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  #141  
Old 11-21-2007, 08:04 AM
Sciolist Sciolist is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

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Also, I think that top chess players are better at chess than basically anyone is at anything, and I don't think poker will be that way any time soon.

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I agree with this completely too. If you look at the effort and complexity of thought required to be at the top of chess, or perhaps something like maths (or any science), it's so far from what we do right now that it doesn't even bear comparison.

However, it's highly unlikely that there will be (m)any more huge improvements of play in poker, it'll probably just be a series of small adjustments. I say this because there are already a large number of smart people working on the game and we're fairly close to solving a few forms: Think ICM, think headsup limit. Adding things in that we don't already - wider use of sophisticated analysis, better fitness, better directed learning - I don't think they'll shift the poker landscape all that far.

Thus everyone will get closer and closer in skill level and the rake will become a bigger and bigger factor. Who cares if I'm 1% better than you if neither of us can beat the rake any more? Whoever is amongst the best in five years will be better than whoever is best now, but if they came back to our games today they'd not win more than 10 or 20% more than people do today.

Even now, rake is typically about 5ptbb/100 at SSNL, which is the same as the good win rates. I think that the gap between the best players and the new players will become big enough that the new players won't come in to the games fast enough to stop them becoming too tough to beat.
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  #142  
Old 11-21-2007, 03:38 PM
jogsxyz jogsxyz is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

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However, it's highly unlikely that there will be (m)any more huge improvements of play in poker, it'll probably just be a series of small adjustments. I say this because there are already a large number of smart people working on the game and we're fairly close to solving a few forms: Think ICM, think headsup limit. Adding things in that we don't already - wider use of sophisticated analysis, better fitness, better directed learning - I don't think they'll shift the poker landscape all that far.

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The next massive see change in poker will be to change the betting structure. Assuming the public actually wants to see the best players win. Reduce the luck factor.
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  #143  
Old 11-21-2007, 03:44 PM
jogsxyz jogsxyz is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

Brandon Adams says:

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I was talking with a friend of mine whoís one of the best no-limit players in the world. He told me that in two years, the crop of top no-limit players would be scary, much better than those at the top of the game today. I agree with him. Perhaps these players are already out there, but donít yet have the bankroll to play in the big games (an unfortunate requisite for being considered a top player). Or maybe theyíve yet to turn twenty-one.

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I'm not convinced the top players will be that much better. But the level of play of the average players will improve dramatically. Every cycle the bad players quit and the better players keep playing. The game will be tougher.
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  #144  
Old 11-21-2007, 09:19 PM
JanelleBB7 JanelleBB7 is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

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Forget for a moment the degeneracy that surrounds poker. The poker world is rife with addiction, drug and alcohol use, depression, and sleep deprivation, but we will ignore for a moment the effect of these things on oneís abilities over time. I believe that there is something inherent in the game of poker that makes it difficult for one to steadily increase oneís ability over time. Namely, I think that the chief attraction of the game- itís ability to kick up adrenaline and other stress chemicals- actually subtly damages the brains of poker players, making it difficult for them to study their game and improve over time. There are mounds of evidence suggesting that even relatively mild stress can damage the brainís frontal lobes and impair learning and memory.

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Wow this really discourages anyone from ever wanting to be a professional poker player. [img]/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]
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  #145  
Old 11-21-2007, 11:10 PM
SEABEAST SEABEAST is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

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Perhaps someone will come along in poker and make our current beliefs about maximum win rates, ROI and variance look naive.

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he's already here, he's called themetetron

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omg lmao
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  #146  
Old 11-22-2007, 12:42 AM
jk3a jk3a is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

It never ceases to amaze me the number of well-educated, intelligent people that make matter of fact like statements professing the overwhelming edge that live players have vs. online players in a live/deep setting.

Enough all ready. The biggest long-term winners in online poker have played WAY more hands against MUCH tougher competition than the biggest long-term live winners.

This is not to say that there aren't many very, very good players live, but I'm certain that they don't have any significant edge against the best online players.
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  #147  
Old 11-22-2007, 01:10 AM
beanie beanie is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

I would love to see more options like 3 blind games online. That is the great thing about technology, if the games get tougher change the game a bit, the good players should adjust.
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  #148  
Old 11-22-2007, 04:50 AM
mo42nyy mo42nyy is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

Let say that online games are tougher than live games (defintly true at lower levels)
People are still making a mistake by saying that anyone that can beat online games can beat live games or that anyone who can't beat live games also cant beat online games for many reasons.
For example online players may not have the pateince to beat the far easier live games after getting only 30 hands an hour.
Someone could also have a great fundamental understanding of poker, but be a complete tell box and get slaughtered live.


As for Brandons post:
You guys are making it out to be a lot more infortative than it actually is. He makes a lot of false assumtions in it and generates a lot of false conclusions based on these assumptions.
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  #149  
Old 11-26-2007, 04:51 PM
Poker Clif Poker Clif is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs online)

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This seems to fit well into the Sklansky discussion. It's a short column I wrote for Bluff (in the past I've previewed those columns here).

I told Kenny that Nick Schulman is the most obvious exception to his argument. As I discuss below, there aren't that many live players who are deeply, deeply talented. Kenny is one; it is hard to bring others to mind. It is true that the best live players would torture the best online players in deep live NL. The online players are analytically superior, allowing them to play early streets better, but these advantages will be buried by their inferior play on the later streets, especially the river. No NL player puts their money in better on the river than Kenny Tran. His reads are staggering. I've heard the same thing about Ivey, but I only have fifteen hours of play with him, so I can't confirm it.

As I discuss below, most of live NL is about game selection and life management.

The Life Cycle of a Poker Player
Brandon Adams

I was talking with a friend of mine whoís one of the best no-limit players in the world. He told me that in two years, the crop of top no-limit players would be scary, much better than those at the top of the game today. I agree with him. Perhaps these players are already out there, but donít yet have the bankroll to play in the big games (an unfortunate requisite for being considered a top player). Or maybe theyíve yet to turn twenty-one.
My friendís view was that he should maximize his win while heís at the top of the game, and then move out of the way a bit when the new crop takes over. This is smart, forward-looking bankroll management. No telling how many top players in times past failed to recognize when their time was up.
Iíve seen a lot of the high stakes poker landscape over the last couple of years. My observation is that poker has really yet to see a full package of talents. Thereís no Roger Federer of poker. Usually the top players excel in one or two aspects of the game, and then are merely very good in the other aspects. You will see analytical brilliance in Brian Townsend or Phil Galfond; you will see incredible instincts in Phil Ivey or Kenny Tran; you will see unmatched poker knowledge and speed of thought in Barry Greenstein. But you will not see all of these things in the same person. Itís inevitable that people who put together these talents will rise. There is a new level of money and status in the game right now attracting potential comers, and the talent pool is increasingly international.
Let me take a giant leap and compare skill levels across two entirely different games, poker and chess. It seems to me that in poker, no one has ever reached the level of mastery reached by the top chess players. The level of skill that Gary Kasparov in his prime exhibited on a chess table has never been matched by anyone on the green felt. This is open to argument, but I believe it to be obviously true and I think there is a deep reason for it. Poker wears people down.
Forget for a moment the degeneracy that surrounds poker. The poker world is rife with addiction, drug and alcohol use, depression, and sleep deprivation, but we will ignore for a moment the effect of these things on oneís abilities over time. I believe that there is something inherent in the game of poker that makes it difficult for one to steadily increase oneís ability over time. Namely, I think that the chief attraction of the game- itís ability to kick up adrenaline and other stress chemicals- actually subtly damages the brains of poker players, making it difficult for them to study their game and improve over time. There are mounds of evidence suggesting that even relatively mild stress can damage the brainís frontal lobes and impair learning and memory.
Itís well known that brain function (especially the ability to learn new skills) declines with age, starting at about age nineteen. Iím speculating that poker accelerates this process, but we should expect strong life cycle tendencies even if this is not the case. In the academic realm, specialists in different disciplines peak at different ages, depending on the relative importance in their particular field sheer processing power (IQ) versus accumulated knowledge. In fields where processing power weighs very heavily (math, for instance), academics peak very young (around 25). In fields, such as history, where accumulated knowledge weighs heavily, the peak occurs at age fifty or later.
I think that online poker is much more processing-intensive than live poker and depends much less on accumulated knowledge (about behavioral tendencies, for example). Itís not surprising that the top online players tend to be much younger than the top live players. My guess is that the expected peak for a serious online player would be 24 or so, and the expected peak for a live player would be around 33. I would further expect the skills of the live player to fall off more slowly after the peak than the skills of the online player.
I donít think itís too hard to paint the picture of the perfect poker player. First and foremost, he (or she) has to be born with an instinct for the game. There are some people who simply have the game in their blood. Everyone develops their hand-reading and people-reading skill over time, but only people with strong innate talents are capable of developing these skills to a world-class level. Second, he must be very smart, with an excellent memory and high quantitative and analytical aptitude. Third, he must protect his talent and smarts with good life management. I agree with Patrik Antoniusí view that top players of the future will also need to be extremely fit.
The fourth and fifth attributes of the perfect poker player are not consistent with the attributes of a well-rounded person. The perfect poker player must use the years when he peaks intellectually (around age nineteen) to study the game as deeply as possible. This includes the study of the tools, such as game theory and probability theory, that one can apply in poker. The final attribute is that, in oneís twenties, one must be focused on gaining as much poker experience as possible. As long as we are exploring the antisocial: a possible sixth attribute of the perfect player is that he is unmarried.
Poker is not yet sick enough that people consciously set out on paths such as the one suggested above. By chess and tennis standards, the path outlined above would be picture of restraint. This surely is one of the reasons those worlds produce talents of the Federer-Kasparov caliber. It is only a matter of time before poker training takes on this level of intensity.
The online world has an additional complication related to the existence of hand-analyzing software. People who donít have facility with the newest and best tools will lose out to those who do. Failure to keep up technologically can lead to oneís demise.
On a practical level, a poker player should always try to keep his ego in check and rationally assess his relative skill level. Further, the concept of bankroll management should be expanded to a consideration of how oneís relative skill level is likely to evolve over time.

Brandon Adams

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FWIW, here is the perspective and strategic poker plan of a 53-year-old "young gun". I started out in April 2007 with a few months of play money, a few months playing mostly $1 SNG, and I moved up to $5 SNG this month.

First, I agree that the top chess players have it all over the top poker players. I was a mediocre tournament chess player for a while, and I quickly figured out that I didn't have what it takes to any more than maybe the best player in my city.

It goes without saying that chess players have to have great strategic and analytical skills, and I do pretty well there. I have the brains (IQ 154) and the strategic mindset for chess.

However, besides the strategic abilities, the amount of memorization needed is staggering. An aspiring top chess player doesn't study Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, he memorizes it. If you don't know a whole bunch of openings at least 10-15 moves deep (we're talking about many thousands of possible combinations), you're at a severe disadvantage to any of the world's top 1,000 players.

You probably all know about Havad Kahn playing 26 simultaneous SNG on PokerStars. Well, top chess players will take on that many players or more at the same time, and sometimes play blindfolded (having to memorize the position of all of the pieces on every board) against multiple players as well.

So, no, poker isn't there yet, not by a longshot.

My memorization skills are below average, perhaps because having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) makes it difficult to concentrate on such a boring task for long periods of time. But I can keep working at it, and I believe that the acquired skill set is extremely important.

I'm always making and studying sets of flash cards. That could be odds/outs/percentages, different starting hand systems, and just about any kind of chart (comparative hand strengths, odds of flopping/turning/rivering certain kinds of hands, odds of being best with x hand against y opponents, etc, etc.

A lot of the above can be done somewhat by "feel" (as Jennifer Harmon has said), but just like a good musician is always working on the fundamentals (Yo-Yo Ma has been known to practice scales for six hours at a time), a grounding in the fundamentals is a necessary grounding for just about anything. (It has been said that football is a simple game, all about running and tackling, throwing and catching).

Besides all the memorized information, I am forcing myself out of my comfort zone, and methodically, one skill at a time, working on things that go against my conservative nature. This includes stealing, bluffing, and randomization of raises and calls.

Despite five college math courses, I was overwhelmed by The Mathematics of Poker, so at some point I'll probably take a game theory class to add to my skills in those areas.

Of course I am always reading and studying the literarture. The next two books on my poker reading list are Moshman's SNG book, and HOH Vol 2.

I also agree that physical conditioning is absolutely necessary. I ran a marathon once, and I plan to get in that kind of shape again. Also, it will become harder to be successful and drink alcohol and play, and to play without enough sleep--as players get better it will get harder to have an edge, and everything will matter.

I don't drink alcohol and I have a running and military background, so the discipline of training is right up my alley.

I believe that you have to play for about 12 hours to win the PokerStars Sunday Millions, and of course a live tournament of any size will have very long sessions. You can't do that without being physically and mentally prepared.

On top of that, I'm going to carefully observe all of the bankroll and moving up strategies. I will concentrate on moving up as soon as I'm ready (but not before), as playing more than two tables isn't comfortable for me.

Also, I like to take very detailed notes, sometimes a couple paragraphs on what moves one player did in one tournament. You just can't do that while mutitabling.

The above wasn't exactly flowing writing, but it gives you an idea how this old/new player approaches the game.

I'll probably never play in the WSOP Main Event, and if I do, my grandchildren will almost certainly not see me on TV at the final table. But in any competitive endeavor, there are only so many that are willing to do the work to be good-to-great, and as long as I'm one of those, I'll do just fine and make a nice chunk of change.
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  #150  
Old 11-26-2007, 05:00 PM
Poker Clif Poker Clif is offline
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Default Re: The Life Cycle of a Poker Player (and my thoughts on live vs onlin

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brandon adams and kenny tran are both DOWN money playing online...if you cant win online you shouldnt be putting yourself in a category above online. While there may be an added element to play live (an element barry greenstein says is widely overrated), online is very straight up and real poker and neither player is successful there. this makes their credibility in discussing the top players quite iffy.

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You don't have to have cancer to research/analyze/understand it...even if what you're saying is really true...which I'm not really corroborating.

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Well actually, in some ways, you do...since chess has been brought up...if no one kept track of results of chess players, who would you trust in telling you who the best players are? Kasparov who beat everyone he played? Or me, a decent player who studied the game? Am I in the position to determine who is the best? No, because if I knew what it meant to be the best, I would be the best. So, to claim you can assess who is best, without basing it on raw numbers, but on your observations as a player who can't win online yourself, credibility is lacking.

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Assessment and practice need not be mutually inclusive in the realm of understanding...and they're definately not exhaustive...

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For years, Indiana University had the best college swimming program in the country. Their coach could not swim.
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