Math, Robots, Stupidity: JCW, ChipTrader, Doug Hull - a Debate on this Forum

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  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 875 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    The game is not about money. Life is not about money. The game mirrors life in a myriad of ways. The absolute top of the food chain are those who consciously or subconsciously think differently. You guys don't see it yet; most don't. But just engaging in this discussion w/an open mind tells me that you will.

    I find it rather strange how you express my thoughts in different words. You have just enough of a different take on my own thoughts as to make me change my view slightly to the side. Thanks Matt.

    I'm writing on a break from a game right now. Every two hours I take 10. So back to the game now.
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭
    Not to beat a dead horse but going back to Kagey's post I think it's very clear where the disconnect lies. It's between the literal mind and philosophical mind. To him (and the majority posting/reading this thread) the game is just nuts and bolts of cards, money, and decisions. To deep thinkers, philosophical people who deal in the "why's" not the "how's" it's an entity. It's a living breathing organism that exists far beyond this definition of monetary value. You ask what happens to the game when money is removed? My answer is an adjustment. Play money games aren't unbeatable, they are just unbeatable using your current strategy. And they are uninteresting because you have no financial gain. But to others, to knowledge seekers, to people who live in the theoretical realm just as often as the bottom line world, the game is pure and boils down to excellence in oneself. Making pressure-packed decisions reflective of one's knowledge and ability in the moment.

    Video games are easy to point to. Solving the game is the only objective, those who enjoy this type of challenge like the games, those who aren't motivated by such a rudimentary task tend to shy away.

    The game is not about money. Life is not about money. The game mirrors life in a myriad of ways. The absolute top of the food chain are those who consciously or subconsciously think differently. You guys don't see it yet; most don't. But just engaging in this discussion w/an open mind tells me that you will.

    Just my final 2 cents.

    I think the disconnect also lies in how poker is taught. A lot of how you learned the game, Berk, was through reflection, which has allowed you to have a deep understanding of the game, strategy, and oneself. This is really what we are talking about here.

    Today, poker is taught in venues like this one which you would call "group think". From knowing you, I would go on to presume that you may have an issue with group think.

    Some of you know this, but Berk coached me for a long time in a structured sense. And still does today in different ways.

    But there came a time where he refused teaching me in an hourly scheduled manner and my only assignment moving forward was to "reflect".

    Until extremely recently, this blew my mind. What does it mean? What do I think about? Where are the answers?

    For years I learned the game through watching videos. I watched CardRunners, DeucesCracked, and all the way to RunItOnce. I binged watched videos! Then I got coaching from Berk so this was uncharted territory.

    My conclusion is that many of us, including myself at that time, rely too heavily on being told how to play the game. I became a really good player doing this, but my ceiling was capped until Berk told me to stop everything and just think to myself.

    I would like to think that my ceiling is much higher today as a result of strictly focusing on my thoughts about the game, my strategy, and attempting to find my own solutions to the problems at hand.

    Maybe you are better at explaining this method Berk but I think that reflection is more crucial of a process in becoming an elite player than most people ever thought. I know I never thought of it.
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 875 ✭✭✭
    Some of you know this, but Berk coached me for a long time in a structured sense. And still does today in different ways.

    But there came a time where he refused teaching me in an hourly scheduled manner and my only assignment moving forward was to "reflect".

    Until extremely recently, this blew my mind. What does it mean? What do I think about? Where are the answers?

    It sounds to me that this is the guy I would need as a coach if I ever get good enough to hire a coach.

  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    Today, poker is taught in venues like this one which you would call "group think". From knowing you, I would go on to presume that you may have an issue with group think.

    Some of you know this, but Berk coached me for a long time in a structured sense. And still does today in different ways.

    But there came a time where he refused teaching me in an hourly scheduled manner and my only assignment moving forward was to "reflect".

    Until extremely recently, this blew my mind. What does it mean? What do I think about? Where are the answers?
    ...
    My conclusion is that many of us, including myself at that time, rely too heavily on being told how to play the game. I became a really good player doing this, but my ceiling was capped until Berk told me to stop everything and just think to myself.

    Ah young grasshopper. The light bulb is beginning to flicker. You have to remember your generation didn't start forums and training sites, mine did. From day 1 I've only ever seen them as a crutch for some or as a means for blowhards to puff their chest and gather their minions all in one place. This game hasn't ever and will not ever have any tricks or short cuts to becoming solvable. It's all smoke and mirrors.

    The biggest thing I disdain about group think (religion, political parties, military, team sports to some degree, Choice center, cults, poker forums, etc.) is the loudest voice with the fanciest parlor trick becomes the puppet master. This is the biggest detriment to our society and to our species as a whole. We have this incredible gift for deep, intricate, elegant thought...something no other creature (that we are aware of) possess on this planet. And we squander it by letting the voices of few derive the actions of many.

    Look at our education process as a very specific example. During the Industrial Revolution we were world leaders. Our pioneers were keeping it simple and teaching hard word and task driven skills to the masses. While cultivating the intelligent portion of society through Math and sciences... so naturally we advanced heavily in those areas. Over a century later we find ourselves living in a different world where task driven skills have been replaced by technology. Unskilled laborers are unnecessary or are outsourced to someone willing to work for a less than a livable wage. Yet our schools still teach this mindless curriculum of memorization and functional skills. We're facing a technological revolution where we have the ability to explore the innermost depths of our thought capacity with the aid of technology, but instead, we've bred a society that is a slave to group think, too ill-prepared to think for themselves.

    We need to adjust. Instead those in power remain in power by keeping the masses under their thumb. The wealth disparity directly correlates to the knowledge disparity. Keep the masses ignorant and you keep them under control. Group Think 101. Poker is no different. Easiest way to remain profitable is to keep the people I'm playing against under an umbrella of predictability. Keep feeding them trends and stay one step ahead, they'll never bother to dissect, just blindly implement. And we got them. Keep them believing the game is solved. Don't want them asking the bigger questions, seeing the other angles.

    How can the political process change if the vast majority don't understand it? How can the deficit be extinguished if the vast majority don't understand economics, finance, or the past exploits that we've all fallen victim to (the housing crash comes to mind).

    Look at the great inventors, thinkers, scientists who made society as we know it possible: Plato, Aristotle, Newton, Our founding fathers, etc. They questioned everything considered to be status quo; today those voices are silenced by this great divide where it's just easier to think the same and never be thought to be ignorant than it is to challenge authority, truths, absolutes; questioning everything at the risk of being wrong.

    I've gone into a way off topic rant, but to bring it full circle I find the absolute nature in which people speak about this game (or aspects of it) to be very indicative of thoughtless individuals whose ceilings are as limited as the always and never nature by which they define the undefinable variables of this game. Less eloquently put, always and never don't exist in this game and those who speak in those terms are using absolutes in place of knowledge in order to guess their way through.
  • colldavcolldav Red Chipper Posts: 665 ✭✭✭
    So Matt, you're on a poker forum criticising poker forums to a group of people who I'm confident would say they have benefitted massively from participation in the forum, and this thread alone to me highlights a willingness to try to think at a deeper level.

    Do you think there is any value in poker forums ? (I assume yes or you wouldn't be here). Do you have any suggestions to how we could structure things to maximise the chance of people learning the "right" things from the forum ? There is clearly an onus on the individual reader to ensure they understand/question the "why" rather than just adopting the advice of the posters with the "loudest voice" or even the "best"/most successful players, but how can we as a group help facilitate that ? Clear, logical explanations sound like a good start.

    When you guys talk about understanding the "why", do you see it as essential that people come to their own conclusions, or is it enough that they truly understand the underlying logic ?
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    colldav wrote: »
    So Matt, you're on a poker forum criticising poker forums to a group of people who I'm confident would say they have benefitted massively from participation in the forum, and this thread alone to me highlights a willingness to try to think at a deeper level.

    Do you think there is any value in poker forums ? (I assume yes or you wouldn't be here). Do you have any suggestions to how we could structure things to maximise the chance of people learning the "right" things from the forum ?

    I should clarify. I using poker forums as an example was too specific; I was referring more to the lack of individual thoughtfulness that is a result of discussions only getting as deep as right and wrong. Anything that promotes dealing in the black and white rather than the gray, imo, breeds one brain rather than individuals.

    I do think forums, more specifically healthy, in-depth discussions, have a massive amount of value. I just think it's rare. I think everyone who has partaken in this thread can agree it differs from most other threads in any forum. My suggestion would be for people to be less reactionary/defensive and more thoughtful, attempting to solve the problem from both sides of the argument. I would suggest studying logical fallacies. I would question more and assert less. If we all start w/the premise that we know nothing (rather than we are each an authority on something/everything) healthy discussion certainly ensues.
    colldav wrote: »
    When you guys talk about understanding the "why", do you see it as essential that people come to their own conclusions, or is it enough that they truly understand the underlying logic ?
    I think it's imperative for people to start thinking this way organically. Being told why and reverse engineering it's truths will certainly be helpful, but often the process of arriving at why is far more valuable than actually knowing the answer.
  • Jymaster11Jymaster11 RCP Coach Posts: 8 ✭✭
    Imperator wrote: »

    Money is a fictional commodity anyway. Chips are a fictional representation of a fictional commodity.

    I believe that poker as a game contains a paradox. Caring about the money a whole lot makes you risk adverse and a bad poker player.

    This is an all-time gem.
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 875 ✭✭✭
    kagey wrote: »
    good posts, Imperator.
    great food for thought.
    BTW - if you haven't already - I suggest checking out an MIT lecture on poker economics on youtube. It expands on the influence of poker in our economy.
    Interesting stuff.


    Thank you for this. I really enjoy this kind of thing and I will book mark it for later.

    By the way, I don't know if you know this but MIT has some of the best free on-line courses of any university. I have taken some of the math and physics courses just as a review of my undergraduate education and most of them are fantastic.

  • Ruxton_AtheistRuxton_Atheist Red Chipper Posts: 124 ✭✭
    "Being told why and reverse engineering it's truths will certainly be helpful, but often the process of arriving at why is far more valuable than actually knowing the answer."

    The mental game is a misnomer; it is more aptly described as the metaphysical game. The processes by which we (and our opponents) arrive at decisions, and the influences on those processes, cannot be fully understood using the same limited tools of Western dialectical thought that created these flawed ways of thinking. It is no coincidence that mindfulness and meditation are linked with improved performance; although the path is different for each of us, the means by which we might transcend our current understanding cannot occur without honest self-reflection.

    Thank you, Berkey, for giving a voice to what many of us have implicitly understood but not previously discussed in an open forum. Thank you, Chin, for openly questioning (in prior threads) the limiting rudimentary didactics of your coaching peers, and thanks to Imperator for opening the dialogue.
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭
    "... Thank you, Chin, for openly questioning (in prior threads) the limiting rudimentary didactics of your coaching peers, and thanks to Imperator for opening the dialogue.

    Yeah I'm pretty sure they didn't always like me doing that. But you're welcome lol.
  • bill_sabrebill_sabre Red Chipper Posts: 9
    It seems to me that this argument is boiled down into two distinct sides, both of which have a strong view point. What needs to be understood is that neither is wrong. Its just the difference in how people approach the game, and what it means to them. Two quotes I found seem to get to the point of both sides.

    “When we play, we must realize, before anything else, that we are out to make money.” -David Sklansky

    “Poker may be a branch of psychological warfare, an art form or indeed a way of life – but it is also merely a game, in which money is simply the means of keeping score.” -Anthony Holden

    And my personal favorite:

    Joey Knish: Stones? You little punk, I'm not playing for the thrill of fucking victory here. I owe rent, alimony, child support. I play for money. My kids eat. I got stones enough not to chase card actions of fucking pipe dreams of winning the world series on ESPN.
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭
    bill_sabre wrote: »
    It seems to me that this argument is boiled down into two distinct sides, both of which have a strong view point. What needs to be understood is that neither is wrong. Its just the difference in how people approach the game, and what it means to them. Two quotes I found seem to get to the point of both sides.

    “When we play, we must realize, before anything else, that we are out to make money.” -David Sklansky

    “Poker may be a branch of psychological warfare, an art form or indeed a way of life – but it is also merely a game, in which money is simply the means of keeping score.” -Anthony Holden

    And my personal favorite:

    Joey Knish: Stones? You little punk, I'm not playing for the thrill of fucking victory here. I owe rent, alimony, child support. I play for money. My kids eat. I got stones enough not to chase card actions of fucking pipe dreams of winning the world series on ESPN.

    It's also about ceilings though...

    The character of Joey Knish would never reach the largest stages in the game.
    On the contrary the character of Mike, who was not afraid to put it on the line for the sake of warefare or to prove to himself that he could compete, can reach the highest levels of the game.

    Simply put, who has the highest ceiling... The player who cares about money or the one who does not.
  • zagaresezagarese Red Chipper Posts: 185
    Depends on defining ceiling. Feeding your kids for twenty years and putting them through college matters.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭✭
    zagarese wrote: »
    Depends on defining ceiling. Feeding your kids for twenty years and putting them through college matters.

    black chips matter
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    zagarese wrote: »
    Depends on defining ceiling. Feeding your kids for twenty years and putting them through college matters.

    It shouldn't though. I was on the fence and might have agreed with you before this thread.

    If we put someone all in and it's a thin spot, they shouldn't be thinking about the money or feeding their kids. Only the spot matters. Otheriwse, it's just a hinderance.

    Try re-reading some of Imperators' or Matt Berkey's post in this thread.
  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 1,116 ✭✭✭
    zagarese wrote: »
    Depends on defining ceiling. Feeding your kids for twenty years and putting them through college matters.

    It shouldn't though. I was on the fence and might have agreed with you before this thread.

    If we put someone all in and it's a thin spot, they shouldn't be thinking about feeding their kids. Only the spot matters. Otheriwse, it's just a hinderance.

    I find myself on the fence about a lot of things discussed in this thread. I hesitated to post at all because I honestly dont know exactly where my thoughts land at the moment. That being said...

    I don't 100% agree with Christian's above statement. Real life is REAL.

    It does exist. Not considering all things when making a decision is probably not the absolute best advice overall. I understand that in the moment, if your only goal is to be the absolute best poker player and make the absolute best decision, you can then set certain considerations aside when choosing the best course of action.

    I freely admit I do not always do this. I am sure it has hindered my progress as a poker player. But my goals are not the same as Christian's. He wants to be the best and test himself against other players at that level. He is willing to pay the price for that goal. I don't have that aspiration. I am also not willing to pay that price.

    Many people have achieved excellence in many areas. It is not a secret what is generally required to be the very best. Sacrifice of something else. Most us either are not willing to sacrifice at that level or just don't want to. Sometimes those sacrifices have REAL life consequences.

    Being at least aware of the fact that ALL of our decisions matter in ALL aspects of our life is of paramount importance in my opinion.

    I am certainly not the best player on this forum. Nor am I the best writer or deepest thinker. I do however cringe a little bit when we start talking in absolutes about any subject.

    This discussion has been very useful for me personally as it has allowed me to think a bit about where my feelings truly lay with regards to the game. Still need to think more on that to be honest. I thank everyone for the discussion.

    cXt
    Twitter = @ChipXtractor
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    ChipX,

    Your concerns are ones of many.

    We can agree that your concerns are about money.

    Give this some thought:
    What is more important in business?
    Money or the Product?

    Money is an easily accessible commodity.

    If we throw thousands of dollars at a product that sucks, it'll still fail.
    If we throw the same dollars behind a product that is good we crush it.

    So if you play 1/2 and you just dominate, and now you go shot take 5/10 and get buried...

    Do you think you are out of action?

    Of course not, the list will be long to back you at 1/2. Money is easily accessible especially if the product is good.
  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 1,116 ✭✭✭
    ChipX,

    Your concerns are ones of many.

    We can agree that your concerns are about money.

    Give this some thought:
    What is more important in business?
    Money or the Product?

    Money is an easily accessible commodity.

    If we throw thousands of dollars at a product that sucks, it'll still fail.
    If we throw the same dollars behind a product that is good we crush it.

    So if you play 1/2 and you just dominate, and now you go shot take 5/10 and get buried...

    Do you think you are out of action?

    Of course not, the list will be long to back you at 1/2. Money is easily accessible especially if the product is good.

    Very fair.
    Much like my game I am a work in progress.
    I appreciate your thoughts.

    cXt

    Twitter = @ChipXtractor
  • zagaresezagarese Red Chipper Posts: 185
    I generally agree with Imperator and Berkey.

    I was just reacting (while tired) to what seemed to be a statement that the character of Mike was better than Knish. And I apologize for hijacking a little there.

    While true that Mike would reach the highest levels of the game in terms of buyin/stakes I think their accomplishments are very much equal.

    Which brings me back to the thread in general.

    The whole thing started with @ChipTrader quoting another thread where it was said

    This is about MONEY .. its not about being SMART.

    to which he said

    I have to disagree with the first half of this quote and agree with the second half.

    And ending his first post with the thesis

    And no, the game is not really about the money, it is about having the mental, physical, emotional capacity to play your best when you choose to be at the table.

    Throughout the entire thread following there is a lot of talk that implies or directly says that this is an either/or thing. A few people talk about a degree of one and a degree of another.

    This reminds me of the skill vs luck argument which sounds like it's about skill vs luck but if you listen to lecture by the creator of Magic: The Gathering it's about both and they are not mutually exclusive. They don't add up to 100%. Any game situation has 0-100% skill as well as having 0-100% luck.

    Same here. It is about MONEY 0-100%. It is about SMART 0-100%. Being about MONEY 40% does not mean it's about SMART 60%.

    Probably my favorite statement in this is Berkey's always and never don't exist in this game and those who speak in those terms are using absolutes in place of knowledge in order to guess their way through. which sounds a ton like the old fashioned 'it depends'
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 875 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    I am certainly not the best player on this forum. Nor am I the best writer or deepest thinker. I do however cringe a little bit when we start talking in absolutes about any subject.

    This discussion has been very useful for me personally as it has allowed me to think a bit about where my feelings truly lay with regards to the game. Still need to think more on that to be honest. I thank everyone for the discussion.

    cXt

    ChipXtractor, I have listened to you and have read what you write.

    I know you have a middle class life now, with your own business, but I am going to guess that your family roots are working class.

    In cash games, in the trenches, I've been looking at people playing at all levels. I watch the games and listen to the talk even if I'm not in the game. (I even take notes on the games I'm not in.)

    The Quiet One: The Cash Game Dominator
    One thing I love about poker is that I am constantly meeting intelligent people who know they are not "smart" in the way that "the smartest guys in the room" always think they are smart. When I meet, see, or hear the better players they often discount their intelligence, and, yet, are themselves very intelligent. They are mostly cash game players and not tournament players. They are not the kind of "star" players who act like they can dominate anybody in the room and are very brash. I think that this "smartest alpha-male" shtick is part of the profile of many players. It is how they build their rep.

    But the cash game players I'm talking about are different. They quietly and almost stealthily take control of the game, and the table. These are poker players I admire, partially because I know how hard it will be for me to be that kind of player. Some I think even want to become better and better until they reach their own point of excellence, though I doubt many of them put it this way to themselves.

    The quiet guys (I wish there were more gals) are often the most dangerous. They are often the most aware. And if you talk to them off-the-felt, they say things like you do, "I'm not the best. I'm not the smartest. I don't express myself well." And most of them are from a working class background; they never claim to be the smartest guys in the room but I look around at the table where they are at and, in these cash game situations, they often are the smartest ones, or at least the most aware.

    What they do have is a good evaluation of their skills and abilities.

    This is not to flatter you. I don't know you that well. One of the bad things I do with people is to put them into their social context, so forgive me for reducing you to a particular stereotype. I don't know you personally, but I am guessing at some things from what I've read and heard. You might not be at the level of those guys I'm writing about but just listening to you, this is your "type."

    Poker Paradox: Poker 'Morality'
    I started this thread because math and physics taught me something that has played me well in game situations. Think paradoxically. Think in contradictions. If the discussion has made you think then we have done something that has made us stronger.

    The rest of life, from my Jesuit education to my political work, has taught me a few things about the moral choices of everyday life. The whole thread, for me, was just trying to distinguish the two, in order to make myself better at both. I was tracing the crooked road between the two.

    I don't think the discussion as a whole has been black or white. The decisions that we make are not binary.

    So there is a kind of paradox of poker: most of us are in the game because the money is attractive (as opposed to other games) and yet after you sit down at the table you have to put those motivations aside to play your best. A lot of this has to do with the fact that human beings make all kinds of "thinking" mistakes when it comes to probabilities and "money".

    Evolution has made us fundamentally irrational when thinking about exchange values, risks and rewards. That is because often our moral values and emotional needs can not be quantified, and should not be quantified, in terms of plus- or minus- Expected Value.

    But the poker economy is a place where we have to put these important everyday moral values aside. We have to treat the artificial economy of poker as just a game. A game we choose.

    All I can do is point to the post that talks about the different kinds of economies and exchange values. It's the post the Christian liked very much.

    My Fear
    The funny thing is, I am always nervous before a game. Always. I am excited. I have a kind of stage fright. But once I sit down at the table it disappears. I have the same feeling before a lecture or speech. I step up to the lectern and all of sudden all of my fear disappears. I really can't explain it. This was true before a chess tournament also.

    But sometimes, if I choose the wrong game, or the wrong subject for a lecture, my fear doesn't disappear. Or I have to pivot to something completely different. This has happened before. Not when I'm pushing the envelope but rather when I blunder into the wrong place.

    But when I'm playing poker: once I am in the artificial economics of the game all of the economics of exchange value and moral choice disappear for me.

    I think being good at compartmentalization helps. This psychological trait is dangerous with out self-knowledge. But it is one of the reasons I fell in love with the game. I can toss away all of the"nice," "solidaristic," "sympathetic" side of myself and take other peoples chips. Or lose my own at times. (But don't throw away your empathy. It is useful in a game.)

    Quite frankly, I think compartmentalization is very important in poker. If I acted in real life the way I acted over the felt (smiling and social on the outside, looking to exploit weakness on the inside) it would be the definition of a sociopath.

    This doesn't mean that I don't have doubts about my game. I often tank when trying to figure out what in the hell I'm supposed to do here. Sometimes it takes me a long time to recalculate when I'm confused. But I hope with education and experience that will disappear.
  • nitnit Red Chipper Posts: 4
    This guy is going to go places. Good stuff!!!
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    Imperator wrote: »

    I started this thread because math and physics taught me something that has played me well in game situations. Think paradoxically. Think in contradictions. If the discussion has made you think then we have done something that has made us stronger.

    I have no doubts my ability to continue to think in these terms (abstractly, rather than in simple linear logic, if a then b) is what continues to seperate me from my peers. It's no surprise my background, similiarly to Imperator, is computer science with a heavy dose of math/physics. Problem solving is rarely as simple as drawing a straight line from pt. A to pt. B.
  • 4 Horseman4 Horseman Red Chipper Posts: 28 ✭✭
    I'm not sure where I stand on this debate because I believe both sides have merit and some similarities.
    I enjoy poker for a variety of reasons. I enjoy the mental competition among people and I love the fact that no one starts off with an edge. Meaning, a doctor, Lawyer, drug dealer, ex con, business owner (black, white, lbgt, etc..) can all sit down at a table and they all start out equal. It doesn't matter if you got dealt a better hand in life, at the table, you are the same. I also like that whatever you accomplished yesterday has no bearing on today. Tommy Angelo wrote about how the losing streak you had is only in your mind.
    In saying all this, I started taking poker seriously a couple years ago because I wanted to find a way to pay for my daughter's college education. I dabbled in low stakes sit n' go's before black Friday and played a little cash afterwards, but in 2013 I decided to give it a shot and treated it as a business. I dedicated 10K for a poker bankroll after getting the wife's permission and viewed it as an investment in a startup company. I met someone who is a student of the game and was willing to help me and has a mindset and belief more on the lines of Berkey and Imperator. I started off playing a year of solely $1/$3, then progressed the following year to $2/$5 and now play $5/$5 and at my local casino and sometimes take shots when they have a good lineup at $5/$10.
    My take away on this is that money does matter on some level. You can talk philosophically about the game and life when money is no longer a motivating factor in how you view your craft. But, money needs to be at a satisfying level for you and your family first. I always go to trainings for work and I would hear that money ranks around 7th or 8th on a scale of importance for a job. I wonder if the they polled people who make minimum wage and can't pay their rent how important money is to their job? While in college many years ago I used to work at a uni-mart while going to school full time. I loved that job. I liked the owner ( he had a private poker game in the back of his store and I used to make sandwiches and set up the game for extra money) and loved interacting with people. However, I also loved my girlfriend (now wife) and my two step children. I knew that if I wanted to care for them properly I would need to make more money. If the Uni-mart job paid $40 hourly I would have never left. In fact, if it paid $25 at that time I would have stayed because money would have been at a satisfactory level and would no longer become a need.
    For me, my family is always the driving factor in my decisions. I will have time for self-actualization after I know my family is taken care of. It's much easier to be focused on your craft and get to a level where money doesn't matter when at the end of the day it is only about you and your quest for knowledge and absolute truth. As in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, safety for me comes before self-actualization. The safety and needs of my family come first.
    As for Knish vs. Mike. I wonder how many shots Mike takes when he has a family. It is much easier to take shots and fail when the only person who feels pain is yourself. Give me that and I'll have no fear.
    For me, this game will be more about me and my quest for being the best and for looking at it on a different level after my financial needs are met. I look for ward to that time as I just finished paying two years of school. Some people have bucket lists for life. One of my bucket list things to do is to pay for my daughter's college education. That's what drives me currently and poker is way to get this accomplished. It just so happens that I also love the game and want to get on a deeper level with it as well, The more I study the game, the more I know that I know very little.
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭
    4 Horseman,

    I think your goals are great. And I like your view on the game as an even playing field.

    I think you are also really honest with yourself, and understand to which lengths you are willing to go in this game. I think that is an important trait.

    All things equal though, because of your goals, there is somewhat of a lower ceiling for you in my opinion (at least for now) as it pertains to poker. I also think you accept that.

    For example, if a great $10/25 game sprung up, you may have to pass because losing $8000 is not acceptable to you given your situation.

    Another example may be if you are facing off against somewhat tougher competition, you may choose to leave the game given your goal is mostly centered around an hourly to pay for your daughter's education.

    These are things that in the long term may hinder your poker game. Or at the very least cause you to take a longer road to reach the top.

    That is what we are talking about here in this thread.

    Now with that said, people play poker for different reasons & I think you have a clear understanding of why you play this game. That's very important.

    For you, you don't have to be the best, you just have to be good enough to pay for your daughter's education. Frankly, I think you know that paying for her education is what would cause you the most satisfaction!

    I think that is a great goal & I know you'll reach it.
  • 4 Horseman4 Horseman Red Chipper Posts: 28 ✭✭
    Thanks Christian for the kind words. You are correct, currently I have a lower ceiling due to my situation. There have been some juicy $10/$25 games where It killed me to pass, but I didn't want the variance to upset my goal. I have taken shots at $5/$10/$20 but not consistently.
    I do plan on challenging myself in the future when the time is right for me. Why not try to be the best you can be at something you love to do?
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    Allow me to extrapolate on what Christian is saying and this will hopefully touch back on the overall concept as to why money does or doesn't matter.
    What I'm saying, and what I think Imperator is saying, is that no matter what your goals are in this game the only way to achieve them is through excellence. Bottom line matters to all of us, whether playing the highest stakes or the lowest, we all need money to live. However, putting an emphasis on that need, spotlighting currency as a high priority doesn't equate to accruing more of it. We can't cultivate money... but we can talent. Talent will translate into money. And this isn't just true in the game of poker, the parallel is there in life as well.

    I did a speech for my alma mater about a year ago, coming from a tiny steel mill town my underlying theme was transcending basic needs; striving to live an enriched life rather than simply surviving. I often referenced Maslow's hierarchy of needs (for those unfamiliar http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html) and the point I belabored was that in today's society we put a massive emphasis on fulfilling the basic needs: clothes, food, shelter, money etc. But this is all fear driven. Such a small amount of mentally stable individuals go w/o the basic needs. That's not to say poverty doesn't exist and isn't a threat if we aren't careful, but it is to say that most people can assume by default they are capable of fulfilling those needs w/o making them high priority. If we instead put a big emphasis on enlightenment: family, social structure, love, acceptance, and finally altruism we then begin to not only live enriched lives, but make major advancements as a society. These are the needs that one actually must consciously cultivate. These are the needs that can't care for themselves, they require deep thought and introspection. Point of this story is that to me the parallel is clear, money will take care of itself, focus on the intangibles that round out success.
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 875 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    4 Horseman wrote: »
    My take away on this is that money does matter on some level. You can talk philosophically about the game and life when money is no longer a motivating factor in how you view your craft.

    One of my bucket list things to do is to pay for my daughter's college education. That's what drives me currently and poker is way to get this accomplished. It just so happens that I also love the game and want to get on a deeper level with it as well, The more I study the game, the more I know that I know very little.
    4 Horseman wrote: »
    There have been some juicy $10/$25 games where It killed me to pass, but I didn't want the variance to upset my goal. I do plan on challenging myself in the future when the time is right for me. Why not try to be the best you can be at something you love to do?

    4Horseman, there is so much in what you write that I understand and like. I don't want to repeat myself so all I can say is to reread my post on moral and exchange value economic decisions and the decision to play in the artificial economy of any particular poker game.

    Also, let me say, that I think you, 4Horseman, are walking right down the middle of that crooked path between the moral economy of exchange values and the artificial economy of poker. You have mapped that path for yourself within your tolerance. This is shown by the way you choose your games.
    What I'm saying, and what I think Imperator is saying, is that no matter what your goals are in this game the only way to achieve them is through excellence. Bottom line matters to all of us, whether playing the highest stakes or the lowest, we all need money to live.

    If we instead put a big emphasis on enlightenment: family, social structure, love, acceptance, and finally altruism we then begin to not only live enriched lives, but make major advancements as a society. These are the needs that one actually must consciously cultivate. These are the needs that can't care for themselves, they require deep thought and introspection. Point of this story is that to me the parallel is clear, money will take care of itself, focus on the intangibles that round out success.

    Yes Matt precisely. And it is also good to see references to Maslow. In high school when I was trying to understand myself and my goals I read a lot of Maslow and Erich Fromm.

    But I wanted to clarify something in my own thinking that i don't think has been clear to most people. I am going to come at this very abstractly.

    Category Mistakes

    It is very hard to overcome logical fallacies in our everyday lived-experience, especially if they are simply part of our daily rounds.

    So I have a question for 4Horseman : When you make a bet at a poker table do you think this: "The bet I am putting in with these chips represents in money the equivalent to paying 6 credits of my child's college education"? If you ever ask yourself this question I wonder if you do it only in certain games with certain big bets or if you often ask this of yourself more often?

    If this kind of question comes up for you while you are over-the-felt then my poker advice to you would be to take a 10 minute break, clear your head, and come back to the table. If you can't get these thoughts out of your head then I would advise that you quit the game for the day and come back the next day. Or maybe change tables or change stakes.

    In all probability you don't think this way when you are at the table, but I am making an argument in a very pointed way.

    (In fact, stating my argument this way makes me a little uncomfortable. I am giving poker advice to someone who is a better poker player than I am, who plays at higher stakes than I do, who has more at stake in life when playing in any given game, and who has a lot more experience than I have at this particular game.)

    My larger argument here is that in everyday life we consistently fall into logical fallacies. The logical fallacy here is a kind of "category mistake." It is a category mistake that is hard to set aside because as human beings we live our lives as a unified experience. We don't separate our lives into categories. Those who are able to compartmentalize completely are a little crazy.

    When we choose a "game" to play we are in the category of the game. The choices are all within the game. Once we have chosen to be in the game we have left behind all of the moral choices of caring that circumscribe our everyday choices of using money to buy and sell things and to help other people.

    Those everyday moral choices are the most important choices we can make. In our society those everyday moral choices are bounded by the exchange value that we measure with money.

    The choices we make at the table are not moral choices. The game is amoral, assuming we play within the rules. The moral choice we make is to sit down at the table in the first place.

    There is a sense in which, we are on a kind of a "life tilt" every time we choose to play poker for money. I say this with a lot of irony but I also want to be honest about it. (I think this is one place where Matt may not agree with me.) We are making a calculated decision to gamble because we hope that other people are worse calculators, dissimulators, and less clear-thinking than we are, and thus we can take their chips. Everybody is making this choice together so we say to ourselves "If this guy, over there, is playing for the rent money, I don't care."

    The category mistake we often make is this: The moral choices we make within the economy of exchange values are in a different category from the choices we make in the artificial economy of poker.

    They have to be different or else we begin to play badly. They have to be different for the same reason that someone dying in a video game is not the same as someone dying in the world of lived-experience. If we begin to confuse the two categories then we have reached a pressure point in our lives that leads to logical confusion in the game and psychological confusion in our everyday lives. When we reach this pressure point we need to step back so that we can clear up the confusion.

    It is as if you wandered onto the stage of a group of actors playing Hamlet. And now you start treating the actors as if the characters they are playing are people in your life and not fictional characters. Suddenly you forget the characters are played by actors. Now you begin thinking about planning your social life around taking care of these fictional characters as if they were friends and family. That is a category mistake. (It is also crazy, but notice that many fictional comedy is based on these kinds of category mistakes. And insanity is often represented as a massive category mistake.)

    When you are at the table, playing the game, and you start thinking of a bet you make as equal to the cost of so many college credits you are making the same kind of category mistake as believing fictional characters are your friends. It is hard to see this. And it is hard not to make this category mistake because, when we cash out of the game, the chips do represent the commodity we call money and money does represent exchange value.

    But the only way to play the game, once you are in it, and become the best according to your capabilities within the game is to be in the game completely, bounded by its rules, and its necessities, and not bounded by the moral necessities of your everyday life. And this is true no matter what your level of play or motivations for playing.
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    Imperator wrote: »
    There is a sense in which, we are on a kind of a "life tilt" every time we choose to play poker for money. I say this with a lot of irony but I also want to be honest about it. (I think this is one place where Matt may not agree with me.) We are making a calculated decision to gamble because we hope that other people are worse calculators, dissimulators, and less clear-thinking than we are, and thus we can take their chips. Everybody is making this choice together so we say to ourselves "If this guy, over there, is playing for the rent money, I don't care."

    The category mistake we often make is this: The moral choices we make within the economy of exchange values are in a different category from the choices we make in the artificial economy of poker.

    They have to be different or else we begin to play badly. They have to be different for the same reason that someone dying in a video game is not the same as someone dying in the world of lived-experience. If we begin to confuse the two categories then we have reached a pressure point in our lives that leads to logical confusion in the game and psychological confusion in our everyday lives. When we reach this pressure point we need to step back so that we can clear up the confusion.

    I actually agree with this completely. It's the basis behind the threshold of pain concept. I wouldn't necessarily refer to it as "life tilt" just because of the negative connotation associated, but I get the correlation. That being said I completely believe that there is an inherent exploit created when one person cares and the other doesn't; the direction in which that exploit shifts depends as to what opponent A vs B does or does not care about: Money, Skill, Rules, Etiquette, etc.
  • 4 Horseman4 Horseman Red Chipper Posts: 28 ✭✭
    Matt and Imperator,

    I agree with most of what you're saying. I believe that "once you find your passion, the money will follow." I also believe that most choices humans make are out of fear.

    As a husband and father, I work more than 40 hrs. weekly in my regular employment. I also have rental properties that I own and manage. This takes up a lot of my time. Add to that playing poker approximately 20 hrs. and studying another 4-5 hrs. I cannot justify playing and studying poker for 20-25 hrs weekly without my family benefiting from it. My family gains monetarily so morally I can justify spending the time away from them. I would never play a game that takes me away from my family solely for personal enrichment. That would be selfish on my part. Therefore, I would never play poker if the game didn't have a money component. So, I agree that we should search for enlightenment and try to change the world for the better, but sometimes in life as in poker, you need to pick your spots. Spending time with my family and teaching my daughter the values we three seem to agree upon might have an impact on the world. Giving my daughter those opportunities to succeed and enlighten both herself and others are priceless to me.

    Imperator, you asked me a question concerning my thought process while playing; if I am thinking about my daughter's education and cost when making a decision on the felt? Answer is never. I am trying to make correct decisions. Sometimes a correct decision is to 3 barrel bluff, sometimes it is to fold on the river. I have to be comfortable losing what I bring to the casino. So, if I bring $3,500 to play in the $5/$5 or $5/$10 game then I need to be ok with sometimes walking to the garage with nothing in my pockets. I only think about the money on the drive home. I try to decompress and get whatever feelings I have out of my system so that when I get home my wife will not know whether I won or lost (she does ask from time to time). I am usually more upset when I make mistakes. Getting sucked out on I have no control over and have a relative calm when it occurs because I understand it. I also take breaks from the table and try to make it a habit. It makes it easier to quit a session.

    Matt, question for you. When in your poker career did the money not matter? We are at different points in our journeys through both poker and life so I'm sure the more I play and understand the game, the more my thinking will change in how to prepare both at and away from the table.