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The narrative fallacy (lol blogaments)

1 comment ● 2011-01-08

"If you work in a randomness-laden profession...you are likely to suffer burnout effects from that constant second-guessing of your past actions in terms of what played out subsequently. Keeping a diary is the least you can do in these circumstances." - Nassim Taleb

I just read Taleb's The Black Swan, about high-impact rare events, their unpredictability, and the self-delusion of experts (particularly in economics) who convince themselves and others they have something meaningful to say about the future, despite all past evidence to the contrary. Like Taleb's first book Fooled By Randomness, I definitely recommend it to anyone in the "randomness business", for while his books are enjoyable and important in their own right, as poker players I think we can naturally relate to his points more than most. So in an effort to circumvent some of those burnout effects, I thought I'd engage in the narrative fallacy (imposing non-existent meaning and ordering through a story) and start this blog.

This is something I've felt ambivalent about doing for a while. For one thing, I'm unconvinced the world needs another poker player sharing their thoughts on the interwebz (even one as insightful and interesting as me, ldo), and for another, I'm conflicted about cultivating a public profile. So this might remain a one-off.

I'm as excited about poker as I have been for at least 12 months. Will be flying into Melbourne next week for the Aussie Millions, and playing pretty much a full schedule for the first time. That may or may not include the main event, depending on whether I can bink an online satellite on Sunday, or possibly a live satellite in Melbourne. Then it's straight home for ANZPT Adelaide. By mid-February, I suspect I will either be hating myself for wasting so much time and money or finally feeling a sense of vindication for having gone down the live donkament path. We shall see.

Either way, I intend to learn from the lessons of last year and make online cash games the main focus. Last year, I logged ~95k hands of online cash - rather pitiful even by the standards of a low volume player. For no good reason, I found it difficult to focus on live donkaments and cash at the same time, and whenever I was at home found myself complacent and preferring to do other things. Fortunately, returning to cash games in the latter part of December reminded me how costly that attitude was, how much I enjoy playing (and not just studying) poker, and how much better I feel about myself when logging hands regularly.

A quick bio, because if you've read this far, you're obviously dying to know. The screen name - Choparno - was an insult used by a filthy but entertaining old Lebanese character named Michel when I first started playing live (4/8 limit holdem, remember that game?) in Adelaide circa 2005. Someone would suck out on him, and he'd say "puh, choparno!" Apparently, it meant "goat herder" - though I have never verified either the spelling or the definition.

Having got absolutely nowhere at limit, I switched to NL towards the end of '06 and worked my way up through the online cash game ranks while completing a social sciences degree out of personal interest. Finishing uni in '08, in '09 I started satelliting into a few live tourneys for something different, and after realising how easy it was, tried to satellite into as many as I could in 2010 (went to Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Vegas, Queenstown, Manila, Auckland, Darwin, Macau, and Cebu).

In 2010 I also dabbled in online tournaments, to my bankroll's detriment - I jumped straight into HSMTTs cos I was rolled for them (and like all cash players, naturally assumed everyone playing MTTs sucked), made some basic range mistakes, studied, learned a lot, dabbled a bit more, made fewer mistakes, lost more money. I'm aware that every tournament player thinks they run bad (due to the confirmation bias - we remember the instances that confirm our hypothesis when villain hits his 2-outer, but not all the times that disconfirm it when he doesn't), and I'm no different - it's possibly variance, possibly way too small a sample size, possible I'm missing something.

Whatever it is, the online MTT experience has sadly begun poorly, and for the time being at least will remain something I do only occasionally. Live MTTs, on the other hand, have begun just satisfactorily enough to give me encouragement I can do well at them - whether or not this is a fallacy is yet to be determined. I enjoy the challenge, so I plan to satellite into as much as I can on the local circuit in 2011. Success at the Aussie Millions would of course inspire much more confidence and optimism.

Targets for the year are 300k hands of 5/10 6max (not too likely, but as long I'm playing sessions regularly, I'll be happy), and winning a live donkament for six figures (who knows).

Taleb is right. I feel better already.

Comments (1)

  • annettedn
    annettedn 12-19-2011 03:29

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