Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tilt Control - Understanding the nature of fault tolerance

In my last post, I highlighted a need to do something different. Today, rather than bore you with the fact that I'm rocking the $5 6 person NLHE SNGs on Full Tilt or that I played live poker with the Bourbonators gang and was completely card dead while simultaneously playing strategically bad poker, I'm going to talk about what I consider my most important factor for playing good - to great poker, Tilt Control.

As many of you have probably already figured out, I'm an opinionated SOB and a dad. That's a dangerous combination when you realize that to be both, there needs to be a mom. Thankfully, we've found common ground in that we both strive for our kids to well adjusted grownups. One lesson that is vital to this goal is the idea of understanding fault.

If you have kids, I guarantee you've heard this

"It's not my fault, [insert sibling name] made me do it!"
As parents we know this is a complete pile of BS and most parents will not tolerate that for one second.
"No. [insert sibling name] did not make you do it. You chose to do it and now the consequences are [insert punishment dejour]."
I'm just as guilty as Hoy about complaining about the reason I lost was some donkey did something stupid and now I'm out. But isn't that the same thing we punish our kids for? We aren't taking responsibility for our own failings in the situation.

It is often said that poker winnings are the sum/difference in mistakes your opponents mistakes and your own. Failing to spot a situation that could cost you is your mistake, not your opponent's. If you are playing a wild monkey jackass, is his fault that he busted your AQo with 73o? As much as we would like to believe it, 73o isn't drawing dead to AQo, in fact AQo is only a 2:1 favorite. It will lose 1 out of ever 3 times it's played vs. this junk.

The lesson we need to be learning is how to look at these situations, not with tilt, but with proper mental attitude. The fault for losing this hand isn't in the dumb ass playing 73o, its in ours. We chose to play a hand that we knew to only be a slight favorite in a huge pot. It's our fault for doing something that stupid. If I want to be a better player, I need to remember that and learn to never do it again.

I really believe that in poker, as in life, we can make the right decision if we just do our part. We will be wrong and lose. When playing an idiot with chips, its good strategy to not mix it up with crappy hands but wait for them to make a mistake when we have the goods. We also really need to understand the opposition. Are they an idiot playing ATCs or did they get hit with the deck or worse...both?

Life is about our choices and what we chose to do. We are the grown-ups and I'd like to someday be thought of as a damn good poker player. Time for me to quit complaining and make better decisions.

How about you? Can you make the right decision? Is there a time when we can really blame others for our mistakes?


Instant Tragedy said...

For the record, it is all my fault. Fall of Rome, I misspoke an incoming communication. Joan of Ark, I told her to get a real job and stop being such a thesbian. The indians, yeah I know I could have gotten them a better deal than the beads. But I was looking at the long term land use permits that I would have had to gotten.

As for you being an SOB.

I highly doubt that.