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Poker Reality: It’s money you are putting at risk, but…
There are information on bankroll management and requirements for starting a bankroll, but I believe that the most important aspect of bankroll risk management is what meaning you place on the money.
How do you feel about the money you’re spending on a particular game or hand?
If the money you gamble with has no meaning to you, you will be a better IDN POKER player. You won’t play as well if the money has meaning for you. This is true even for tournament chips with no face value.
Two years ago, I went on vacation. The flight had a two-hour layover in Las Vegas. I wasn’t going to sit at the airport. I went outside and hopped on the first van. The driver then asked me “Where are you going?” I answered, “Your first stop.”
I made my first stop at the Monte Carlo Casino. I entered the casino, searched for the poker room and requested a seat at any of the tables. It was a $2-$4 limit game of hold’em. Since everyone in the Bay Area is no fold’em hold’em, I loathe the $2-$4 limit.
I took my place, purchased a rack and felt that the money was meaningless to me. I was willing to lose the $100 rack.
Surprised, the players in this low-level limit game folded to my raises. Although I was only able to stay for one hour, almost all of the plays I made worked. Opponents folded if I didn’t have anything at the river. If I had the nuts, I would be called. I won nearly $200 without any premium starting hands.
When I returned to the van, I wondered “Why am I so successful?”
Daniel Negreanu wrote an article about Nutbar. It is a great exercise in hand reading. You raise pre-flop in every hand and attempt to outplay your opponents. He said that most of the money you were going play with would be lost. The idea was to teach you how to take control of a table and how to read your opponents to make sure you win pots.
I purchased a limit game for $6-12 and received a $200 rack. After 10 hands, I had about $150. But eventually, I lost it all.
Daniel was correct when he learned about Nutbar. However, when I left the table, I discovered that there was something more. It was gone when I put the money in play. I had no emotional connection. It made me a better player of poker. My game was transformed once I started winning. The chips were now money. Since I was so far ahead in such a short time, I started to think about the money.
Another example of tournament play:
Even though the buy-ins of $200 or $20 are long gone, I still see the same thing in tournament poker. Players become hesitant about their chips after a certain amount of blinds. They think they can cash 10,000 tournament chips for $10,000. The chips have an emotional connection that is not present before. “I’m close to cashing so I need to be more cautious now.” In thinking about the payouts when I get close to the bubble, I’m also at fault. Bubble play has received so much attention.
Your emotional connection to money
These are just a few examples of my point:
1. You should never play poker if the amount you have in your account has any emotional consequences. You won’t be able to play at your best.
2. You should not treat the chips as cash. They are just chips with no value. You should not get too involved in potential payoffs as it could affect your play.
You don’t need to feel any emotional attachment to the chips or cash you have. These things will make you play better. Chips are supposed to make you forget all about the money backing them.
Are you sure that the money of the top pro gamers is linked to the same thing as you and me? No. Gus Hansen lost over $200,000 in an Omaha online game. It took me 30 seconds. How would you feel? I think Gus felt a little bummed. You and I would both be sick, but more sick than we are.
Gus will be able to purchase as much stuff with $200,000 as you would. Gus doesn’t link that money to his emotions the same way as you. Different thoughts and feelings can result. Gus sees them as chips that can be gambled. It’s $200,000 of freaking money just lost to you and me.
Bankroll management is an important aspect of managing your bankroll. However, you should also consider how you feel about the money you spend. You won’t play optimal poker if it has any emotional consequence. It doesn’t matter if the $200 or $20 has no financial meaning for you. It is your emotional connection that drives your decisions.
It is said that you shouldn’t gamble with money that you cannot afford to lose. It’s okay. You shouldn’t gamble to the point where your emotions get in the way of your poker decisions. You won’t be a great poker player if the money you lose is insignificant.
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