Thursday, December 31, 2009

Focusing on the Long Term

Just a few days ago, I began ruminating on the concept of "focusing on the long-term."  Widely accepted as the wisdom of dealing with bad beats and bad temporary results, poker authors everywhere have been regurgitating this advice for years, much to the dismay of...oh, just about everyone.  In fact, I can not think of a more abstract or depressing way of viewing this game.  After all, they say we can never get too high or low about a given cash game session as it is really just one long game that goes on and on and on and on and ON..... Apparently the journey of a thousand miles not only begins with the first step but ends somewhere far beyond the visible horizon at a place that we won't even recognize when we get there.  Luckily for all of you, I have managed to take this poorly constructed yet well-meaning advice and turn it into something usable.  I will be the first to admit that there is nothing groundbreaking that I am about to present here, yet I am sure that some of you have oft overlooked it.

This meditation first began when pondering the effects of attempting to win the rake chase at Pokerworld for the month of January.  That wasn't a typo- for those of you who don't know, a rake "chase" is different than a rake "race" in that there are guaranteed tiered payouts for everyone who reaches specific rake plateaus.  The one in question rewards an extra $1,400 in cash to all those who rake at least $8,000 (high volume, if this is not already obvious) and $3,000 to all of those who rake at least $15,000 (extraordinary volume!).  Being that you are rewarded for consistent performance, this is superior to the alternative.

While this goal seem ludicrous to me personally when I saw it, it seemed quite doable the first time I raked $800 in a single day and realized that it was about 9 hours of play.  Though I knew it was unreasonable to think I could do this every day, I was quite happy to realize that it would only take 19 sessions like this.  Doing some quick calculations yielded that it would take somewhere between 180-200 hours of play of 9-tabling.  Further examination showed me that not only would I bring home that extra dough, it would also glue me to the table and force me to play when I would otherwise quit, creating much higher earns overall.  Being that I can track my rake to the penny using HEM, the previously abstract "long term" now had an end in sight.  When you have a distinct end point in that is actually tangible and achievable, the bad beats become much more tolerable and the long sessions now have a meaning other "win more" or "get unstuck".

The "goal" of winning at poker over the long-term is no better than the goal of finishing college, losing weight, or making Supernova Elite next year.  All experts say that these things must be broken down into manageable sub-goals that are achievable and measurable and preferably have some kind of reward for each step.  The above goals would be better stated as taking 6 credit hours each semester, limiting yourself to 1,500 calories per day, or earning x FPP's each day.  While the idea of raking $15,000 is unheard of for myself personally, I know that I can get through each day visualizing that $3,000 pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

For those of you who would like to follow my progress towards this goal, click here and search for the player name "Papa Rozzi" at Poker World, right at the top of the list!

P.S. A quick word of caution: do not let goals of earning FPP's or rake or rakeback distract you from your ultimate goal- making money.  Do not consume yourself with pushing past your maximum table limits to quickly reach a goal that will happen on its own.  As always, if the amount of money you earn at the tables is ultimately eclipsed by the rakeback you earn on a monthly basis, you are doing something wrong or misusing your focus.


Roenan said...

A+, I love the premise of the article. I had thought about this topic a lot. Advice number one is always think of the long term in reference to bad beats, but because you always think about the long term it can be daunting and unsatisfying. I had more I was thinking about in reference to this but it slipped my mind, anyways top notch article have a good new year Lorin and Travis.

SSProdigy said...

Gread read as usual, Lorin.
Good luck on the rake chase!

I'll keep this article in mind during my quest for SNE.

Lorin Yelle said...

Insightful as always, Roenan. In light of what you just said, I should add that the over the horizon long-term tends to reflect how you are currently running. When you are running good, it appears rosy and exciting, when you are running bad it appears painful and frightening, and when you are running flat it appears like an endless, thankless grind.

With an endpoint that has a definitive reward, like the rake chase, no session ever seems too good or too bad, yet each is a tiny victory in the ultimate goal.

@ SSProdigy

Thank you for the kind words, and good luck to you as well!

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