Poker is quite the odd little thing. You can memorize every single piece of literature on the subject that there is out there but that still won’t mean you understand most of it. It’s through your experiences, your successes and your failures that the pieces of the puzzle will slowly fall into place.
I’ve been playing this game seriously for just about a year. The difference between the player I was then and the player I am now is otherworldly, and while I still have decades full of learning to look forward to, I can safely say that I’m very slowly but surely heading in the right direction.
I believe I had one of these "click" moments in the past few days, as if another piece of the puzzle fell into place. I’ve been complaining a lot about running badly, losing with the best starting hands, suffering unusual amounts of suckouts, etc. I finally had to take a step back and look at my game as a whole and ask myself if I was truly being honest with myself through all of this.
The answer was a resounding no.
The fact of the matter is I ran insanely hot for two months tripling my bankroll by playing games I had no business sitting into yet. To make matters worst, this upswing not only made me ridiculously overrate my skills as a player, it also made me turn into quite the arrogant asshat (For instance, I had sworn off reload bonuses as they were too much of a grind for such meagre rewards)
What had to happen happened. Leaks that were not as much as an hindrance at the lower levels caught up to me in a hurry and the downswing combined with my bad play had me crying uncle like a little bitch.
Humbled, I dropped down in limits to sort out various kinks of game.
I was in the midst of grinding out a little profit in a 2-4$ session a few nights back when back to back busted draws with Big Slick had me right back to square 1. I folded a trash hand and I found myself looking at AK for the third time in four hands! The pot was raised in MP right in front of me and I hesitated. Now, any LHE player will know that this is an automatic reraise with AK but the sting of the two previous losses had me hesitating on my next move. I finally gritted my teeth and threw in the 3-bet. Flop came A-3-8 rainbow. I look good here. He checks, I bet, he check raises me and I cap. Turn is another A, so unless he has 8's or a ridiculous pocket 3's , I’m pretty much golden. It turns out he had pocket queens and I pick up a nice pot.
Of course, there's nothing special here. I'm not reinventing the wheel. It's all over the Poker books: Cards do not have a memory, every single hand has no relevance to the ones that preceded it, it's all about the long run, etc. Yes, we know all that stuff, but we don't really know, you know? It's like that stupid kid who's been told a million times not to stick his tongue on the metal pole in the winter yet he keeps doing it until he ends up getting stuck in there real good or, the guy who bangs that stripper with no teeth without wearing a rubber. You know you’re not supposed to do these thing but we still do, right?
I don't know why it happened at that very moment but that's when I finally got what the long run is all about. The beats are just that, beats. I pretty much shrug them off now The chips are just that, chips, and everything's gonna be alright as long as I make the right decisions.