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On The Felt

I stumbled across the blog posting of PS Pro Michael Keiner through Twitter today discussing bankroll management and "taking a shot" and I found it interesting.  Mostly, I thought his discussion of the mental effects of poor bankroll decisions was fascinating.

As I discussed in my post on the WPT Montreal last year, I faced a decision very much like the ones he is talking about after winning my ticket to the main event, and my psychological state was one of my key factors in making my decision to sell the ticket rather than play the Main Event.

I absolutely thought about "taking my shot" in the Main Event.  Winning the 1st prize of 3/4 of a million Canadian would have been pretty cool, of course.  Given that the ticket REALLY only cost me $110 (or about $1200 if you cout the buy-ins I busted out of during the rest of the festival), in many ways it felt like "a free shot" at big prizes.

But after thinking about it for awhile, I realized that I could sell the ticket for my largest cash ever in a poker tournament to date and basically guarantee I left Montreal feeling like I'd "won."  I certainly could have played the Main, and cashed or went deep, and still come out of Montreal feeling like a "winner" but realistically, jumping into a tournament where the buy-in, structure, and length were well beyond what I was experienced with would likely end with an early bust-out.  If I'd used the ticket and busted out, I would have left Montreal feeling like I'd "wasted" $3300 that I could have had in my bankroll.

I think the difference in that mindset is truly significant.  "Felling like you won" is key in poker for confidence and it affects the way you play into the future.  There is absolutely value in sometimes "taking your shot" but equally, there is value in knowing your limitations and taking the "easy win."

The truth is, I didn't REALLY make any "profit" from Montreal, but the cash from the ticket basically meant I spent 2+ free weeks in Montreal playing free poker.  I left Montreal feeling pretty good about the trip as a whole, and I can easily see how that feeling is 100% opposite if I use my ticket to play the Main and bust out early.

I WILL play the Main Event of a big tournament series like WPT or EPT someday.  But in the meantime, I'll take my victories where I can find them.  I'll take my shot, but I'll take it when I am better armed than I was last year in Montreal ...

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