Monday, March 10, 2008

Eli's Message from Phil

"I like what Phil Ivey says: 'When you win, you have to stay there forever to beat the game; when you lose, you have to get up.' Control is everything."
-Eli Elezra

You know how Rain Man was an excellent driver?

I'm pretty good at getting up from the poker table when I'm down money.

No one walks out of a casino like I do. They used to say Magic Johnson was faster running with a basketball than without it. That's me heading to the valet when I lose.

However I need work on the flip side. The staying there forever when I'm up part. I definitely leave and let myself go home too easily.

What can I say? I like home.

Plus there's always the urge to book a win. An urge that feels so good in the short run but bad in the long run.

This urge showed up yesterday. After a couple of losing sessions Thursday and Friday I took Saturday off from poker. But there I was playing 2/5 Sunday afternoon at the Wynn. I was up money, gave half of it back and then left because the truth was that it mattered to me to finish the session up.

It was a shame my psyche felt this way because my table was just so beautiful. Full of maniac players that gave action. It became clear to me that I was likely to double up, but I'd have to risk losing my stack to get there. They were willing to gamble.

I however didn't want to. I didn't have that gambling feeling coming off two losing sessions. So I left.

My self criticism is that by leaving I was being results oriented. Only thinking about how it would feel in the moment. That's not good but it was clearly my truth. So I listened to it.

As I walked out of the Wynn and thought about these feelings, a light bulb went off in my head. (Is the light bulb in my brain? Or is it located slightly above my brain on top of my head? Either way...) The light bulb told me to play poker like Rain Man.

I'm being serious here.

What would Rain Man do?

Make correct decisions. Over and over again. He'd have no reaction whatsoever to winning or losing. Who cares about that? That money part wouldn't matter to him.

Raymond Babbit just wants to play the next hand correctly. In fact he doesn't just want to play the next hand correctly. He NEEDS to.

It sounds so simple. Sit there and pretend I'm Raymond Babbit.

I'm crazy enough to think it could improve my game.

If nothing else it'll make the tiresome poker table banter a little more interesting.

Next time someone asks me where I'm from I'll say "Cincinnati Ohio."

And then when they ask me what I do for a living I can say "I'm an excellent driver."

What's that? You're an excellent driver? Do you drive a taxi? A truck? A limousine?"

"No. Dad lets me drive slow on the driveway every Saturday."

Every Saturday?

"Yes. But not on Monday."

Not on Monday?

"Definitely not on Monday."

5 comments:

BadBlood said...

You are of course correct and I agree with you. However, you're not Rainman (at least I don't think so), and if booking a win clears your head such that your next session is better that it would have been otherwise, there is absolutely no crime in doing just that.

Granted, it's not ideal and not capturing all the EV you could have, but admitting you needed a win is still fine.

When is Judge Wapner on?

Big Joe said...

WWRMD?

chas said...

I think it's smart to listen to your intuition after the time you have spent at the tables...it is probably telling you much more about the game than your conscious mind is.

Does Rainman have a conscious mind?

Poker Rookie said...

Robert, as a professional day trader myself, I understand completely what you are saying here.

When you are hot, you need to strike while the iron is hot IMO. It's very similar to trading - some days it feels like taking candy from a baby and other days if I can claw my way back to break-even, it's a good day. I've found poker the same way for me - when I'm playing well, reading the opponents well, etc. I gotta keep playing.

CSuave said...

NH Raymond.