Friday, March 12, 2010

Loss of Focus to Focus of Loss

Today I ended the session fairly early after booking my largest loss of the year to date of $1,400.  More importantly than that, this was my first loss of the month.  Since winning every session is not particularly interesting, I decided to "make" this an opportunity to write a new post.  But first, take a leap of faith with me.


Until you have experienced this personally for a large sum of money, you will consider this complete and utter horseshit.  I don't blame you.  Several months ago, when said Mr. Kruger was challenging the credibility of my results, he questioned (at least to Travis, who passed the message on to me) why I would not be at home playing day and night and enjoying the fruits of my automatic money machine.  This is a very valid question and it has many answers, but the first and foremost, and the one by which I hope to make you understand is this: you lose the hunger.

Here is my analogy.  When you go the entire day without eating and decide that you will order pizza tonight, you engorge yourself when it first arrives (at least I do!).  Those first few slices are amazing but as your belly gets full, the pizza, while it may taste the same, declines in pleasure and you quickly find something else that is more entertaining.  Though I have stated this before and it has been stated many times before (as the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility), the reason this is bad for you is that when the money rolls in, there is no urgent need to improve.

To this day, I can not think of any time in my playing career where I was truly focused during a rush.  The facets of my game where I need improvement are always present and I make a mental list of them, yet there is no pressing need to fill those gaps as long as you are winning.  However, when that downswing hits, you are forced to look at your performance for the session and make a checklist of all the things that you could have done differently and with the pain of loss, the hunger quickly sets back in.

Now I am not saying that this imperfection within yourself is something that you should strive to eliminate completely once you finally get to experience it.  No professionals are perfect, rather, they are just more aware of their imperfections and can bounce back quicker when they arise.


bastinptc said...

This holds true whether you lose $1400 in the higher stakes or $40 at the $.10 tables. If you ain't hungry and willing to improve...well then.

Lorin Yelle said...

Absolutely. Not just to poker even, but any activity that requires that you maintain an ongoing edge over your competition. Also, the higher you are and the more money you take from people, the more they will be gunning for you and looking for exploitable weaknesses in your game.