Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

February 12, 2006

Super Stud Part 2: The Sequel

So, either I freaking rock at Stud or these people were just really bad. The exception is Malcolm, who got really unlucky a couple of times.



I would like to think that I'm good at stud, but I really don't have any idea. I played some in college (but never for money), I've watched a few of the stud episodes on TV, and I've played a bit online. But I just don't think I have the necessary experience to say whether or not I'm good or whether I've just been plain lucky. This leads me to a question for you faithful readers:

When do you think you have the right to call yourself good at something?

This goes for things besides poker. Do you have to have a winning track record to call yourself good. In the instance of poker, do you just have to be able to say you've made the best decisions and just been unlucky? How long must you have a winning track record in order to be able to confidently say you're good at something? Do a certain number of other people have to acknowledge you as good?

It's easy to say that Phil Ivey is good at poker. He's won millions of dollars and consistently makes final tables. It's easy to say that Brett Favre is good at football. Even though he had an awful season this year, his past track record shows that he kicks major ass when he's on his game. So, when do you have the right to say that you're good? Let me know what you think.

7 Comments:

  • This is my take on that Matt. If someone is good at something they don't have to announce it....it shows.

    By Blogger surflexus, at 2/12/2006 5:35 PM  

  • I don't mean for this to come across like when you would be able to brag or something. This would be more along the lines of if someone asked you. Like, if someone came up to me and asked me if I was good at stud, I wouldn't really know what to say. I think so. I'm not sure. I've won some games. That kind of thing. I guess maybe a more appropriate question would be, "When do you know for certain that you yourself are good at something? What qualifies you in your own mind as being good at something?"

    By Blogger Matt Silverthorn, at 2/12/2006 6:47 PM  

  • "good" is a relative term in my mind. so it depends on who's asking. if phil ivey asked me if i was good at poker, i'd say no. but if someone with little experience in poker asked, i'd say i'm pretty good. same thing with foosball. against the top players in the world, i wouldn't be very good. but against 99% of the population, i would dominate.

    By Anonymous eric, at 2/13/2006 10:00 AM  

  • I can relate this back to when Kelly(mowenumdown) and I played video games competetively in the early 80's. I knew that the Pac Man machine turned itself off at 3,180,000 points and that it would be doing just that before I was finished more times than not. If you get to that point with something, there's no doubt in your own mind that you are very good. I think until you reach a level similar to that, at least for me, I just track my results and if I'm getting better results than I used to I consider myself to be "getting better". In poker I consider myself good in the games that I win at over a long haul, say 100,000 hands or 10,000 tournaments. That kind of database pretty much takes variance in to account and you can say with confidence how good you fare at that game.

    By Blogger surflexus, at 2/13/2006 10:13 AM  

  • I remember long ago a flight instructor told me "you have experienced pilots who have flown 10,000 hours and then you have those pilots who have flown the same 1 hour ten thousand times". The point being it takes more than just experience to excel at something. (not how many hands we play, but how we play the hands we play) As a teenager I had various jobs and one I remember was working on an assembly line sorting nuts, screws and bolts. In this case it only took a couple of hours to get "good" and the job was mastered by rote. (I can't do this with poker no matter how hard I try) By contrast, I was a long haul trucker for over 30 years and it took a long time to get to where I knew I was good at what I did, although in the beginning I thought I was good. I had the same misconception when I started playing online poker for play money. ))

    Using the jobs mentioned above as an anology, I would say my poker skills will never be mastered like the sorting of nuts and bolts, and will probably take a life time to get good like it has with aviation and trucking.

    Footnote: I did a poll recently asking "how would you rate yourself as a poker player?" and out of a small sampling the majority placed themselves in the top 50%... As Eric wrote "good" is a relative term in one's own mind.

    By Blogger Slimeface, at 2/13/2006 11:01 AM  

  • When I hear "good" I assume you mean that it is something akin to getting an B in a class. C is okay. A is great.

    When it comes to Stud, I will suggest this: You are good when you are able to win consistently. You are great when you are able process the board cards and use that information to your advantage. It is a much harder skill than just winning.

    In Hold'em, it is a lot trickier. I would say that you are good when you win consistently and great when you win consistently because you take into consideration all aspects of the game (implied odds, pot odds, tells, playing the player, etc.).

    By Blogger HighOnPoker, at 2/13/2006 4:48 PM  

  • Thanks for the input everyone. I like hearing what other people's answers are to the questions I usually just ask myself. I especially enjoyed the non-poker examples. I was never that good at Pac-Man. :-)

    By Blogger Matt Silverthorn, at 2/13/2006 7:25 PM  

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