The Irexes Principle and the Napoleonic Player

Irexes

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In this thread here https://www.cardschat.com/forum/pok...ns-46/i-pwn-ring-i-mock-thee-variance-116793/ I do some bragging about a rather nice ring session and some people say some nice and/or sarcastic things.

Gesshoo (Joe) makes a very nice comment about my play (cause he's a good chap) and asks about the impact of bankroll management and sound game selection on success. This got me thinking about what the factors that affect long-term success are.

Obviously being able to play the game ok helps, but it is definately not the entire picture. Resistance to tilt and the ability to control the ego is something I've written about before (see here Irexes' Happy Fun Poker Blog). But Joe's comment really got me thinking about what is necessary for long term success in terms of bankroll management, which led me in turn to consider the Peter Principle and it's impact on the world of poker.

The Peter Principle is a management theory that states that people continue to get promoted within an organisation until they reach a level at which they are incompetent. Indeed all of us are potentially incompetent if given sufficient responsibility.

The Irexes Principle (see what I did there) applies exactly the same theory to poker,

"Most players will move up in stakes until they reach a level at which they lose money."

The theory is that for most players who have more than a purely recreational approach to the game there is a drive to play higher and higher buy-in games.

This drive leads players to consistently play at a level which either their skill or bankroll cannot sustain and as a result they lose money. So a player may be winning 3BB/100 at $10NL and move to $25NL. Here they either find themselves a long-term loser or a winner, but at a lower rate where they would be better off back at 10NL.

Part of this is that I believe that too many players take a short-term view of the game and use it to justify their skill-level as being sufficient to move up. So a player may have 50,000 hands at $25NL losing at -3BB/100, but they have +4bb/100 over the final 3,000 hands. This possibly variance induced upturn is then used as a rationale to try out $50NL where they come unstuck (or even worse have a little bit of success which convinces them they can play the level, followed by their lack of skill hitting which is then denied and written off as bad luck).

The situation can be even worse in tournaments where anyone can get lucky with a big win. The realistic players sees this for what it is, but the victim of the Irexes Principle decides to move up the buy-ins and then complains when they lose the roll on an "unlucky" series of coin-flips.

So what's the key? I think that inspiration should be taken from Napoleon who was well aware of the perils of the Peter Principle (he probably attended a management course somewhere) and ensured that his soldiers were promoted only into roles that they were capable of. As a result his army was seen as a true meritocracy.

So the Napoleonic poker player will ensure that they don't fall victim to the Irexes Principle and play beyond their skill or roll, they will guard againt deluding themselves about their ability and will see good (and bad fortune) for what it is.

The Napoleonic Player will forever have the long-run in mind and will only move up when they are ready to do so. They will also happily move down again when things don't work out. Happy because they are demonstrating a skill as important as playing the right cards, and in the knowledge that when the time is right (and reinforced by further proven success at the level below) they will move back up again for another crack.

If I am a successful player it is because I am obsessed with the long-run. I am in no hurry to get where I want to be and am happy to think in terms of hundreds of thousands of hands and years of play. Upturns are nice, but can seduce you about your skill in the same way that a downturn can be wrongly written off as bad luck when it is fact a leak hitting home.

One day I'd like to get myself to 200NL (or even beyond) and sitting in the really big MTTs as a matter of course. If that day is not far off then great but if it takes me another 10 years, then that's fine too.
 
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Steveg1976

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This is gold - to have it put into writing in a easily understandle way.
 
Irexes

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Thanks Steve, I think a lot of this is bound into issues of ego and tilt. In fact it makes me wonder exactly how much of long-term poker success is nothing to do with actual skill at the game.
 
WVHillbilly

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Thanks Steve, I think a lot of this is bound into issues of ego and tilt. In fact it makes me wonder exactly how much of long-term poker success is nothing to do with actual skill at the game.

Certainly you don't chalk it up to "luck"?

Perhaps the lack of skill and impatience of others?
 
ChuckTs

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A++ and accurate on all counts imo.

Someone who dwells on the swings, let alone moves up in stakes because of this short-term variance, is pretty much doomed. I mean how many successful players on this site do you see frequently posting in the BBV forums?

Keeping an eye on the long-run not only keeps your head above the 'variance clouds', but lets you see the big picture. This is why I think multitabling can be such a good thing (albeit among downsides) - you get to see what works and what doesn't in such a smaller amount of time, and can therefore adjust and get back to winning/win more on average.

I've always admired your 'game away from the game' (not to mention your actual game, obv) and still have much to learn. I still have a massive ego, and actually do things like keep a frequently updated poker grapher open beside my tables :eek:

Can I come over to the UK and be your grasshopper? :)
 
ChuckTs

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Certainly you don't chalk it up to "luck"?

Perhaps the lack of skill and impatience of others?

I think what he means is bankroll management, tilt control, and keeping an eye on the long-term rather than the short can be just as, or more important than your actual poker game. And I completely agree.
 
Irexes

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Certainly you don't chalk it up to "luck"?

Oooo no. You need to be able to play the game well enough to win. But then you need to understand how to apply that skill so the numbers (variance and BRM) don't catch up with you. You also need to play at a level where your skill is sufficient.

If I move up to 200NL I'll lose, maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the.. (you get it).

Add in tilt, playing tired, ego battles over blinds and dozens of other things and winning becomes far more than just knowing when to 3-bet light :)


Thanks Chuck :)

and for the record I do the graph thing too.
 
Steveg1976

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I can equate this to golf. People think that because they want to learn they should play under the very hardest conditions (black tees) as opposed to playing from a begginers postion (the white tees). they think by playing at high level they will be able to learn faster to play at a higher level (certainly, ego is a big part of this). But the often overlook a lot of the beginners principals that will make for a succeful golfing 'career'. such as ball postion, posture, etc. I know I did and am glad that went back to a beginners level, so I am now taking the same approach to poker for better or worse.
 
WVHillbilly

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I think what he means is bankroll management, tilt control, and keeping an eye on the long-term rather than the short can be just as, or more important than your actual poker game. And I completely agree.

I see what he was saying now. It just struck me as odd because I was thinking of those things as being part of your skill at the game.
 
Stu_Ungar

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Isnt this jut a longer way of stating STICK TO BANKROLL MANAGMENT!!

If you have 300 BB in limit and you find yourself winning then you can go up a level (provided you stick to the 300 BB guideline)

Should you then find yourself loosing then the 300 BB guideline would dictate that you come down a level until you satisf the 300 BB condition.

I think its 25 buyins at NL.

I do like the peter principle and have worked with many managers who have 'reached their peak' LOL

but if you allow you game to be driven by BR managment then there is no way ego can take over.

Yes your inflated BR may be due to short term variance but following BR managment you will return to a level dependent on your skill.

Infact if a player follows BR managment and finds that the hover around a level for a year or two then that is their level and their decision should then be .. do they play for profit or for ego? If its profit .. stay at that level andas the BR grows.. withdraw the profits.

If they play for ego.. leave the money in the game but accept that even though they are winning and preparing to play the next level.. they will inevitably end up at square 1 again.
 
jewboy07

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Rex when i used to just view this site casually before i started posting it was mainly because of you (among others of course) knowledge of the game beyond the game

thanks for putting another great thought into word so us peons can understand

your mind impresses me more and more with each post
 
Irexes

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Cheers jb, that's very kind of you.

(of course if the other mods ever detect that you are an alternate account of mine created to say nice things about me I'm in real trouble :) )
 
Egon Towst

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I think what he means is bankroll management, tilt control, and keeping an eye on the long-term rather than the short can be just as, or more important than your actual poker game. And I completely agree.

As do I. I have often said so here at CC, usually to noobs flushed with beginner`s luck and playing above their BR.

Where I must differ from Rex, though, is in his citing of Napoleon as a role model.

Napoleon was a military dictator bent on world domination. A fairly significant character flaw, I`d suggest, and surely not to be emulated ? ;)
 
Irexes

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Napoleon was a military dictator bent on world domination. A fairly significant character flaw, I`d suggest, and surely not to be emulated ? ;)

Well Egon, we are just going to have to agree to differ on that one :cool:
 
Egon Towst

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Well Egon, we are just going to have to agree to differ on that one :cool:

Oh, ok.

Have you picked your government yet ?

Minister of Tourism rather appeals to me. Naturally, I will take my duties seriously and personally inspect all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos etc.
 
Irexes

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Hired.

There will of course be uniforms. I'm thinking big gold lapels cause that's classy and stuff.
 
shinedown.45

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In this thread here https://www.cardschat.com/forum/pok...ns-46/i-pwn-ring-i-mock-thee-variance-116793/ I do some bragging about a rather nice ring session and some people say some nice and/or sarcastic things.

Gesshoo (Joe) makes a very nice comment about my play (cause he's a good chap) and asks about the impact of bankroll management and sound game selection on success. This got me thinking about what the factors that affect long-term success are.

Obviously being able to play the game ok helps, but it is definately not the entire picture. Resistance to tilt and the ability to control the ego is something I've written about before (see here Irexes' Happy Fun Poker Blog). But Joe's comment really got me thinking about what is necessary for long term success in terms of bankroll management, which led me in turn to consider the Peter Principle and it's impact on the world of poker.

The Peter Principle is a management theory that states that people continue to get promoted within an organisation until they reach a level at which they are incompetent. Indeed all of us are potentially incompetent if given sufficient responsibility.

The Irexes Principle (see what I did there) applies exactly the same theory to poker,

"Most players will move up in stakes until they reach a level at which they lose money."

The theory is that for most players who have more than a purely recreational approach to the game there is a drive to play higher and higher buy-in games.

This drive leads players to consistently play at a level which either their skill or bankroll cannot sustain and as a result they lose money. So a player may be winning 3BB/100 at $10NL and move to $25NL. Here they either find themselves a long-term loser or a winner, but at a lower rate where they would be better off back at 10NL.

Part of this is that I believe that too many players take a short-term view of the game and use it to justify their skill-level as being sufficient to move up. So a player may have 50,000 hands at $25NL losing at -3BB/100, but they have +4bb/100 over the final 3,000 hands. This possibly variance induced upturn is then used as a rationale to try out $50NL where they come unstuck (or even worse have a little bit of success which convinces them they can play the level, followed by their lack of skill hitting which is then denied and written off as bad luck).

The situation can be even worse in tournaments where anyone can get lucky with a big win. The realistic players sees this for what it is, but the victim of the Irexes Principle decides to move up the buy-ins and then complains when they lose the roll on an "unlucky" series of coin-flips.

So what's the key? I think that inspiration should be taken from Napoleon who was well aware of the perils of the Peter Principle (he probably attended a management course somewhere) and ensured that his soldiers were promoted only into roles that they were capable of. As a result his army was seen as a true meritocracy.

So the Napoleonic poker player will ensure that they don't fall victim to the Irexes Principle and play beyond their skill or roll, they will guard againt deluding themselves about their ability and will see good (and bad fortune) for what it is.

The Napoleonic Player will forever have the long-run in mind and will only move up when they are ready to do so. They will also happily move down again when things don't work out. Happy because they are demonstrating a skill as important as playing the right cards, and in the knowledge that when the time is right (and reinforced by further proven success at the level below) they will move back up again for another crack.

If I am a successful player it is because I am obsessed with the long-run. I am in no hurry to get where I want to be and am happy to think in terms of hundreds of thousands of hands and years of play. Upturns are nice, but can seduce you about your skill in the same way that a downturn can be wrongly written off as bad luck when it is fact a leak hitting home.

One day I'd like to get myself to 200NL (or even beyond) and sitting in the really big MTTs as a matter of course. If that day is not far off then great but if it takes me another 10 years, then that's fine too.

Very well written Rex and similar to the explination I had given to a friend of mine when I told him he was playing beyond his BR, but just brushed off what I was saying because a week back he won around $1200 in a tourney he was not properly rolled for and said he doesn't have the patience to "grind" it out and really believes he a much better than the micro level players.

Again, very nice thread +rep:)
 
belladonna05

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why rex is the boss:)
 
tenbob

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Very well written post Rex. I remember talking shite to an retired Irish Army officer recently, I was looking for a promotion at the time and looking for advise. He told me that both the army and most major organisations have a pretty major problem when it comes to this.

Just because someone is a fantastic corporal does not mean that they will be a fantastic seargent, in fact what happens is that these people keep getting promoted until they reach a level in the organisation where they are at best average, and that it would have been much more benificial if they were left one rung below. The same comparasion can be made to a pokery player.
 
belladonna05

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Very well written post Rex. I remember talking shite to an retired Irish Army officer recently, I was looking for a promotion at the time and looking for advise. He told me that both the army and most major organisations have a pretty major problem when it comes to this.

Just because someone is a fantastic corporal does not mean that they will be a fantastic seargent, in fact what happens is that these people keep getting promoted until they reach a level in the organisation where they are at best average, and that it would have been much more benificial if they were left one rung below. The same comparasion can be made to a pokery player.
there is actually a term for that....its called the peter principle...seriously
 
Dorkus Malorkus

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Ever wonder why experts tend to veer around the '95% of players are net losers' mark when if you check your PT database it probably only shows ~70% losers? Now y'all know the main reason why.

Nicely put sir.
 
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