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Understand yourself to be a successful poker player : Part 1

[ Posted November 22nd, 2009 ] by contract

Irrespective of which career you may be looking to choose, you are going to have to ask yourself some very serious questions if you are to avoid moving into a career that is unsuitable for you. For instance people who are squeamish at the sight of blood should really avoid the medical profession. People who lose control very quickly should avoid occupations like the police force or the armed forces. People who have no patience should avoid careers where they are in the presence of small children and the list could go on and on.

Many people drop out of college or university simply because they have lost interest in the subject that they are studying. Quite often this is the result of students not fully understanding themselves and failing to pick the course that is appropriate to their true interests. Many people are quick to analyze and judge others, but tend to be rather reticent about turning the magnifying glass on themselves.

This article could just as easily apply to bricks and mortar play as it does to online poker or any other field of endeavor for that matter. But its importance cannot be understated because if you do not totally understand yourself then you will not succeed in poker or any other profession for that matter. There is a very famous saying that goes,

“True wisdom is to know the extent of one’s own ignorance”

As we go through life we tend to constantly make assessments not only about other people but also about ourselves. Human nature being what it is, we tend to over estimate our own abilities and under estimate those of other people and especially in areas where we perceive ourselves to be good. This is especially the case where no cast iron tests of a person’s ability in a given field exist. Experienced drivers do not take tests to ascertain their driving skill for instance. There are no tests that will indicate just how good a father you are to your children or how good you are in bed for that matter.

Yet these are all areas where most people never ever get to find out the real truth about themselves. Outsiders tend to have a much better picture of us than we do but most keep their views and opinions of us to themselves and especially if they feel that their views may be offensive or could hurt our feelings in some way.

As you go through life, irrespective of just what activity you happen to be doing, one thing is almost a cast iron certainty…..you are not as good at it as you think you are! This principle applies perfectly to poker because no firm guidelines exist that notify us when the time has arrived that we are now good enough to earn money at it.

We instinctively know that we need to be a good or even a very good player to succeed at poker but at what point do we become good and who out there is going to let us know that we have reached that stage. You can see the complexity of the problem. In poker knowing your strengths will enable you to earn money but knowing your weaknesses is just as important as it is this that enables you to save money.

If I can use myself as an example for one minute. I tend to suffer from lapses in concentration after about three to four hours of playing. It is for this reason that I do not play poker tournaments. This form of poker does not allow you the flexibility to start and stop playing whenever you want. I will always stop playing after four hours at the very most and especially if I am playing online because the sensory input is nowhere near as great in that poker arena.

I am fairly certain that I would have wasted my time playing poker tournaments where my edge would be minimal at best. The fact that I have recognised this weakness in my character has enabled me to be very successful in cash games because this is where I concentrate my efforts.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson can also be seen on his blog at www.pokersharkpool.com

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