I tweeted last night that I came home empty handed from my cash game...and looking back, I really should've skipped it. My daughter's out of school, but between swimming all day and shuttling to/from summer day camp events, she's come down with a summer cold that she graciously passed on to me. I thought twice about heading to the game, but I figured I could overcome the headache and play good poker. It didn't work out that way and I lost my buy-in. That wasn't fun and I learned a lesson about listening to my instincts and recognizing that it's best to skip playing if I'm really not going to be at my best. (Why is it that, in poker, lessons always have to be so expensive? I guess it's a lot like life.)
I'm getting excited about my Vegas trip, which is coming up at the end of this month. It's been a blast railing players via Twitter and I dug seeing @MariaHo score a second place finish in Event #4.
I loved her comment during a post-game interview:
On being female and playing in a competition largely dominated by men: I think in terms of my ability as a poker player and when people talk about great poker players, I hope someday to be in there in a gender-neutral way. But if my finish, and how I do, and any success in poker I have had is something that other females can share and enjoy and that will perhaps bring them into the game, then I feel happy to say I contributed to that. But at the end of the day, I want to be one of the best, male or female.
(you can find the entire article here, by Nolan Dolla for WSOP.com)
Her taking runner-up in this open field event was inspiring and I hope she runs as deep in the rest of her WSOP events.
I also got a kick out of @AllenBari's comments. Love him or hate him, I appreciated his comments about variance:
I would say if you play 150 tournaments over eight years, you are going to win a bracelet. The variance is absurd. I have come close to winning a million dollars four times in the past year. So, to get this is the best feeling in the world.
Barry Greenstein has commented on this subject before, too (from his book, Ace On the River, which he initially drafted in 2003, published in 2005):
Why do many of the same players do well in tournaments year after year? The main reason is that they are the ones playing in the most tournaments. If a record of entries was kept and a "batting average" were computed, the results would be more reflective of skill levels. Using a baseball analogy, let's say that finishing in the money is a single, finishing at the final table is a double, finishing in second place or third place is a triple, and winning is a home run. It is hard for a person with 20 at bats for the year to get as many total bases as someone who has 150 at bats.I wrote about this a bit after my trip to Vegas in February:
The poker media highlights these young, online phenoms and often makes it seem as though they plopped $5 into a Stars or Tilt account and ginned it up overnight to a kajillion dollar bankroll from which they've never gone busto. The truth is - the people you see online and live consistently running deep are people, generally young men, who are deliberately studying the game and using every tool available to them, working with a coach and/or crew of like-minded people when they’re not playing, and playing ungodly amounts of volume online, all day, every day, 365 days a year. To make a profit, there’s no other way to play this game – especially tournament poker due to the variance (I mean, look at the payouts - if you’re not scoring in the top three, “congratudolences” as @BJNemeth says…). and, on average, you’re going to bust 98+% of the tournaments you enter.One of the things I struggle with (and maybe you do, too) is helping my loved ones understand this concept. I don't *want* to go to Vegas and having nothing to show for it at the end of my trip...but what is the real likelihood of me cashing, final tabling, getting heads up, winning? It's a game of edges, isn't it? And while I won't be playing any WSOP events and therefore will probably not be up against the likes of Allen Bari and Maria Ho, the fact is, there will be many a good player in the fields I do choose to enter.
The only way I know to defend against the variance battle is to play as many events as I can, to the best of my ability. And that's why, pre-trip, I'm studying, playing on-line where I can, talking poker with my buddy @txcardslinger (who's started her own blog at All Things Texas), reviewing hands, and, of course, working with the flashcards, baby.
In the meantime, I hope you're running great and I hope to see you in Vegas. Good luck at the tables!