Thursday, March 10, 2005

Specialist vs. Generalist

For most of my life, when faced with a choice between specializing or generalizing, I have tended to choose the latter, be it in my studies, choice of profession or extracurricular activities. I would rather be very good in A, B, C and D than excel in only E.

This was the case till I stumbled upon poker. Initially I started studying hold'em and 7 card stud simultaneously, reading the usual 2+2 books, with the intention of adding Omaha and other variations later on. This ambitious plan quickly fell on its face after a few losing live sessions playing both hold'em and stud, when I realized that I knew nothing about both games. Since then, I have made a conscious decision to specialize in any aspect of poker that I undertake. Let me clarify the last statement. By specialize I mean "try to master one out of many choices", try being the operative word. I have hardly mastered any aspect of poker, but I have consciously decided to choose hold'em as my game, no limit as opposed to limit structure, live (b&m) as opposed to online play, and cash (ring) games as opposed to satellites/tournaments. My decision in each was made after trying the alternatives and selecting what I felt was best suited to my personal traits.

I have chosen "specialization" because I don't believe I can succeed any other way, not because it is the preferred way. Truth be told, I am envious of those who can effortlessly switch from ring game to tournament or from hold'em to Omaha - after all, variety is the spice of life and I'm really a generalist at heart.


SirFWALGMan said...

I agree with you. I have to be a generalist in the Computer Industry so I can find Jobs, however, I need to specialize in a game (NL HE now) in order to do well. Its really hard to play multiple games well. Now, I will throw away a buyin playing Stud or Razz or something because I find it fun and it does give a little feel for the game.