Developing a 100% Rational Approach to Poker

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Developing a 100% Rational Approach to Poker

Hey folks, so I already have two dead blogs here on this forum. I do not want to give too much thought to it, as I have quite a few things to write here and I prefer to save some mental energy, but I believe the main, short version of the why I let them die is because I did not have a real vision on why I should really have a blog to begin with.

I always struggled with the usual human biases and psychological traps, as I believe most or all of you also do, while knowing deep inside that they were holding me back, in life and in poker. Everything, from the unconscious attention whoring, to the also unconscious (sometimes not) seeking of validation, to the common confirmation bias. And an ego problem that would, fortunately very rarely, begin flame wars (in another forum) because I could not just let it go, or DGAF about some troll criticizing my and others game in harsher terms.

Well, so what do I want to do differently, and why do I think this will be better? First of all, I do not think anyone here would argue against me saying that rationality is a better approach than an emotional driven one, even though it involves fighting against all our inner human urges.

As I posted before in my old blogs, I view poker nowadays as an investment operation, where we are looking to grow our capital by constantly making good decisions, improving how we play and moving up (we do not see the compounding effect in poker, unfortunately, as we do not move up instantly and, also, there should be always some winrate decreasing the further we go. With that said, there is still some incomplete compounding as winrates do not necessarily halve for each double in stakes). Thus, my vision to what successful poker should be is improving my skills aiming to be among the best, technically speaking, and then, allowing the bankroll to grow so I can play the highest possible stakes. Since I do not know my skill ceiling, I do not know what stake will be my highest one, but this will not, ever, block me from keep pushing.

My initial principles to achieve that (that I may refine or even discard if they are flawed):

1) I should play only when I am feeling my best.
2) I should have an improvement plan that I will keep doing consistently.
3) I should have a good financial approach to the game, with definite targets for moving up and/or down, that is good enough so I will not question it or try to change along the way due to emotions, other peoples opinions etc.
4) My approach to the forums and community should be a negative one. Allow me to explain this:

If I post a HH here, people saying that I played it good, did not make any mistake and, if I lost, it was just variance, is a very good emotional boost. I get validation. I feel better about myself. My ego feels better. And I do not improve one bit.

Worse, as happened with me, I get so addicted to this boost that I almost never post any problematic hands, but just the ones I am almost certain were good plays, as doing this, my ego does not get hurt.

No, I need people to criticize my play, to offer better points of view, to expose me to a better thought process, to speak candidly when they do not agree with something I said. And to do this, I have to be very careful, and very deliberate, with what HHs I post, to do it with the really problematic ones, the ones I did not really know what I was doing. This is how I think I will learn from other peoples advice, while at the same time improving my mental apporach to the game, and who knows, to life in general.

This is also how I would like to approach future coaching lessons.

Anyway, this is my strategical view of how I would like to approach poker from now on. Post is getting too big and I am getting hungry. Next post, I will detail my tactical approach.


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