You’re in a multi-table tournament. Blinds are 100/200. A novice calling station raises UTG to T500. An unknown player flat-calls in MP. Everyone, including you, has about T20K in chips. You are in the cut-off seat with Ah-Ad. What should you do?
Jim Rohn once famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Think about this for a minute. It applies to so many different aspects of life and work, often for the worst. I know family members and friends that struggle in life, almost entirely because of the people they hang around, people who drag them down and/or don’t offer any positivity or examples of goodness, people who promote bad behavior and/or want company on their race to the bottom.
I’ve also seen the opposite, where people become better and/or more successful because they’ve actively changed their environment and have found better role models to have around with. Want to be a winner? Hang around with winners and try to emulate what they do.
In poker there are good bets and bad bets – the game is simply a way of determining who can tell the difference.” –Tom “TIME” Leonard
Position, Aggression, and Caution are the Lions and Tigers and Bears of Poker
At its fundamental core, poker is a game of decision making. He who makes the best decisions makes the most money. And there is nothing more important than the decision whether to play your hand or not. Preflop decision making is the foundation upon which postflop profits are built. And integral to good preflop decisions are the holy trinity of Position, Aggression, and Caution, or PAC for short. Let me explain:
Position and Aggression and Caution are the Lions and Tigers and Bears of Preflop Hand Selection. Oh-my!
The wider the gap between VPIP & PFR, the more crap he fits into his poker calling ranges.” –Sky Matsuhashi, SmartPokerStudy.com
Why a bad beat is actually a good thing, a very good thing...
My old poker coach, the Guru, used to impose a $5 fine on any of his students who told a bad beat story in his presence.
Student: “Listen to this terrible bad beat I just experienced–“
Coach: “Did you lose with a royal flush?”
Coach: “Then I’ve heard it before.”
The Guru charged this fee primarily because listening to students whine about poker annoyed him, but he also would point out that thinking and dwelling on the negative in poker often leads to future negative actions. Bad thoughts lead to bad behavior.
The fact is bad beats should never be whined about. Yes, they can sting at the time, but you have to remember this: bad beats are good things. Suckouts keep the poor players coming back. Bad players occasionally get lucky with poorly played hands, which in turn reinforces their belief that poker is all about luck, not skill. They come back—often after reloading multiple times—and continue to make bad decisions. Over time, they donate a lot of dead money to the poker pool—and sharks like us feed on that money. For this reason alone, bad beats should be celebrated, not denigrated. But there is an even more important point that you need to keep in mind the next time a villain sucks out on you:
Question: You’re in a $5/$10 NL Hold’em 10-handed FR cash game. Everyone has about $1000 stacks. The table is a mix of aggressive and passive players. Your image is tight-aggressive. You are UTG with Js-Th. What should you do?
Winning takes discipline, the long view, and hard work. Sorry.
The legendary comic Steve Martin rose to the top of his profession by being consistently funny. He has said he never worried about being the best comic in the world. He focused instead on improving his basic skills and being consistently good no matter what the situation. Martin never tried to be the world’s funniest comedian, or the most controversial, or the most outrageous. Instead, he knew that if he just worked consistently on trying to make people laugh every time he went up on stage, he’d eventually succeed. Slow and steady would win his race.
“Don’t be great. Be consistently good.” -Eric Barker