Why the brutal nature of tournament poker should actually give you hope.
You have to be kind of crazy to play tournament poker for a living
— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) February 28, 2017
In other words, if you play tournament poker for a living you have to make peace with the fact that most of your work days are going to suck. So naturally, those of us who accept that fact and press forward with our MTT grind anyway, are by nature, a bit crazy.
Playing successful tournament poker requires putting in huge amounts of volume. The swings can be absolutely brutal bordering on soul-crushing. Consider the fact that even the best tournament players in the world only make money in around 15% of tournaments. 20% is sometimes possible for low stakes grinders who play against softer competition, but even then, those players are failing 80% of the time.
You should also consider that it takes between 10,000-20,000 tournaments to accrue a relevant sample size (depending on who you ask), so the ‘short term’ in poker can actually be incredibly long. Tournament pros have to accept the fact that they can easily have losing months. In fact, it’s normal for even the best players to have stretches of multiple losing months in a row.
It takes a specific type of individual to bust 20 tournaments in a row with the best hand and wake up the next day full of energy and optimism to do it all over again. Most ‘sane’ people would give up long before playing enough tournaments to realize the equity of whatever edge they might have. Conversely, poker history is littered with the debris of failed careers that started out with an unsustainable run of good luck over a small sample size. So many players fail to fully understand how long upswings and downswings can last, and wrongfully equate their short-term results with unrealistic expectations about their abilities (good or bad).
And this is exactly where your opportunity lies.
Most people don’t have the stomach for this shit. Most would rather move on to something safer, something more stable.
Be the one who keeps coming. The one who never gives up. Be the psycho who can take all the bad beats and cold decks this game throws at you. Save the bad beat stories for the fish. Let them be the ones whining about running KK into AA three tournaments in a row.
Pros keep their mouths shut and keep playing. They fire up the next tournament and continue making good decisions. Pros have grit.
This game is about mental toughness, it’s about mastering yourself. Anyone with enough motivation and relatively decent intelligence can learn the math and theory aspects of poker with enough study. However, all the math and game theory chops in the world mean nothing if you’re mentally soft.
The people who make it in this game are the ones who want it the most. The ones who take all the bull-shit that variance can offer and never let it affect their decision making.
So if you want to play poker for a living, the opportunity is there. Trust me, I’m no math genius. I’m no psychic wizard. I’m just a fucking crazy person who’s always gonna keep firing that next tournament. How about you?
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