Emotions High, Intelligence Low — The Outbursts That can Occur at The Table:
If you allow yourself to be ‘results-oriented’ then you are allowing yourself to give away your happiness, making it dependent and therefore making you dependent on external factors. Great players are mostly detached from their results. They appreciate that Results are a good indicator of the Process and it’s all a Process game, as is life. Too many people define themselves by Results and that’s not what creates Winners! Process is the key and Great players are always looking to improve Process with far less reference to Results that most Lower stakes players emphasise. There are a few more characteristics which great players have and develop which new players must master if they are ever to rise the ranks and stay in the game for the long-term:
They are rarely flustered by bad beats and bad runs just cannot be spotted by people who see them showing up consistently.
They embody the thinking that Detachment equals Flow. They have a life beyond the turn of card and it permits them to play freely with their adequately accumulated bankroll which supports them in this perspective.
Deep down they accept that any Edge is actualised over time, it has nothing to do with how they feel nor does variance and Lady Luck care. If you are bound emotional on when and how Lady Luck touches others and spites you you have work to do on your game, on the most important factor, a.k.a. you!
Far too often, especially lower down you will see player losing their tempers because of a bad beat it a cooler hand where they lose their chips. This has an obvious negative effect for them in their habit as a Player long-run as well as important leaks at the table:
Firstly, if a fish or whale got lucky then they don’t want to be told how badly they played. If they have any awareness about their game they will then proceed to come up with an excuse to leave and chip up with those recently won chips, maybe to give it back to the House in a game where they don’t get berated for playing ‘so badly’.
Secondly, if you give off such obvious reads to players at a table they will adapt. Maybe they open up their value 3-betting range or increase their River value betting or look to see squeeze light after you’ve opened and some players called in between… Basically the opportunity for them has increased and that’s bad for you cos now they have info on you and your state while you are at the same level of info that you had on them before this eruption occurred. They have the Edge and the higher up you play the better opponents get at exploiting this in various ways.
Now I understand a blow-up: both personally and from observing. It costs and it has cost me in my career as well as many fellow Pros that I know. Despite what the outcome may have been at the time we all agree it’s never a good thing. So what can we do to adjust, adapt and grow from this negative ego-based tendency? Here are a few suggestions:
Come back to your breath — I’ve recently gone back to yoga and have completed a 30 Day Challenge which I could do online with the wonderful Adrienne. When I was getting into positions where pain is present the only thing that really helps is coming back to my breathing, knowing that this soon shall pass and that the long-term reward of undergoing this process will be worth it in the end.
1. Congratulate the Winning player for playing non-optimally. I learnt early in my career that the best thing to say at the table is “Nice hand”. Sometimes I add “well played” but only if it’s deserved. What I am saying to my opponent and the Universe is that I am thankful that this person put that money in behind and I welcome any and all players who wish to do the same.
2. Leave the table — the Phil Ivey line is a quick way to take your mind out of the negative thought patterns which was draining your energy and affecting your game on an unconscious level which your ego might not accept but deep down you know are true. Walking outside will also boosts brain chemistry and increases the immune system.
3. Talk to fellow Pros — no-one likes a ‘bad beat’ story but all Pros are wired to appreciate Value and love hearing about spits where certain players are giving up edge. By having s close network, even in a group on your phone, you may quickly be able to let go of the emotion surrounding the loss and appreciate what they will see: the lovely value of a weaker player putting money in bad! Obviously, always do this away from the table as the above factors of making the fish feel uncomfortable and revealing your state can too be triggered whenever people Educate the Table (a pet peeve of mine for all new players who want to discuss hands at the felt — talk with people anywhere else but there are so many reasons not to do so at the felt, number one being the education of the other ears at the table who are sat there just lapping up what you are saying and finding ways that they might not have even known to improve their game, including, surprise, surprise, the fish!)
4. This is the most important reason Poker Players ‘crash and burn’ may be the very reason I did so in my early career. A feeling of lack of fulfilment and direction can set in when a player has not set goals in accordance with their Mission and Vision as a Player. I will be exposing in depth the process to undergo to get this done with proper alignment but let’s just say for now, that ‘without a vision, people perish’ ( ) and the same is true for Poker players. Burn-out, feelings of overwhelm, unwillingness to put the hours in, not working on improving your game and frustration with the ‘cards’ can all occur without a properly aligned purpose to achieve day-in and day-out. Check out that article very soon!
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