Wednesday, May 09, 2012



If you're on Twitter you probably already know this, but if you aren't you might not, especially with 2+2 being down, but anyway I superbinked the Party Pokerfest $640 Main Event for $215k.  Superbink!

I did an interview with Pocketfives yesterday.  Here's the link.  I really wanted to talk about Narrative Fallacies, Selection Bias and so on but the interview was fairly brief and probably P5s isn't a receptive audience to that kind of thing.  I did manage to sneak in a rant about how online tournaments shouldn't last more than 12 hours without a proper (ie sleep) break.

Anyway, the Narrative Fallacy is pretty much what makes the poker media go round (and most of any other kind of media).  My friend and yours Nicholas Naseem Taleb defines it as follows (via

"The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them, or, equivalently, forcing a logical link, an arrow of relationship upon them. Explanations bind facts together. They make them all the more easily remembered; they help them make more sense. Where this propensity can go wrong is when it increases our impression of understanding."

This goes all the way back to tribesmen thinking that the drought was a punishment from the Gods for something they did (or even more invidiously something they didn't do).  This is basically how religion started, which should give you an idea of its power.  In this case, it would be the easiest thing in the world for me to say, here or in an interview, that I've been working on my game really hard and this is the culmination of that work.

I have been working on my game, not as hard as I'd like to claim, but harder than I have for a while.  However, all this one result proves is that I ran like Jesus for 700 hands.  I won all my flips, got it in good 2 or 3 times, all the usual stuff.  It's reminiscent of a TV tournament I played where I "cruised through the heat and semi" (won about 10 allins in a row) before "the wheels came off in the final" (lost 4 allins in a row).  What I did then was what I did on Sunday, i.e. played as well as I could and gave myself a better chance of winning than players who didn't play as well, but no more than that.

All you can do is play the best tournaments you can find and keep plugging away.  Over the course of a $90k downswing I can think of 3 or 4 occasions (including the exact same tournament last year IIRC) [1] where I didn't win the second-last or third-last flip and came up short.  Back in the day when Daniel Negreanu used to talk sense (it was a long time ago) he said that you can't treat a big win as a windfall, you have to treat it as a wage earned over all the tournaments you didn't win.  As the downswing lasted 3000 tournaments online, which is something like 1000-1500 playing hours, I can now say I've earned $120k over that time at around $100/hour.

For some more modern-day wisdom there was an exchange on Twitter I really liked earlier in the week, one of the younger players tweeted about being in a SCOOP final with his horse there too, loving the game!  Chris Moorman then said that wasn't loving the game, loving the game is grinding the $20 deepstack at 4am.  And he's dead right.  You need to have that love for the game to put in the supergrind, and I don't.  I think now I can accept that and, while I'm not going to retire from poker, I'm not going to play any $20 rebuys for a while because I just don't want to.  The whole point of this was doing what I want to do, and I'm very thankful that this result is going to allow me to do what I want for a while longer.

[1] I didn't RC at all.  It was a $640 on Party almost two years ago when they were running the tournament monthly.

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