Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's 6 months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week - just one - a gorp... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium.
- Crash Davis (a.k.a Kevin Costner).
What happens when everyone at the table is of equal skill, bankroll and drive?
HD got me thinking about this very question with his most provocative post.
Who will end-up with the money if not the rake box?
He with the most experience?
He with the most study time logged?
He with the best mix of book and table smarts?
He with the best simulation software? Perhaps, and likely, it will vary from each time such a rare occurrence materializes.
One day, David will win; another day, Ted will win; and then, yet another day, Doyle will win.Since it's so rare to find a table filled with players of equal strength, the point of "who will win today" can be reduced to "who is lucky today".
With Poker being as fashionable as it is in these euphoric times, the aforementioned point is academic -- BUT, coming soon to a theatre near you, after all the college kids have blown through their ambitions and student loans... after all the 9to5ers realize and re-embrace the value and security of direct deposit... after all the old-timers succumb to the finite shape of their nest eggs... after memories fade and "Moneymaker" resumes its rightful place as simply a noun followed by a verb... after all the dreamers have worn out their copies of the 2004 WSOP DVD... after the bulk of the Poker bloggers have disappeared or been given writing assignments... and after the government finally re-assesses its position on the lucrative online Poker industry, we will be very close to finding the answer to the question with which I began this post.
And I fear, the answer will be l-u-c-k.
All things being equal, and they will be over time, Poker results among equally equipped players will mirror those of equally equipped players meeting over a chess board.
A perfectly played game of chess from the White and Black sides will result in a Draw. Poker's version of the Draw is breaking-even (over a series of weeks, months & years), and becomes ultimately, a waste of time as an exercise in income generation.
To make a profit therefore, players facing-off amidst the threat of parity will need something more than education, experience or psychology (all attributes already in possession by the competition): A player will need to rely on the exact same force we rely on daily to avoid tragedy such as getting into car wrecks or infected with incurable diseases or getting laid-off.
L-U-C-K! Hard to fathom...I know. But look here:What's the difference between you getting to work on time, and the guy stuck on the subway in London this morning trying to do likewise?
What's the difference between the flexibility you're afforded to pick, choose & change your career path at a moment's whim, and the illegal day workers at the corner of my intersection hoping--praying even to get picked-up, and offered bashful payment in exchange for unabashed labor?
What's the difference between you sitting on your ass all day, abusing your liver, lungs and diet all night while never having to see the doctor, and the paraplegic in therapy all day just so he can walk to the bathroom on his own at night?
What's the difference between you cramming at the donut shop for a few hours before an exam to score an A-grade, and the guy at the library studying all week but scores a C-grade?What's the difference between a talented but fledgling writer winning a huge sum of money in a world class event, a veteran Poker Pro not finding an agent to publish his life's work?
Get it? There are fortunate people, and less fortunate. But in Poker, unlike other aspects of life, knowing where you stand will save you a bunch of grief, illness and maybe even your bankroll.
Is it that hard to believe, that there might be people out there in the Poker rooms of the world, who can't catch a river card to save their life? Who perennially get dealt the 2nd best hand? Who don't get back from their smoke break in time to see that they were dealt pocket aces? Who can't hit that 20:1 long shot to win that one pot that would have change it all? Who always get hunted down, but can't catch a kill themselves?
I don't think it's that hard to imagine. These are the less fortunate people who subsidize the Negreanu's, the Ivey's and the rest of the "fortunate". What if Daniel Negreanu's time is up? What if he never wins again? Did he not read enough books? Did he not run enough simulations? Did he spend too much time at the mall?
You know that feeling you get when after the flop, you're regrettably holding those miserable pocket-5's and then suddenly, you're flooded with the penetrating idea, that elusive gift of vision and clarity to know that the turn will bring a 5 of hearts?
I have a hauntingly similar feeling prompting me to guess that Mr. Negreanu and his home cooked lunches are gonna get whacked kind of early, or worse yet, whacked late in a very unceremoniously epic manner. I know one thing: His is one Blog I'll be following with extreme interest!In the meantime, players assured: The time remains ripe for books, software, experience, reflection and analysis. The 2005 WSOP main event begins today, and with it, the hopes and aspirations of new and existing players alike meshing together in a very addictive melody.
Good Luck to all of them.