      Such a common complaint and such a shame to have that attitude because it produces so many sore losers.

      I'd back a player having fun and playing the way he/she likes over someone following a legalistic strategy any day (experience and intelligence being equal: e.g. noob vs noob, pro vs pro).

      They're less predictable and far harder to tilt.

      Any reasonably intelligent person has a strong sub-conscious calculator that is superb at learning from experience and applying those lessons without any input from our conscious minds. (Just watch a skilled musician: They are not 'thinking' about what key to press/string to strike. Their trained subconscious mind is doing it all.)

      An experienced player shouldn't really need to go through lots of probability calculations in his head. His sub-conscious will do them automatically and a thousand times faster.

      It's like Luke putting aside the targetting computer. Psychologically, it's a much stronger position to be in.

      Similarly for ego's (a player's belief that they are 'better' than their opponents): they have the same effect; put them at a psychological disadvantage.

      These things are true in all aspects of life and no less so in poker.

      Other people's thoughts on this would be interesting to me
  • 6 replies
    • VilaRestal
      Joined: 28.12.2008 Posts: 22
      I know this is a strange thing to say on Poker Strategy website so I think I should clarify:

      Poker Strategies are real and make a huge difference.

      However, it's like martial arts:

      "We learn them so that we need not use them."

      Only a very experienced martial artist would be advised to use anything but basic martial arts techniques in a fight for a similar reason as I gave for playing poker 'instinctively':

      They will take too long thinking (and trying to remember) and, in physical combat, reaction time (i.e. surprise) is THE most important element.

      Someone 'learning' karate should not use it until they have mastered it.

      I think something similar could be said about poker strategies.

      It is only 'mastered' when it has become instinctive.
    • Atoks
      Joined: 01.06.2008 Posts: 1,397
      Ur second post makes way more sense than ur first one. I don't play poker because I have fun only when winning, I play poker because I enjoy myself when I know that I'm playing my A game or better. I enjoy it because it has been the best platform to challenge myself and realize my dream with. Because it's the only thing that has made me self-motivate myself to the point where I don't mind spending hours analyzing and improving my game. There are many other reasons as well.

      Enjoyment trumps strategy is a poor way of say something, that actually makes sense. The examples u used (I'm assuming they'r Luke Skywalker and martial arts) would support the previous sentence. Yes we learn so we don't have to use them, but if u don't know ur basics extremely well, u will never be able to apply higher knowledge at the right time or situation. Any master of any crafts/arts/profession/... will tell u the same thing. The basics are the foundation on which u build ur skill on and if the foundation is bad, then whatever u build won't be worth much.

      If we'r picking slogans, write me down for: Knowledge and experience build enjoyment. If they that isn't true for u, it might be wise to find something else to do.
    • VilaRestal
      Joined: 28.12.2008 Posts: 22
      Thanks Atoks,

      I think you're missing my point a bit.

      I'm not really talking about motivation but it does relate to it.

      The second paragraph - yes, you've reiterated what i said but not really gone beyond that: How do you build the basics: How does one become skilled?

      Learning from books is useful but the best way to learn is from experience and making mistakes: i.e the hard way. (Otherwise it's not really learnt at all - not by the subconscious.) Short cuts make for long delays.

      Your last sentance is a bit of a dig at me and the one before it i do disagree with: Knowledge and experience do not necessarily build enjoyment. They can actually destroy the wonder of a thing.

      The reverse is more true: Enjoyment builds knowledge and experience (or more precisely facilitates them).

      I do lots of things and that is true of all of them. If you don't enjoy it's an uphill struggle to improve.

      Which is my point entirely: Players having fun will improve faster - both in their lifetimes and within a game (will make more honest assessments of other players' strengths and weaknesses for example).

      I also reiterate: They are far less prone to going on tilt and surely we can agree that going on tilt cancels out the best of strategies.
    • Atoks
      Joined: 01.06.2008 Posts: 1,397
      I never intended to make a dig at u. I do disagree with what u say but not to the point where I'd want to make a dig or worse at u. I also don't agree that people having fun will always be less likely to tilt. Any kind of emotions factor in when u play and what result ur play will produce. Therefore, people having fun or experiencing joy might succumb to giving up the game entirely, once they don't experience those feelings anymore.

      Dealing with tilt is also a strategy in my view. I'm sure people who have fun for a while, but then get hit by variance which helps them lose more than they'd like, tilt just as hard as ur average player. Maybe even harder and therefore might have more work to do in order to learn how to deal with tilt.

      I guess different paths will bring different people to the same places. As long as u know urself and know which methods help u learn best and pick up the most high quality knowledge, nothing else really matters.
    • VilaRestal
      Joined: 28.12.2008 Posts: 22
      OK, it was the proverbial 'you'. :)

      The 'you's I use here are the same ;)

      Yeah, I've thought about it some more and the title is a bit misleading: as if they were mutually exclusive. Obviously, they're not. The best players will have both: a good strategy and take pleasure from playing (win or lose).

      When I say enjoying the game, I do mean for it's own sake - not just when you're winning. I think it is the people who only enjoy it when they're 'up' who are second-most prone to going on tilt. Those who only enjoy winning every hand (!) make the worst poker players (experience and intelligence being equal). And that's really what I'm talking about.

      If you enjoy watching others play for example, then that is a good measure.

      A total lack of emotion is firstly, I think, impossible and perhaps a bit dangerous to try (trying not to feel might be like trying not think: the more you try not to the more you do) and secondly makes me think of a robot and therefore suspicious of robotic play. I trust everyone agrees that being unpredictable is a very important factor to being good at poker. In any game or conflict: predictable = vulnerable.

      I do think some players sacrifice their enjoyment of the game for the sake of trying to learn and play a 'winning formula' (to earn money). They are too engrosed in "what should I do in this situation?" and sometimes set themselves up for disappointment: "I'm playing it right but I'm losing" is a common cry and has an element of angst to it that I'm sure does not help their play.

      Memorizing tables of hands and odds for each hand seems less fun to me than learning by playing (and getting the statistics empirically and directly into the subconscious).

      I find it hard to believe anyone can really learn very well if they're not having fun. E.g. by following someone else's formula:

      a) where's the sense of achievement in that? and
      b) if it doesn't work (which it probably won't if they haven't mastered it) people feel either 'betrayed' or 'unusually unlucky at this game': Ripe for tilting.

      Lastly, there is of course a [blurred] distinction between tactics and strategy. I have lumped them together but they are different.

      Anyway, I welcome people disagreeing. There are a lot of threads here talking about how to deal with losing streaks and bad beats. I think this simple point has a lot to do with it.

      I'd like to know what other good players think about the 'fun factor' and how important it is to their game.
    • pondlife78
      Joined: 14.02.2009 Posts: 25
      I think I understand your point but at the same time think it is based on a misunderstanding of what the tables and things are used for. They are just to start new players off so that they can gain the experience and see what situations are profitable etc. You develop your own game off that, the starting materials are a framework to begin with but you will only do things that you find make a profit. The fun factor comes from outplaying your opponent, if you're not thinking about what range they have and what chance you have of winning I can't see you playing better than them; and sitting at a table constantly getting beaten by someone who outplays you is just not fun. It is a very short time before you have internalised those odds and how to play versus different types of players