Terrence "Not Johnny" Chan posted his WSOP Main Event story on his blog a short time ago. It included this paragraph:
So it made me all the more angry at myself when I spewed away 30k in chips right at the end of Day 1. With 48k chips, a guy who had rolled up his stack from 6k to 30k in the last hour raised to 1350 early. I decided to try to take the pot away from him by 3-betting with ATs to 3250. This sometimes happens to me in NL tournaments where I just snap and try too hard [to win] a pot. He, obviously, responds with a 4-bet to 7200. I throw good money after bad and call, like the absolute fucking idiot that I am. The flop comes down king-high with two clubs, we get it in, naturally he has top set. I call for the board to pair because I deserve to lose. I don't know if I've ever been more upset at myself for any individual hand of poker that I've ever played. It makes it even more frustrating because we talked at the house at length the previous day about how we should avoid marginal spots, not get in big confrontations, and just let the easy money come flowing in, and I decide to get my stack in with ATs against a guy who has shown nothing but the nuts. I am fucking horrible at poker. I was just in a very pissy, self-flagellating mood the rest of the night, and I deserved it.
I don't re-post this here in order to make fun of Chan. I have great respect for his game. He is demonstrably not an "idiot" or "horrible at poker," and he must know this at some fundamental level. I post it because of how deeply it resonated with me--the feeling that you have absolutely no idea how to play the game, even though there is plenty of tangible evidence to the contrary. I guess I find it comforting, in a way, that players much better than I am go through periods of similar self-doubt and self-recrimination over a mistake or series of mistakes.