It’s just luck

by PokerAnon ~ March 27th, 2011. Filed under: Gambling, Poker psychology.

What gives you a kick when you play poker? What are the situations that you really enjoy about playing the game?  Common answers:

  • winning a big pot,
  • making a big bluff,
  • calling a big bluff with your reads,
  • encouraging a maniac to give you his entire stack.

I ran across a player in the 2+2 forum who claimed that he liked making the big fold. I don’t know about most people, but making a big fold is painful to me. There’s always a chance that I’m being bet off my hand and that possibility makes folding painful. The statement came from a player who apparently can’t beat $10nl which I think is an expected result of his weak play style.

But I’m always interested in what other poker players think and feel about the game. Here’s a quote from a player who used to deposit regularly and play with half his bankroll at low stakes because the mini-micro stakes didn’t seem exciting to him. He says:

“I loved the gamble of winning an all-in being a massive under dog … it was exciting as playing roulette”

It’s a nice feeling, I guess, hitting your two or three outer and winning a hand. My usual emotional reaction when it happens to me is either vindication, when the player holds a hand that he shouldn’t have been playing to begin with like K2 on a K62 flop and I raised pre with AK and the board later pairs counterfeiting his two pair, or embarrassment, if I respect the other player or made a really bad play to get there. Example: I raised under the gun and had four callers (two of whom were loose fish) before the big blind 3 bet, I thought he might be just trying to take the dead money and I shoved my JJ, called by the two fish with garbage but running into his KK, and sucked out by hitting a set. I don’t think my interpretation was awful but I apologized anyway and explained my thinking.

I don’t play roulette. I don’t buy lottery tickets. That, plus the fact that I understand a lot more poker than the player that I quoted might explain why I don’t think or react the way the player I quoted describes his reaction to winning as an underdog.

When a sports team works a strategy and puts in a super effort to beat a top team I can applaud the thinking and effort. But when it’s just luck, it’s just, well … luck. There isn’t nearly as much reason to cheer. I guess that’s why I don’t play roulette.

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