Playing Good When You’re Running Bad

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 by Gugel in Poker Strategy, Psychology, Variance

Improving on the Hill

You'll see the biggest gains if you improve your play when you're running bad

Seth Godin had a great post on his blog today.  Even though he’s talking about marketing and customer service, his advice applies really well to poker.  Let’s say you have a bike race coming up and you obviously want to have the best time you possibly can.  The thing is,  everyone goes super fast on the downhill sections (limited only by physics and safety) and it’s really hard to get an edge on your opponents there.  On the uphill section though, through athleticism and will, you have a chance to actually make significant gains and do what your opponent cannot.

Poker seems like an easy game when you’re running well.  You’re hands keep hitting and you’re opponent keeps paying you off.  Well guess what, fish run hot too.  And when they do, they probably think poker is an easy game.  The truth is, a lot of your edge comes when you’re not running super hot – those marginal situations where a fish has no idea what he’s doing and you do.  Those are the uphill battles that you should set your sights on.

As Seth put it:

Most of your competition spend their days looking forward to those rare moments when everything goes right. Imagine how much leverage you have if you spend your time maximizing those common moments when it doesn’t.

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One Response to “Playing Good When You’re Running Bad”

  1. Pauly

    28. Jul, 2009

    I’m a Seth Godin disciple. That guy knows his shit and he has an amazing way of explaining complex situations in a very concise manner.