Monday, February 06, 2012

Poker 2.0

I have been reading Phil Gordon’s Little Gold Book:  Advanced Lessons for Mastering Poker 2.0 (PGLGB).  During the read, I have been both impressed and unnerved.  The poker boom started about 8 years ago with Chris Moneymaker’s win in the World Series of Poker main event in 2003.  Since that time, numerous professional card players have come and gone.  Some good books have been written and a number of lousy books have been written.  The game has changed from a pastime to an avocation.  Internet poker rooms boomed and were subsequently busted by the department of justice.

I learned to play poker on the kitchen table and I have been playing in brick and mortar card rooms since 1992.  I am not old enough to have experience with 5 card stud or 5 card draw.  During my tenure, the game of choice has gone from 7 card stud, to Texas Hold’em, and now Pot Limit Omaha is the premier game.   I dabbled in online poker, but could not wrap my head around it.  That has turned out to be a good thing.

I was impressed by PGLGB as it is well written and very insightful, as were the Little Green Book and Little Blue Book.  Gordon, like Slansky before him, really enjoys poker and can put together a decent read on the topic.  Plugging even a single leak in one’s game can result in substantial earnings over a lifetime.  In my own game, I feel that I am too exploitable in my play and I create tough flop and turn situations by playing hands which are easily dominated.

I was unnerved as I feel that the game is passing me by.  At times, I stumbled on the math.  While I usually think beyond my holdings to what my opponents are holding, I rarely go the next step to how my opponents perceive what I am holding, much less how my opponents perceive what I perceive them to be holding.  The aggression described in the book is similar to what I see in card rooms.  I have not adapted well.  I play a steady game with discipline pre-flop and a fit or fold mentality after the flop.  This explains why when I have a winning session it is a small win and when I have a losing session it is a larger loss.

I don’t expect to be a long term winning player, but I am starting to feel like a fish.  It may be time that I head back to school and evaluate how I can enjoy my hobby by taking more steps towards improving my game.

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