Poker: Stay Humble!

Success in poker is somewhat of a double edged sword. In my experience, the absolute worst thing that can happen to most poker novices is a heater right out of the gate. It’s certain to corrupt one’s perception of the game, and more importantly one’s perception of their own skill level. Everyone who plays live poker regularly has seen the new kid come on the scene, go on a tear, and ultimately end up broke. The reason for this is that winning has a way of making you think you’ve figured it out. You’re running over tables, winning session after session, and so your confidence soars to new heights. You can’t be beat, you’re a prodigy, bring on Ivey!

Then it happens. Everything goes backwards, and before you can pull in the reins it’s all over. You’re bust.

As Biggie said, the key to surviving in this game is to stay humble. You’re never done studying, you’re never done learning. The nanosecond you convince yourself that you have it all figured out, you become a losing player. It’s just a matter of how long it takes your win rate to reflect it. The best in the world study constantly. If they know all existing knowledge, they start theorizing and making new strategies to beat all the current ones. It never ends. What is advanced knowledge today will be intermediate knowledge tomorrow. Further down the road it will be beginner stuff. If you stop improving, even if you’re skill level is currently light years ahead of everyone else, eventually you’ll be a fish again.

Sharks don’t let fish catch up.