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Why Some Poker Players Need a Slice of Humble Pie

I get it, believe me I really do. As a poker player myself, and a pretty damn good one when I played day-in and day-out, I understand that confidence is an important part of being a successful poker player. That being said, there is a point where A PLAYER’S confidence morphs into something else entirely, and this seems to be a line that more and more poker players have been crossing lately.

Now, when I talk about overconfidence I’m not even talking about the boisterous ramblings of Phil Hellmuth, or even the overconfidence of your average player, what I am referring to are the players who have had some success but are not accounting for the role of variance – whether their success is due to good variance or if they are unprepared to handle a downswing doesn’t really matter.

In addition to straight-up variance there are a number of reasons that this can befall a player, from the game passing them by to sponsorship dollars running dry, and for whatever reason these players simply don’t seem to see the writing on the mirror until it’s far too late.

A recent example of this is Russ “Dutch” Boyd; one of the original darlings of ESPN. Boyd has been a polarizing figure in poker since well before ESPN cameras found him in 2003, and without going into too much of his back-story, let’s just say that there is more to Dutch Boyd than ESPN would ever want you to know (just Google PokerSpot or 2+2 Cybersquatting) and considering a recent note he left on Reddit, it seems that Boyd has been believing his own headlines in recent years.

Apparently Boyd is basically busto (or at the very least busto in terms of being a poker pro) and is looking for a real-world job. This is probably hard for many poker fans to fathom considering Boyd has amassed some $2.1 million in career tournament earnings during his career, including a couple of WSOP bracelets. And Boyd’s tale isn’t some outlier either, just look at all of the big names that ESPN covered back in 2003-2006, and where many of this players are now: The Bryan Micon’s, the Scott Fischman’s, or the WPT and Tuan Le, or Mark Seif. Or the worst of the worst, people like Brad Booth. Even huge names like Erick Lindgren, Layne Flack, and Mike Matusow have seemingly been hit by this overconfidence bug.

I’m not blaming these players entirely, since they were propped-up and probably believed that there was always going to be a monster payday right around the corner, but they do provide a good lesson for today’s up-and-coming poker players, who like to throw their money around: Things change and you better have a contingency plan. Don’t let the lessons of Brad Booth, Erick Lindgren, or Dutch Boyd go unlearned. If you had asked Scott Fischman back in 2005 where he would be in 2012 his answer would not match reality, but neither would the answer of anyone in the poker world at the time; Fischman seemed to be a lock to be the next big thing.

Nowadays, I wonder if the Isildur’s or Jens Kyllonen’s of the world have learned this lesson, or if it can be even taught –perhaps to reach the level they have you have to be willing to go broke?—and where they will be when we look back on their careers in five or ten years. Earn a stop on the VIP seat when you start playing poker at Titan Poker and get a chance to join its VIP Titan Poker Club!

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