Of course it is important to fully understand all aspects of the game, and to be able to apply those ideas in your games, but I really have no problem adopting a style of play. And I suppose I am always going to be taking poisoned pawns, or defending against gambits. One gambit that I've never looked at too deeply is the Evan's Gambit, at least not in terms of working out a black repertoire.
As a lazy...oops, sorry, I mean time constrained player, I'm looking for repertoire choices that are easy to understand and not too complex to learn. The only trouble is, cutting corners and taking easy to learn lines can often mean playing inferior positions.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4!?
4..Bxb4 - It is possible to decline the gambit, though against my nature. 5.c3
The question is, where should the bishop retreat to, a5, c5, e7, d6? Funnily enough, the latter move is the one I have been choosing as a repertoire, 5..Bd6 or the Stoneware Defence. But I have found it difficult to play this system. I have recently seen a game with Nakamura on the white pieces, where black has an extra pawn but can do hardly anything, an excellent example of compensation for a pawn.
Games like this do nothing to inspire me to play this variation. Black grabs a pawn, and then takes a pounding, hoping that white's haymakers don't connect and somehow he emerges a pawn ahead. I think I have to put some work in to find something a little more active.
I recently played games where I underestimated my opponent's compensation, sat back and allowed them to gain more than adequate compensation for a pawn investment.
Until I understand the concept of compensation for material I will always struggle with positions like this, but playing and thinking about them can only help improve my understanding.