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diary of online play

    • pokerjonb
      Joined: 11.08.2010 Posts: 8

      I write a poker blog which looks at the more anecdotal side of playing online. To be honest sometimes it only touches on poker in passing as I ramble on about a holiday, or how fatherhood has ruined my play or whatever else gets me through another 600 words.

      I've put an example below and will link to more in future weeks if there's any interest. Won't be any graphs though - just chat.

      Card sharp...

      There are football players who are said to have football intelligence. Wayne Rooney springs to mind, Paul Merson was a classic and there are a few in Scotland who, for the sake of my health, I won't name.

      To say someone has football intelligence is obviously a backhanded compliment. It means that on the pitch you can find space, pick the right pass and make perfect runs, but away from the pitch things work out differently. It's fair to say that anyone said to have football intelligence is unlikely to have a Mensa card.

      Clever footballers are called just that, clever. Thick footballers with outlandish talent on the pitch have football intelligence.

      I am the opposite. I'd like to think I'm at least reasonably clever away from the pitch but on it I delay passes when a quick break's on, go for outlandish passes when we need to keep the ball and my runs are, well, awful. I should in future think of the run I want to make, then do the opposite.

      Only recently, though, has it occurred to me that a similar thing must occur elsewhere. There are dense people who are great drivers, tennis players and lovers, there are bright people who can't bleed a radiator, undo a bra one-handed or hang a shelf. Actually, I've pretty much described myself there.

      And so to poker. My mate Al is a smart bloke, quick witted, brain like a computer - not a new computer, but a Commodore 64 or Spectrum nonetheless.

      At backgammon he can beat me eight times out of 10, at chess 10 out of 10, but at poker I'd fancy my chances. He doesn't have true poker smarts. He's not awful, he can play tight and come out somewhere around even most of the time, but he lacks a real feel for the game.

      I reckon that at the typical online table at least half the players lack real smarts. There are the people who always assume the worst. As soon as the third card of a suit hits they shut up shop. Or, worse, they throw in a tiny bet hoping it will stop a raise. Against good players it never does. There are loads of other examples of a failure to have poker smarts, but in short it's a failure to get a sense of the hand. Everyone gets bluffed off a hand occasionally or tries a move of their own that fails, but these should be the exception.

      The person without poker smarts fails to work out that by checking the turn they can bluff on the river if any danger card comes.

      They fail to notice that they are facing a monster. They've hit top pair but their opponent has hit trips and is going to take all.

      And it is the existence of poker smarts which is making me think that poker can only be learnt to a point - in the same way you can learn how to trap and pass a ball but never become a good player.

      On the football pitch, I'll try to turn into space but go straight into an opponent, invariably lose the ball, they'll score and I'll have to look meekly at the floor.

      At full time I'll feel guilty and get the beers in but at least I can use poker winnings to pay for them. All those people turning into made hands, or weakly folding at the first sign of aggression - they're manna from heaven for anyone with poker intelligence.
  • 2 replies
    • Wriggers
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      Interesting blog :D I'll be following for sure :)

      Although I do agree with a lot of what you said, I think anyone with a fair amount of intelligence can become a profitable poker player, just by sticking to the mathematical side of the game. However I agree that you can't become a good player without having a certain feel to the game.
    • pokerjonb
      Joined: 11.08.2010 Posts: 8
      thanks - yeah you're right that with maths and patience most people should be able to make some sort of profit over time.

      And maybe I go OTT on the 'feel' for the game. When it's going well it's great, but when what you think of as feel deserts you you can look a bit stupid. I spunked away endless dollars the other night trying to be creative when tight play would have yielded a profit...