|Poker Lessons in Fantasy Hockey||Tweet|
|Written by Rick Roos|
|Thursday, 03 January 2013 11:44|
When thinking about the lockout and how time really is ticking away to save the season, I’m reminded – as a poker player – of what people say toward the end of a tournament or when everything is on the line, time is running out, and a player has to win that hand…….“one time!!!” Well, I think I’ve now officially reached my “one time!” point for the NHL lockout. So come one guys….ONE TIME!!
Since we’re now already talking about poker, instead of a new “Holding Court” column this week, here’s a copy of an article I originally posted to the Black Aces group on the DobberHockey forums. For all of you looking to fill your fantasy hockey void, you really should consider posting an article in Black Aces – it’s where a number of DobberHockey writers got their start, including yours truly. Enjoy!
All too often fantasy hockey players go through the motions and end up following the same unsuccessful routines year after year. Face it, we're all guilty of it to a degree. Whether it's failing to react or adjust when we should, trading too often or too infrequently, or even playing it too risky or too safe, at the end of each season all us GMs (or, I should say, the GMs who don't win) find ourselves vowing to change things next season, forgetting that we told ourselves the same thing pretty much every year in the past. The worst part is that subconsciously we might even realize we're falling into this trap and that we do need to change our ways, but somehow we continue with our bad habits again and again like a fantasy hockey version of Groundhog Day.
If your league is filled with GMs who like to take too many chances and draft high risk players and band-aid boys, then you will likely do well by being more conservative and assembling a team of consistent but not spectacular players. If, instead, everyone in your league is predictable and "by the book" (drafting based on previous season stats or going after "name" players well past their prime), then you want to be a bit more creative, focusing instead on per game scoring averages, trends from the previous season's playoffs and 2nd half, and players on the upswing of their careers. Sure, some of this might sound obvious, but all too often fantasy players end up simply mimicking what other GMs in their league do, when in truth the successful recipe is to take at least a somewhat different (perhaps even polar opposite) approach.
GMs fall into the trap of adding or dropping a player too quickly when they're blinded by short term stats that are clearly too good to be true, simply because they're afraid to miss out on the next phenom and be haunted by "what ifs". On the flip side, people can be too cautious and stick with players they should get rid of, or resist picking up players who they should own. Stop and focus about what's yet to come before you act or choose not to act.
By knowing how another GM manages its roster, you can see what players the GM truly values so you won't get fooled in a trade offer (more on trades below). Also, in tight categories you can try to gain ground in categories by making reactive adjustments. Just as in poker where there is a temptation to relax and take a breather once you're out of a hand, you might feel like it's okay to detach and look only at your own fantasy hockey roster for a while. But it's the winners who are always aware not only of what they're doing, but of what's happening with all the other teams as well.
As a result, they stop following things as closely or they stay with their current roster even after it become clear that the rest of the pack is catching up. At the other end of the spectrum, people near the bottom of the standings in early months will either check out or will make desperate moves that only end up hurting their teams even more. In fantasy hockey, like poker, patience pays off more often than not. Look at the season for what it is - the sum of a number of weeks and months where stats are not consistent. Stay focused and resist the urge to coast or to panic early on.
Sadly, those situations are all too rare in poker and fantasy hockey alike. Instead, you're usually torn about what to do. Of course in poker the cards you hold matter when making this decision, as do the players involved in a fantasy hockey trade, but in both cases, the biggest key in determining how to respond usually is to think about what might be motivating your opponent to make this move, not so much the specific players/cards involved. Also, be sure to figure out how winning or losing will affect both you and the opponent. Just like in poker where you don't need as great cards to call an all-in bet when your opponent might be desperate, in fantasy hockey you likely can be more inclined to say yes to a deal from a rebuilding or frustrated owner.
See you next week with a regular Holding Court column.
Previous Court Sessions from Rick Roos:
|Last Updated on Sunday, 06 January 2013 10:37|