I received the following email:
” Rick, thanks for everything. I have been following you since the start of the nfl season and really enjoy your blog and your picks. I just read your poker comments and find them very informative of the playing environment in poker rooms. A couple of questions. How much do you rely on spreadsheets and how do you handle the dysfunctional personality’s you have to deal with daily?
Spreadsheets in my opinion are essential. You can not imagine how many poker players who do not keep records trick themselves into thinking they are making money. Humans and egos what they are its not very hard to imagine a losing player actually thinking he has been winning..or at the very least will end up winning.
After a few years keeping records of hours and the different games you have been playing in you will be able to tell your hourly rate, standard deviation, Biggest drawdown in terms of dollars and duration etc. These are all essential in deciding on what game to play in and after awhile even determining whether your a winning player. The numbers dont lie!!!!!!
I have said it a few times before that if you sit down in the game and listen to the players and believe what they say…every one is at least a big bet an hour player. But if every player was required to show his spreadsheet before the game…it would be a very quiet game…with some of the players not showing up not wanting to be embarrassed.
As far as dealing with the various dysfunctional personality types at the tables. That is the toughest in my opinion. Handling variance is easy, you accept the fact that you are going to be exposed to it..and handle it….there is no way to avoid it. But the poker environment is exactly opposite of what you wish to be exposed on a day by day basis. The healthiest environment mentally is to always be around positive, self supporting individuals.
The poker environment is completely opposite that. Many of the players are negative types that have unhealthy personality disorders or at the very least exhibit at times antisocial behavior. Now if you were a tourist and only came to play once in awhile it wouldn’t take its toll. Although I have had more then 1 tourist ask me how I can deal with many of the personality types that frequent the tables on a regular basis. But to be exposed to it daily….I have often asked myself if its worth it…but I enjoy the game so much that all you can do if you choose to go is ignore it.
Now saying that I have met some great people playing poker over the years and have made some strong bonds with many. I also enjoy many of the players who really have no damaged ego to defend or dysfunctional childhoods to compensate for. The players I enjoy are the ones that come to play, enjoy the game, and enjoy people. fortunately there are more of those then the other types.
I hope this gives you some insight…..and remember record keeping is essential if your serious about the game.