Poker’s Sting

Where have I gone wrong? I was doing so well a few months ago playing online and then “poof.” I’m still up, but I’ve been crushed. My stake is no longer an impressive multiple of the original buy-in.

Why? Well, I could be a conspiracy theorist and wonder if pokerstars has decided to stack the deck against me. I read things like that all the time. I don’t believe the theories, but I read them.

The answer is much simpler – I’m not playing as well.

I still haven’t quite figured out what I’m doing wrong, but I am trying to see where I’ve changed. I have also dropped down in class, playing at cheaper tables with the hope the competition is weaker and where I can stretch my money. After all, winning at lower stakes is much better than losing where the potential is high.

Meanwhile, as I often do, I have been playing on the computer and watching the World Series of Poker on TV. They’re replaying the 2004 tournament on ESPN this week.

Surprisingly enough, when they got to the final table’s telecast (at 2:00 AM EDT) instead of playing it back as it aired, a commentary by Greg Raymer was added. Raymer, from Southeastern Connecticut, won the 2004 WSOP and helped lower my taxes by bringing home $5,000,000.

I had seen him interviewed in the past, but only briefly – only in sound bites. This time he’s sitting in front of a TV, probably giving his commentary while watching a playback.

It’s incredibly interesting to watch and hear and he’s very impressive. He’s not a showboat, not a comic, but a very smart guy who understands the game at a mathematical level I’ll never reach. He’s soft spoken and classy – a radical change from 2003’s winner.

Make no mistake about it, he was lucky a few times on the way to his win. But, over time, a player is much more likely to fail because of luck than succeed.

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