Tell Your Story Walking (Part the Second)
Visualization of your goals is overrated - I mean, if you need a mental picturebook to remind yourself of where you're going, you probably shouldn't be operating any heavy machinery. Still, it's helpful to have an idea of where you want to go from where you've begun. When we decide to play a hand, we know how we want it to end - dollar signs in our eyes and a huge pile of checks sliding our way. But that's a long way off, and betwixt you and your newfound fortune is a story. The stories of some hands tell themselves. I like the one about the Well-Concealed Set On An Unthreatening Board - all you have to do is decide when to spring your trap. Other stories, though, you need to have a good idea of where the story is going before you decide to hang on. Everyone loves the tale of the The Plucky Little Suited Connector Made Good, but that's one that gets told more often than it gets lived. Usually it goes more like The Guy With The Plucky Little Suited Connector Who Flopped Middle Pair And Faced A Difficult Decision As To Whether Or Not To Pay Off The Position Raiser's Monster. Personally I prefer to play the part of The Massive Overpair That Crushed All Opposition as often as I can. Not as exciting as all of those skin-of-your-teeth river spikes, but a lot more profitable. The advantage to playing your hand like it's a story is that you instinctively know what to do when it's your turn to act, because you've seen it done on the screen and on the page a thousand times. You know exactly how the story goes and what your part in it is, and if you don't like your part, it's time to bow out. When you know you're behind, you've got to give some thought to just how believable your comeback story could be. If you were hearing your story at a party, would you call bullshit on it? Time to let it go. Sometimes a story has an unpredictable but unhappy ending. Usually these are lousy stories and you want to stay out of them, since they involve such characters as The Badly Outkicked Fish Who Spiked On The River Yet Again, That Guy Who Played J6o For Three Bets Cold And Got Lucky, and That Annoying Motherfucker Who Chased A Gutshot With No Odds And Four To The Flush On The Board (And Caught). Bad players tell bad stories, but they do have one thing in common with the stories told by the greats - you don't see the ending coming. Poker is a lot of different ways to the same end, and a student of the game should try to learn them all.