Poker is the riverbed and cash is the water. It flows freely and fast. It follows no specific route and can flow in any direction that outside forces exert. It is a moving feast and the money just doesn’t stay still.
When playing live cash games, the pots can be big, or small, depending on the ebb and flow of the action.
From the outside in, when a person wins a large pot, it can seem like they are making a lot of money. But poker is not that simple. If it were a mythical character, it would choose a cloak and stealth as its weapons and attributes of choice.
The reason a haul of cash that is the equivalent to your monthly salary does not necessarily equate to ‘winning a lot of money’ is variance.
In the short term, it is very likely that the money will be passed around the table like the prize in a game of ‘pass the parcel’. Everyone gets a piece of the wrapping.
So, in the short term, even a highly skilled player will only win their fair share of money. The luckiest player gets the one true prize.
Great players make their money by making fewer mistakes than their opponents do. These mistakes are often small but crucial for the long-term win rate of the best in the business.
So, in the short term, anyone can win the battle and it is usually the player who manages to run better than everyone else that does.
But, in the long term, the war is won through the accumulation of the tiny mistakes, and these are known as the player’s edges. Just like each brick finally contributes to make a magnificent building, so each tiny edge adds up to a long-term winning poker player.