Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WSOP trials and tribulations

Playing poker tournaments is a tortuous profession. I feel like I am playing the best poker of my life, yet I have nothing to show for it except for eight straight losses. We poker players have to be masochists for enduring the frustrations day after day. The fact is, the average player cashes slightly less than 10% of the time. This means a pro does well to cash once every 7-8 tournaments. The fact that I have yet to cash in 8 tournaments is frustrating, but it is hardly outside the norm of what to expect. We're all obviously very competitive people, yet we lose time after time again.

Why do we do it? It is the pursuit of victory. Once you taste victory once, you want it again and again. When running bad, what drives you is the memory of victory. I've had some great memories at the WSOP and I want more of them, and of course I want that bracelet. I hope some day soon I will achieve what I am striving for and all of the agony will be worth it.

This past week had been especially excruciating. On Saturday, I was involved in a huge pot which would have put me near the chip leaders after 4 hours of play. I was a 4 to 1 favorite and lost. On Sunday, I had a chance to double up early but again lost as a 4 to 1 favorite. On Tuesday, I lost a coin flip to put me significantly above average. Yet I feel very good about my play. I'm making good reads and calls. My timing on steals and resteals seem to be spot on so far. The fact that I am playing well keeps me motivated. In fact, I think I am probably playing the best poker of my life so I really feel like something good is going to happen, and hopefully soon.

Can't wait for this weekend! On another note, I just got word from my printer that the new book has shipped. Shipments to customers should start going out early next week.


MIKE said...

Hey Matthew. Your blogs are interesting and your books are very helpful. But, I have a couple questions for you. First, I will briefly tell my background. I am in college and actually about a semester away from UGA. I am currently 20 years old, but have been playing NL Hold'em for about a year and a half at college with some roommates and friends. On the weekends I will drive back home not far from Athens and I will visit my girlfriend at UGA and party and go downtown. Even though I have nobody to play hold'em with, I still play online at night. I consider myself an above average poker player, especially for my experience. So here are my questions. Living near the Atlanta/Metro atlanta area, I would like to know who to get involved with when it comes to NL Texas Hold'em. Any good clubs/organizations/events I should look into? I don't envision myself becoming a poker pro, especially during college. But I want to play and learn as much as I can anyway. Any help, Mr. Hilger? I have an e-mail address you can contact me at or however you want to respond to this.

Much thanks,

Mike. (

Matthew Hilger said...

Hi Mike, I pretty much never play live Hold'em in atl except for an occasional home game in my neighborhood so can't be of much help. I basically play online and then make occasional trips to Biloxi and Tunica for some live action. Good luck, Matthew