Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Know I’m Not Too Awesome Today

I'm tiredNot too much to say this morning, I’m afraid. Had a tidal wave of non-pokery stuff sweep over me the last couple of days. Lots of work-related matters suddenly crashing all around me. And some other, personal stuff, too.

All is well, but a bit tired today. And not too much to say.

If I had the energy, I might write a post that tried to respond earnestly to that Ed Miller column appearing in the most recent Card Player (Vol. 22, No. 5, dated March 17, 2008), titled “When Do I Know I’m Awesome?” I’ll add a link here when it eventually turns up over on the CP site. For now, you can read it on Miller’s blog, where he posted it yesterday. (Although I think eventually that will become unavailable.)

Since I lack the needed energy at the moment, I’m not going to get into the argument that deeply. As the title suggests, Miller is addressing that question of self-assessment, particularly with regard to whether or not one should consider moving up in stakes. As a long-time small-timer, it’s an issue over which I’m frequently fussing, for sure.

In his response to the question, Miller refuses to provide any sort of numerical formula about win rates or the like. Rather (he concludes) we’re talking a primarily psychological struggle here: “If you simply can’t get your brain there [to the higher stakes game], move down in stakes until you can.”

Along the way, Miller throws out a couple of premises for his argument regarding the psychology of poker. One is to say that despite being a “social game,” poker is essentially a “solitary exercise.” One reason for this is that “no one knows how much you’ve won or lost today, this week, or this month” -- probably true for most of us -- to which he adds “no one cares.” The latter may or may not be true for most of us, I’d think. But we get the point. For most intents and purposes, we’re on our own, for sure.

This solitary nature of the game leads Miller to his second premise, namely, that since we’re on our own it is often very difficult to tell how we’re doing. “There’s no good way to measure whether you’re a good player or not,” Miller claims, adding “It has to come from within.”

A little vague there, perhaps. (What is “it”?) Like I say, if I had more energy, I’d try more earnestly to unpack.

Even “Your results are irrelevant” when it comes to this business of self-assessment, says Miller. We’ve heard that before. And we’ve rejected it outright before, too. Even if we know we shouldn’t.

Interesting stuff. I’d like to think there are ways to measure our progress. But whatever they are, they take work. And energy. And focus. And will.

And well... I’m a little too tired today for that.

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