Saturday, March 28, 2015

Don't rest on your laurels

Above: The laurel shrub has given rise to the idiom "Don't rest on your laurels." It means to feel comfortable because you've been successful in the past. (See here.)

I haven't been blogging much, but I have been busy. Last summer I went to the WSOP, entered two events, played seven days and won a lot of money. At my age, I could be excused for (as they say) resting on my laurels, but I haven't done that.

Shortly after returning, I explored online training videos again, something I had talked to PokerBug about in private e-mails. This was something I tried before, and became discouraged. Most of them are so poorly produced, that I can't stand to watch them, even if under all the crap there is some worthwhile content. Here's an example: A guy opened up six or seven windows and played a MTT in each. Folks, this is confusing. He kept opening and closing windows, and I couldn't follow what was happening. In one, he had pocket 6s and folded early on. I'm not sure why because stacks were deep enough that set mining would be profitable. If you think it's right to fold, then please say why, ok? I just gave up -- too much work to follow it for too little benefit.

On another, the guy who was conducting the video kept sniffing and making funny sounds with his throat. He also kept raising his voice to a loud volume, then talking low as he ran out of breath. Why make me work to hear what you are saying? And I'm paying you money? The guy was doing this as part of his profession, but perhaps he needed a voice coach himself in how to not be so obnoxious distracting.

Finally, I found Jonathan Little's web site. He is not only a good poker player, but has good teaching skills. After digesting the free stuff, I signed up for his paid site, It costs $10 per month, cheap enough, but he teases more content that he charges extra for. I'm okay with that. If I like it (he usually gives you a free hour, then charges for the whole package), I'm okay with paying more. If I don't think it's worth it, I don't pay. Easy peasy. In the meantime, there are webinars and other content more than worth the 10 bucks.

There is a ton of free content online, too. Have any or you watched Jason Somerville on Twitch TV? Jonathan Little is also on Twitch. Really valuable stuff for free if you are willing to go there and use the search function!

Podcasts by Andrew Brokos and Nate Meyvis also are free and have strategy sections as well as interviews with interesting poker players. The price is right, so why not?

I've also bought more poker books. I've read enough of them, that I've gotten fairly good at guessing which will be worthwhile. Here's one by Zachary Elwood: Verbal Poker Tells. If you don't want to buy it, why not go to his web site where he gives you free content (See here.) He has posted 10 or so videos on You Tube and you can link directly to them from here.

Changing gears, sort of. Thirteen months ago, I damaged a disc, the L5 lumbar vertebrae. Sitting and playing poker (or bridge) for hours can be painful because of that. I've been going to a fitness center to try and strengthen the muscles that support that disk.

When I go to a tournament, I try and eat right and make sure I get plenty of sleep. At the WSOP, I dropped by the Poker Kitchen one day during the dinner break to pick up a salad to take to my room. I saw players loading up with huge meals. Don't try and tell me they can play their best doing that. Notice I said go to my room? Getting rest, avoiding distractions and NOT talking about poker during the break are important. Energy is like a glass of water -- you only have so much of it (certainly true at my age). Yet, I can hang with the young guys because I pace myself.

I have lots of time now that I'm retired. No reason not to work on my game. Going to a casino and playing isn't enough. If you have bad habits, playing more just reinforces those.

Another thing: When I go to Las Vegas, I buy my entry ahead of time. Why wait to the last minute and stand in line? When the tournament starts, I'm fresh and ready to go. Another advantage of buying early is this: I have trouble seeing the board cards from Seats two, three, seven, and eight. I usually ask to have a seat in one of the others, and they've always accommodated me. I suppose it helps being accommodated when they see this little old man. I suppose it helps I come early, such as the day before when there's no line.

I know my limitations as a poker player, but I'm trying to maximize the skills I have. What about you?

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Where did the expression "Rest on your laurels" come from? If you are wondering, click here.


  1. Love it, but you're giving away all the secrets... ;) Hope you have another great series MOJO - I look forward to sweating you online... :D

  2. I've followed JLit's site for quite a while and recently bought Zach's Verbal Poker Tells book. It's already paid for itself several times over at the poker table as I pick up on things he writes about. Things I never focused on earlier.

    Good stuff.

  3. Little does explain things well and has a nice voice for it. Bart Hanson is great for cash games. I also like Thinking Poker podcasts (Andrew & Nate). Tournament Poker Edge, which has some free podcasts also, is another one I listen to, although their audio is not the greatest and I have to fast forward through their chit chat, but they do discuss hands well. Their paid subscription is pricey, tho. I catch Somerville on Twitch when I can, he is fun to watch. :)

    Glad you're doing well! Great pics from Nola. I love that city!

  4. Really good post, Memphis. I've been slacking off on posting to my blog late due to other, more pressing matters, but am glad to see you still at it.

  5. Really good post, Memphis. I've been slacking off on posting to my blog late due to other, more pressing matters, but am glad to see you still at it.

  6. What an interesting essay! Thanks for sharing all of this although I don't understand a lot of the terminology. Sorry to hear about your back. I did the back surgery (laminectomy) in 1964 and it was successful but still have to be careful. Why don't you write a book, sharing your various ideas and suggestions? You write well and have a sense of humor. Heck, I'll buy it even if I don't play poker!

  7. Oh, one other thing: will you be changing your nickname to Florida MOJO?

  8. do forget the WEED and fried oreos/twinkies . u need to b in right state of mind #HappyPlace

  9. I was hoping when there was a link to the word "money" that it would be a photo of you Scrooge McDuck style.

  10. Good advice all around. I'll definitely check out that Verbal Tell book.