Sunday, May 16, 2010

1st half of May recap

I'm pretty happy with how May is shaping up thus far. I've put in some pretty decent volume(300 games) and have gotten some good results. I took yesterday completely off of poker after a frustrating prior 2 days where I put in 35 games in each day, only to lose money each day. Now I feel refreshed and ready to do a bit of grinding again. Prior to those 2 losing days however I had 10 straight winning days. Streaks like that are always nice but seem to so seldom happen to me anymore. Bitchy variance. Even having 5 winning days in a row is kind of tough. It's not like the $115's where it seemed I always had streaks like that. I guess it's just a testament to the slightly higher competition at my current levels. It increases variance a bit.

My May HU stats so far:

Games Played: 298
Avg Stake: $269
Avg Profit: $28.29
Total Profit: $8,430

With everything else added in my total profit comes out to about $9,700 so far.

I'm gonna try to put in about the same amount of volume, hopefully with the same sort of results. Bring on the 20k month!

OK, change of subject.

I really hate the term "professional gambler" and I find I'm somewhat annoyed when someone refers to me as one. I usually find myself correcting them and saying that I'm not a professional gambler, I'm a professional poker player, followed by me trying to explain why I don't consider what I do gambling, usually followed by puzzled looks or a response of "well it takes skill but you still need to be pretty lucky don't you?". It's impossible to try to explain to people that nobody is lucky or unlucky, at least not in the long term. Luck is something that can only be talked about in the past tense. If you get you're chips in the middle and are 40% to win, you are going to win an average of 40% of the time no matter who you are. But I don't think a lot of people really understand this. So many people think that there are actually "lucky" and "unlucky" people. It blows my mind. Sure if somebody wins the lottery you can say, "Wow, they got lucky!", and you would be right. However like I said, it can only be used in the past tense. If they buy another lottery ticket the odds of them winning again are the same as any other person. To actually say that the laws of probability do not apply to a particular person is beyond ridiculous. It would be like saying the law of gravity does not apply to a particular person.

"Holy shit! Look at that! That dude is just floating through the air!"

"Yeah, the law of gravity doesn't apply to him."

Saying that a person wins more than their share of coin flips, or hits more flush draws or straight draws than somebody else in the long term is really just as ridiculous as the above mini conversation.

This brings me back to the reason I dislike the "professional gambler" term. I'm not sure how anything can be considered gambling when you have a long term positive expectation in the game. The definition of gamble is "to play at any game of chance for money or other stakes". For the professional poker player, poker is not a game of chance. I mean do the short term swings the pro goes through make what he does gambling? Even if they have shown positive results month after month, year after year? I don't think so because the pro knows how to use proper bankroll management and keeps his ego in check enough to stop him from playing higher then he should based on his bankroll. This is how he combats the short term swings that come with our game.

I realize though that it is probably a good thing that many people group poker in with games of chance like slots, roulette, craps, etc. It makes people think of it as a gambling game and many people treat it just like that when they play. I will say for many people it is gambling. For most people they treat it like any other form of gambling and are just as better off playing slots as they are poker. They have a negative expectation in both games.

Besides, to say a particular person is "lucky" and that's the reason they win at poker would be to insinuate that they could play games like roulette or slot machines and win long term. They are basically saying that me, or any other pro player could just sit at a slot machine 40 hours a week and win money long term. Sorry, doesn't quite work like that. Let me know when you find a professional slot machine player, or a professional roulette player. Although, you probably would get about the same reaction from a lot of people if you said you were a professional slot machine player, as you would a professional poker player.

I also realize that a lot of people don't really believe the stuff they spout off. It's just that many people have played poker themselves and tried to take it seriously but just didn't have what it took to beat the game. It's so much easier for people to say they were unlucky as opposed to not good enough.

I guess the main reason I dislike the "professional gambler" term, other than it being a complete oxymoron, is that it almost feels like a way to put down full time players. A way to say that someone is just lucky, and how nice it must be, and not giving them credit for the incredible amount of discipline, dedication, study, and intelligence it takes to play a game like this for a living. I never hear anyone refer to what the stock market players, day traders, or swing traders do as "gambling". Nope, that's not gambling is it? What they do is called "investing", when really the day to day swings, although I can't say for sure, are probably just as, if not more brutal than that of what a full time poker player goes through. Using the term "investing" makes it sound more legit and smart, while using the term "gambling" carries a negative connotation that makes it sound dirty and unintelligent.


I understand that people who know nothing about poker are always going to group it in with other forms of gambling. They are all played for money and involve an element of chance. I just felt like spouting off a bit.

Kinda went off on a tangent a bit there. I'm out!!!



mattroth said...

Good post man. But seriously, the laws of gravity don't apply to me.

Brian said...

yeah man, I always feel awkward when being asked by people what I'm up to now or if I found a job. I don't like saying poker player because, as you said, they just don't get it and try to belittle in their mind. I tend to just say I do some stuff online and leave it as vague as possible unless they ask further questions.

Anonymous said...

Preach it brother!