The Peter Principle of Poker

Although there is no hard and fast relationship between the limit and the difficulty of the game, generally speaking, the higher the limit you play, the tougher the games become. There are two main reasons for this. First, poor players lose money faster at the higher limits and so won't stick around as long. Second, better players tend to gravitate to the higher limits from the lower limits. Whenever you move up a limit, you should assume that the players will be better, on average, than those at your old limit. As a consequence of this, your win rate in terms of big bets is likely to take a significant hit compared to what you enjoyed before.

In the world of large corporations, there is a theory called the Peter Principle. This states that every employee will, over time, receive promotions until they reach a level where they are incompetent. The "conclusion" of this principle is that whole organizations are staffed entirely by incompetent people who are unable to do their job because they were promoted one level beyond where they could shine.

Whether or not there is any truth in this theory,8 the Peter Principle can certainly be seen in the poker room. Players tend to start at the lower limits, and if they have the skill, they will make money and advance to the higher limits. Eventually they will reach a limit where they are no longer winning.

The Peter Principle of Poker: Poker rooms contain a lot of former winning players who have advanced to a limit that they cannot beat9

Our intention in saying this isn't to discourage you from moving up through the limits. It is merely to illustrate that when moving up limits, you should always be mindful of the fact that each limit will (with occasional exceptions) be tougher than the last. Sometimes yon will will move up a limit and then find that you can't beat the game at that it. At this point, one of three things will happen:

  1. You move back down to your old limit.
  2. You stubbornly decide to stay at your new limit and eventually go broke.
  3. You improve your game to a level where you can beat the game at the new limit.

Obviously, the last of these is what you should be aiming for. Once more, this takes us back to the Poker Mindset:

Dedicate Yourself to a Continuous Cycle of Analysis and Improvement.

Based on some of the corporations that we know, there seems to be at least some truth in it. 11 Applying the Peter Principle to poker was originally conceptualized by Mark Blade in his book Professional Poker.

It's possible that you might move up to a game at a limit that you just can't beat no matter how much effort you put into improving your game. If you reach this point, then you are obviously better off dropping down to a limit where you can win, rather than stubbornly sticking with the higher-limit game. Go back to the games that you can beat, and make money there rather than falling victim to the Peter Principle of Poker.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment