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Come down off that ledge my friend

Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 09, 2009 08:00AM
Lately there have been a lot of people talking about how unlucky they are or how bad they are running, which we all feel from time to time. A very harmful side effect of all this though is what it does to our confidence, self esteem, mood, and overall desire to even play. We know we are not bad players, but we just aren't winning like we used to and we don't know why. Are there specific tactics we should learn? Did I play this hand wrong? I feel like the unluckiest person in the world. I want to kill all donkeys!!!


This is the equivalent of a clinically depressed person contemplating suicide.

Well I have your Poker Prozac: PLAY SMALLER FIELDS.

1. Small Fields = Skill. Large Fields = Luck

I don't know how many times I've heard people talk about how 'unlucky' they are and about all the 'Donkeys'. Well, if you play a few thousand hands against tens of thousands of players over several hours chances are at some point you are going to get 'unlucky'. In a large field event, it's less a question of 'IF' but 'WHEN', and will you be able to survive it.

Let's look at the past three years of the WSOP Main Event vs the WSOP HORSE Championship. The field size of the Main Event for the last few years has been around 6000 entrants, and has been won by total unknowns: Jamie Gold, Jerry Yang, and Peter Eastgate. The HORSE championships had entrants of about 150 people and was won by poker household names: Chip Reese, Freddy Deeb, and Scotty Nguyen. I would say the bigger the field, the luckier you have to be to win. While smaller fields favor skill.

2. Playing Smaller Fields Reinforces Your Mental Toughness, thereby Making You a Better Player.

The last point is really the whole reason why I wanted to write this post in the first place. And thats the Psychological Effect field size can play. I've posted a little about this in a reply to a post that Lee785 started in the clinic. I'm just going to copy and paste it here because I'm lazy:
It's often really tough mentally to play in these huge fields, beat out 3000 out of 4000 other players and come up short of the money. Why not play against of field of 100, and beat 90 of them and take a pay out? If you can beat 3000 players, then you can beat 90 with ease right?

Also psychologically speaking for me, even if I don't cash, it feels better to go out and be able to say, I placed 15th (in the case of a 100 field) vs to go out and place 500th (in a large field). % wise it might be the same, but psychologically for me it's a big difference. I feel like it keeps you motivated. In my head, i'm thinking," wow, I was only 15 places from first or only 5 places from the cash. " Vs going out 500th, you are thinking, "well, I still had 500 more people to beat. It was hard enough to get to 500, getting first seems impossible."

The other thing about playing smaller fields is that when you do go out, it's not as demoralizing because of the time invested. To go out 15th/100, you might have 'wasted' a couple hours. To go out 500th/4000, you might have 'wasted' several hours. It is mentally easier to deal with the loss if you haven't invested much resource, whether it be money or in this case time and effort.

But it seems like all the buy in events online that fit my budget have huge fields you say? Ahhh thus the beauty of the Sit N Go. SnGs have capped player pools, anywhere from 2 (heads up) to a couple hundred. And they have buy in sizes for all budgets. I would suggest playing single table SnGs until you are comfortable, then moving up to 2 table SnG's, then 4 tables, etc etc progressing up the ladder. It could do wonders for your confidence.

Lets look at two players Bruno and Mickey, both equal in skill, each with $100 for micro stake tournament buy ins to use over the course of several months. Bruno likes big field tournaments for the big score. On one of the first tournaments he plays with a huge field nets him a $500 profit! But then he goes several demoralizing months without a cash, much less a win, until his original $100 is used up, but still has a $500 profit. Now Mickey on the other hand elects to play smaller fields, mostly sit n goes. The wins aren't as big but they are more often and more consistent. After several months, he has spent his original $100 buy in and also has a profit of $500. Remember they are equal in skill, but which player do you think is going to be stronger mentally after this? Which one is going to lose confidence in his game and start posting on looking for where his game went?

I'll close by telling a little anecdotal story. Several years ago before he passed, my Grandfather, a very successful business man, came back to my house after fishing all day. He had buckets full of little fish, mostly perch, trout, and croaker, all about the size of your hand. I said to him "Grandpa, why didn't you throw those back? They are too small!" He said "Spencer, it's better to catch a lot of small fish than to wait all day for the big one."
In my humble opinion, those are words to live by, in life, in money, and even in poker.

Your friendly neighborhood DonkeyKong
Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 09, 2009 11:01AM
Really like the quote, I fished alot before poker and always would rather have a day of small fish action then nothing. Drive to the close lakes packed with fish rather than the hard to reach "trophy Lake". I used the small bait instead of the large one.. small bait offers any fish available a meal...although the big ones don't waste their energy.

I also like that the wisdom came from an experienced man (wise in years and life) and your grandpa had a meal instead of a fish story.

I Can really relate to this post in my game though. I am pretty open with the forum about "poker feelings" and this post is perfect. I had a few decent live wins against smaller fields in late December, which gave me the confidence to try a larger field at the CPT and lose. The confidence drops with an expensive loss...BUT first it was single table cash game to "win" a little money (or win confidence). Now its single table and MTT less than 100 players to practise...regain patience and get back into a confident and patient zone.

It's so hard not to try a bigger field to hope for instant gratification. Maybe get into the money in the old 3000 player MTT micro stakes...hoping for the 1st place to get "unstuck" the $250 (2009) the CPT loss got me.

But I know it's a downward spiral if I "wish" like that or lose confidence. The large fields are long shots and pay dirt even at the final for just squeaking there. I will take bad beats on the way you like you said...its just a matter of when.

Bad beats lead to "reloads"..... which leads to less confidence, which leads to frustration, which winds up in a rut.

But the SNGs let me enjoy the feeling of cashing or winning, help build my confidence up. If I am not winning..its not hard to see why, very simple to remember 30 minutes of play or read the hand history, so leaks can be plugged quickly.

I am mixing in a few MTT 45-90 players, but for 1/5 to 1/2 of the SNG entry max or 5% of the bankroll. Just to fill that need to play a tourney instead of a SNG. And to build that confidence that I am getting back into the saddle.

It will be like this for a while, and when single table home games bring my confidence and Year to Date back up...I will play a 40-80 tourney at casino. Then a few more. Hopefully, by fall...a 180 player. Next April....400 field?

It's crazy, but metal state and confidence really determines alot when it comes to winning. Sometimes (and I'm sure I'm not alone), I wish I could be a brand new player again. The dumb luck (or is it?) that comes with not knowing what you don't know.

Winning by sheer aggresion and confidence. Cocky and alert, watching for weakness....thinking your the best and everybody getting out of your way. Because since you believe it....why shouldn't they?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2009 11:06AM by jontm.
Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 09, 2009 06:01PM
I liked what your wrote on this DK, but i'm about to put a shovel in it, you are saying why play big fields against S&G's this is very true you do get better results with less players. I have to say tho your wrong about luck, and feeling the unluckiest player in the world etc etc it doesnt just mean you get unlucky in the big field tournies.

Heres what happened to me (i always do this its just my experience dont get me wrong and think i'm conridicting you or anything) i'm just giving you my point of view. I deposited on pokerstars a few times and lost my bankroll of what i had i'd say about five times. I asked about not moaning about it happening but asking for advice, i was told your not using proper bankroll management my response was how the hells that i've never played above 1 dollar tournies, i was also told to try just playing premium hands for a while and see what happens.

So i thought okay a fresh start i'm gonna deposit elsewhere so i deposited on FT, anyway i had the bad luck again. The problem was no matter hat hand i'd play i would always get busted, getting beat by quads when i had 3 aces, my opponent hitting that miracle river time and time again. Some fool going all in with 45 and me calling with AK to get out flopped my full houses and theres others.

nyway my point is, i have had alot of bad luck, and when it keeps happening it eats away at you and you feel like no matter what you do or how you play your gonna lose. So you join a S&G and play now and then for recreation but you see time after time donks getting paid off by you, as time goes by and the more you play and the more it happens you start having a different mindset. You start going into games beleiving that near the end you will be sucked out on again or you ullets will get outflopped on everytime.

This is how i used to think, i cant win a damn thing i play aces they get cracked i play Ak and get outflopped, my opponent hits his flush draw everytime, so what can i do? All i have is i'll lose. Well i have changed this way of thinking now, from i will lose to i will get as far as i can no matter what and its working so far.

So i think the big killer is dwelling on your unfortunate hands to much and keep thinking your gonna lose.

Me myself now is not playing to win i know people say its the only way to play but this is what messed me up and took me on a downward spiral, its working for me and i hope it continues i'm having fun again and want to play and am not just going with the motions.

PS. Thnx DK

Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 11, 2009 09:09AM
I am so encourahed that the members here really do attempt to help one another become better at their games. If you look at and or talk to any really successful player in this day and age, that player had people who they could bounce ideas and concepts off of while rising up through the ranks. That was what I really wanted to provide here. Not me telling other how to play, but each of us talking through our game, getting others opinions, and stepping back and looking at it again.

Please continue.
Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 11, 2009 10:52AM
I agree with you both. Firstly Lee i hear you. I was just playing ina tourney with a crazy lunatic card caller ... raise raise raise he goes all in, I am sitting on a nice big flush draw everyone folds, i have him covered in chips 3.5:1 due to his prior idiot play and made the right decision smiling smiley ... He turns over 56 OS I turn over AKC Board was 10C4C2S ... NO club and he hit his 3 making him a str8.

Now that was my skill vs his luck. The better hand lost. I cant equate him having anywhere near the better hand sad smiley (someone may prove me wrong LOL) I replay this hand over and over and say to myself. ... He is a loony and I DID the RIGHT THING. My point YES LEE constantly i get outdrawn, lose with the best hand and want to scream. I am guessing the same as you. (The screaming part)

DK, you are very right about the "luck factor in large tourneys". WSOP winners prove this. Over and over again there are new names, our apparent "best players" do not make the final table most of the time. There is obviously though that luck factor in SNG's if you are playing with nutcases too. What I think everyone needs to remember is that the lower the stakes the crazier the players (imo anyway) people say you get idiots calling crap at every level. BUT .... there is no way on gods earth that what I just came across would have been in a $50 9sng. My point to you. Luck and Skill are a part of both large tourneys and SNG's when you play low stakes. I am guessing (only Guessing) that you would NOT be continually playing at such a low level as I just did or that Lee does. (except the DCR and Associated Freerolls which I believe everyone seems to take VERY seriously!) I have had 100 people tell me there are "donks" at every level. There are, but a heck of a lot less once you hit the higher buy ins mate! I challenge everyone to look back to when they played low limit buy ins, I am completely annoyed at these idiots that i am coming across in $5 buy in SNG's let alone $1 sad smiley I can assure that when i played $1 i felt exactly like Lee and may well be playing her stakes again VERY soon at this rate.

I again agree with you both and I definitely hear you LEE!!! I believe what we all need IS:

A method to aid us in overcoming spastic idiots that call anything without calculation and out draw us ... and i think that's impossible. Maybe none of this makes sense, I wrote it while i was fuming, tilting and screaming and anything else that you could add to the equation. Again my bankroll is almost BUST and certainly it wasn't bad bankroll management!! Down a level I go again sad smiley sad smiley *cries almost*.... so much for going up up up sad smiley sad smiley (yes I have losing streaks also, I am only human and YES I can go busto!! LOL)
Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 11, 2009 11:25AM
I must say though: Very Importantly too ......

The BIG GUNS fund their large field tourneys, they dont just play them continually. This would be a silly thing to do as cashing is rare OR few and far between. Everyone as much as they love large fields SHOULD play cash or SNG's with smaller fields to fund their bigger tourneys imo and the opinion of most of the greats i have talked with. SOoooo if there is anyone ONLY playing large tourneys this is the wrong method (I believe.). Again, I could be wrong and in poker can be proven wrong at any given time winking smiley

Bank roll Management (my point) >>>goes beyond going up and down levels to suit your bank roll.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE !!! smiling smiley smiling smiley
Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 11, 2009 07:54PM
So i'm not the only one lol

Wanted to give my recent problems as another insight to my unluckyness.

I played in the DR freeroll last night, i got dealt KK went all in and hit trips early on in the tourney, score i'm doing well get in. I was 1st-3rd ractically until i got busted. Then after this hand i was either folding or folding, I would make a move and walk into queens, or get outflopped etc etc. And guess what happened bet u cant lol?

I started getting the metality of aww why dont you just shove and hope to hit your going out anyway.

I hate this thought process but for the 50 mins after the kings or so that i played i couldnt buy a flop, frustration set in and i decided to shove with K10o and got called by queens and they held, oh well i can go sleep now lol.

Now Pokerstars i had a decent run and got my bankroll from 10 dollars up to 20 from playing NLH and S&G's i was very happy. But then the same old crap happened, this one hand sent me on tilt, i doubt anyone coulda folded but lets see your views.

Cant find it in hand history lol so i'll try to remember as well as i can:

I get dealt Ad3d

I make my usual raise and get called.

Flop comes 10d9d8c

I make a continuation bet as i think he has a straight draw. he calls again.

Turn card is 7d

I check he bets the pot i put him on a straight so i call hoping to milk his chips.

river comes 8d.

he goes all in i call having the ace.

Cards turn over hes just hit the nuts on the river.


I was so annoyed lol.

Another hand:

I'm dealt AA

Theres alot of donks at the table so i decide to go all in i get 4 callers lol

And someone flopped trips.

My BR on PS is now down to about 7 dollars.

K anyway enough about hands, I have a question, in a MTT or a STT i have found that in the beginning i do okay and my moves work and i start picking up the chips and not getting many callers. In the middle to late stages i always get 4/5 or more callers. Am i missing something? Is this due to my table image, have they noticed something i've been over my hand histories and stuff and have noticed that when i start losing missing hands getting out flopped etc i turn into a call station and hardly ever raise. Anyone know a way to combat this as i have tried since forever and havent been able to.

For example say i'm sitting at a table and i have aces, the way i would normall play then is a big raise and an all in if i hit or sometimes even if i dont hit. If i'm in the above mood i will be very reluctant to make that all in move or even a massive raise incase someone outflops me.

I get that it is wrong to play like this and it should be left to the poker gods in these situations but my mind wont let me do what i want to do and i begin playing how well fish you may say play them, checking when i should raise folding when i should raise,raising not enough etc etc wanting to see alot of pots with really crap cards because others before me hit lucky with them.
Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 11, 2009 08:03PM
I'm new to the game. Joined SC in 3/08 when field size was reasonable. I had very little experience in either the game or the culture. I had fun in the beginning. Goal-mke it through the first break. Next goal-make it into the top 1/2. Next- make it to the top 20%, Well, I achieved my goals, but because the fields became so large and there was not proportional payouts, I never won a prize. Now, for me that was discouraging.
So, I decided to play 18 player S&Gs, $1.00, on Poker Stars. I play at 8am ET, so it's mostly Europeans at that hour. The play is great, and I've won and placed many times. My assumption was that the higher the stakes, the better the players. I tried same time, $3.00. No fun. Mostly all in maniacs.There must be a dollar number that play again is like my $1.00 games.
PS has improved my self esteem and on last nights DCR tourn I came in 7, without being a luck box.
I've experienced dead decks-a bummer. Suckouts is different though. To me it's just the expected luck part of poker. Maybe I just need more experience to get angry about it.
SC tournaments are hard to play. Constant table changing, or getting stuck on a starting table with 3 good players and 6 sit outs.
So, my vote is to play S&Gs to build your confidence back up.(or in my case, gain some)

Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
avatar Subject :  Re: Come down off that ledge my friend
Date:       April 12, 2009 10:53PM
Another thing that I like to do to get me over bad beats is to multi-table. This is one of the biggest advantages to online vs live. Just play 4 tournaments at the same time.

1. You won't have time to dwell over a bad beat.
2. You will see so many more hands that you will realize that suckouts happen ALL THE TIME and NOT JUST TO YOU.

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