Sit and Watch

I’m folding a lot. When I play poker, there are a lot of trash hands that I don’t want to deal with. Sometimes there are long stretches where I don’t get to play until the flop.

Currently, I spend most of the time studying my poker book. The rest of the time is divvied up between observing the other players and being distracted. My desk is really messy and needs constant cleaning. This is a huge contrast from my apartment, but my table was bigger than a desk. That was definitely one of my smarter decisions — forgoing a desk for a cheap table from Walmart. See what I mean about being distracted?

Ideally, I want to internalize more of the principles of good poker play. This can only come from playing more hands. I think it’s less about memorizing hands and more about memorizing situations. When I’m in the big blind, and it’s called all the way around, then, yes, I can raise with medium pairs. It’s difficult to memorize these situations in the abstract — that would be like reading the book and doing flash cards. It’s easier to memorize what to do when the situation is moored to experience, when I’ve actually done it.

As I spend less time with the book while playing, I want to spend more time observing the other players. The way they play also changes the situation. If someone raises me, I want to see if they’re a tight player or a loose player. If it’s more likely that they have a hand, then I’m more likely to fold. Or, how is the table playing? If I want to check-raise, do I think someone is likely to bet out?

Because of all the folding, I should have a lot of time to observe people. I think this fits my temperament. I like to watch and categorize. With a better sense of how the table is and how individuals play, I should be able to make better decisions. I also wonder if it will help me in life. Will I be more patient? Will I take the time to observe when I’m sitting out, so to speak, rather than be distracted? Will I grow more attuned to details? I don’t know yet.

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