Talent Is Overrated

I just finished reading “Talent Is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin. A very interesting and very informative read, although it doesn’t mention poker it probably has got me thinking more about my game than any poker book ever has. I strongly recommend this for all players.

There are two main points that have hit home after reading this book.

(1) Good/great performers (and therefore poker players) are not born they are made

It’s funny how people with zero or very little poker experience will almost always suffer from the disillusion that there is a hidden “soul reading gift” and that they might just have it. Clearly that’s what makes the game good – no one thinks “Hey, maybe I can play chess really well even though I don’t know the rules”.

From the moment we start to learn the game we begin to realise that this “poker gift” is a myth. We go about improving our talents and almost everyone will show an improvement in performance.

Then, at some point the myth strikes afresh, we plateau at a certain stakes. The next level seems just out of reach, shots fail, break even stretches ensue. Mix all this with the mind fuck that is variance and soon we start to believe again…. maybe those other guys just “have it” and I don’t.

(2) The only way to improve performance is to work damn hard. Every. Single. Day.

It took more than just emptying a bucket of balls at the driving range for Tiger Woods to get good (insert joke here). Likewise it takes more than reading listening and watching videos to move ahead of the curve in poker.

There is no secret code, no quick fix, no shortcut to getting good at this game.  The only thing that will move performance to the next level is to push yourself beyond what you already know with long hours of poker study.