Grog's Blog Featuring his Dog
Before I get into the meat of this post, I'd just like to say I recorded a 3 part series the other day, all in one go. Lesson learned, Camtasia obviously lost very word I'd spoken. I then composed myself the day after, and re-recorded just an hour this time. Same result...... #onStrike
I'm going to Vegas on Wednesday. This is my 4th time, but the 1st that I'm certain I'm actually going to play a decent amount of live poker. I've dabbled a little every year of course, usually very drunk, very hungover, or both. I probably took it the most seriously last year, but I sulked off early after a few losing sessions and made some very live-specific mistakes.
I've played a few live sessions since and improved a lot, but I think getting down the obvious lessons learned and stuff is going to be of benefit........
1) Patience is a virtue, and indeed a skill.
I see this as a real important mindset leap to make. Too often you hear, 'well for sure I'm the best player at the table, but I get a little bored and make silly squeezes and stuff, I'd definitely win if only I could be a little more patient'. The simple remedy to this ludicrous frame of mind is remind yourself that patience in this arena is as much a part of the 'skill of poker' as any edge in technical knowledge we undoubtedly have on most players at the table.
If you're playing 5-10 live, and your name's Phil Galfond, but playing 50% of hands, calling 6x 3bets OOP with KQo, and simply unable to resist raising 64s UTG, then you're just not the best player at the table, despite what you might tell yourself.
2) Same as 1, but everything else
The point about not separating all the non technical stuff from the 'skill of poker' stands for a ton of stuff. I think patience is the most important, but being sober, awake, paying attention, not giving too much away about yourself (I always get the 'you play online?' Q) all obviously matters a great deal too. Basically have some pride in getting this stuff right and don't kid yourself that knowing what a range merge is makes you the bee's knees when you're getting so much basic poker stuff plain wrong.
3) Technical Stuff
I've come to see this as a pretty big deal, and hugely underrated by the majority of online players. I think the biggest and bestest live tell is the 'relaxed and excited' tell. I've a ton of examples, but I guess the recent HSP where FelixDuck felts QQ on T52r or something VS a fishy dude's set (with Bobbo's money ). What I couldn't comprehend about felting this hand, other than the obvious action, was the guy sitting there literally BUZZING. He was high as a kite, leaning forward (an important one), couldn't take the smile off his face. He just couldn't be loving life in that moment any more, and it was all clearly visible.
Faking this stuff is HARD. When big pots get going, only a very skilled dude is going to be able to sit there without a hand, leaning forward, chatting and joking and generally on cloud 9. This stuff matters!