Oy Vey...

    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      ... Not another micro blog.

      I recently read Verneer's book, and I would like to try and 'move through the micros'.

      I have done this time and time again, and each time I failed miserably. I don't think that right now I'm a bad player when I'm playing my A or B game. It is just that my C game is quite terrible and there is a complicating factor...

      ... I have recently been diagnosed with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. I am being treated for it but it isn't something that will ever go away. You just kind of manage it, more or less. And what's relevant is that there is a direct relation between how much OCD noise there is in my head and how badly I play. When my OCD is under control I can play okay. When it isn't, I'm better off not playing. When it is just kind of under control but still there in the background is when it is the most dangerous, because it is hard to notice just how much of an effect it has on my mind set and my decision making. That is when I start to become an emotional tilt machine but may not notice it, or I may think I can play through it.

      Anywayz. I recently won a few hundred bucks on an MTT so I cashed out a few hundred to buy my very patient and understanding wife a nice present, and I kept $200 to chart my (hopefully) progress.

      I will be playing 4-6 tables, and I will begin at NL5 and see where that takes me. I will play 6 and 9 handed, whichever gives me the best tables. I will not play zoom. I don't think my brain can handle that! I learned the hard way. :(

      Yes this is about poker but it is also about my OCD. I'd like to use my poker hobby to track and challenge my mindset, and hopefully gain a better understanding of how my particular OCD brain works.

  • 18 replies
    • Tim64
      Tim64
      Black
      Joined: 02.11.2008 Posts: 7,402
      Wow, what a start! I will be following and wishing you the very best with your goals, poker and psyche both.
    • IngridN
      IngridN
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.03.2011 Posts: 12,162
      Hi hackbinder,

      Welcome to our blogs section and wish you best of luck at the tables! I'm sorry to hear about your condition and hoping it won't stop you for going after your dreams! Looking forward to see more updates from you.

      Ingrid
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      Many people misunderstand OCD the condition with "OCD" the cartoonish behavior. When people think of someone who is "OCDing", they think of someone who is hyperfocused on one thing. If someone, for example, is really engrossed in an activity, it is common slang to say that that person is "OCDing". By that definition, OCD would be almost like a good thing, an ability to become really hyperfocused on one thing. Unfortunately, that is not what OCD is at all.

      Another common misunderstanding is that people with OCD just have to have things in neat rows or they must wash their hands 5000 times a day. While these behaviors are common signs of someone who has OCD, those specific behaviors are only half the picture.

      The truth is that there are many kinds of OCD. WHile there are many kinds of OCD, they all have a common root. I like to think of the root of OCD as three parts...

      1) The obsession... An obsession is something that you know is not reasonable or rational but that you cannot control from entering in your head. As a result of its seemingly unshakeable persistance, one ruminates on these irrational thoughts and attaches an absurdly high value and importance upon them. To clarify, people with OCD know that their obsessions are not rational. These obsessions are just really hard to get rid of and enter the mind automatically.

      2) The compulsion... A compulsion is a behavior that one does because the person with OCD feels that it will ease the anxiety of the obsession. Some compulsions seem "natural", like constantly checking the door because of the obsession with the possibility of burglars. Some compulsions seem more bizarre, like someone who feels that by tapping a door three times he will avert a plane crash. Again, people with OCD really do KNOW that these things are ridiculous, but their brains do not let them feel anything but deep anxiety (that sometimes feels painful) unless they give in and perform the compulsion. It should be noted that most people with OCD are of above average intelligence. It makes sense because there is often very complex thinking going on in the mind of someone who is battling with obsessions and compulsions they seemingly can't control.

      3) The "Pull"... This is the degree of force that the compulsion has. In other words, I may obsess over the car lights being on while I am driving in the day time, but my ability to give in to the obsession and thus perform the compulsion depends on how much "pull" I feel from the OCD to actually check the switch for the tenth time in a minute. During periods of elevated stress or agitation, the "pull" is much higher then if one is relaxed. Also, the amount of "pull" is conditioned behaviorally. The compulsions reinforce the obsessions, they do NOT actually get rid of the anxiety. When I check the car lights, I may feel a very small twinge of relief from the obsessions for a fleeting second, but in the long run by giving in to the compulsion, I actually provide the obsession with an open door and an open invitation to come back stronger.

      My particular kind of OCD... My OCD is of two kinds. First, I am a "checker", meaning that there are many things that I feel I need to "check" (I will not provide a list of all the things I need to check, as I think that would be too much information ;) ). Also, I am a
      "pure O" worrier, meaning that I perceive almost anything as a threat. I get bombarded on a minute by minute basis with obsessions of harm (physical, emotional, social etc etc) if I am under any kind of stress. If you were to meet me on the street, you would never know that all of this is going on in my head. I seem, in many ways, like an average guy.



      How this relates to poker...

      With that explanation out of the way, I feel like I can now talk about what I wanted to talk about, which is how my OCD impairs my ability to play poker. When I am playing my "A" game, I am usually relaxed, so there isn't too much OCD "noise" in my head. I can make what I think are the correct decisions and feel good about my play even if I lose.

      If I am playing my "B" game, it can quickly deteriorate into my "C" game if I am not careful and if I do not manage my agitation level so my OCD does not start fueling my tilt.

      I will provide one example now (I will provide more as time goes on) of a horrible play on my part and how my OCD helped my bad decision making. Also, I took a shot at NL10 while playing some NL5 and lost a few buyins, so now I am playing NL5 exclusively until my BR is healthy enough for another shot. Anywayz...

      Ugh, the converter isn't working so I'll just give the relevant details. I had AK in the BB. The BTN open raised, I three bet, he called. I caught an Ace on a dry, rainbow board. I bet a bit over half pot. He called. A blank on the turn. I bet again, he called. A card hits that would complete an inside straight but thinking that no one would call two streets with an inside draw, I settled on checking because I was nervous about a set. He bets a bit over pot. Now...

      1) I know I am beat.
      2) I really do know I am beat.
      3) I became obsessed with the idea that I was being bluffed (it WAS more than pot) even though I KNEW I was beat.
      4) This led to absolutely NEEDING to know what he had. Needing to know what he had, even though I was obsessed with the idea of being bluffed, was "pulling me".
      5) I had a disagreement with my wife earlier so I was not playing my "A" game.
      6) Even though I KNEW #1 and #2, it became more important to me to call and lose money because I felt it would get rid of the anxiety I felt over #3 and #4. Having experienced #5 did not help matters.
      7) I made the choice to call, but given #3, #4, and #5, it did not feel like I had any choice but to call and lose money.

      He had the inside straight.

      You may say to yourself, "This sequence happens to bad players and they do not have OCD, maybe you are just a bad player." Fair enough. I think the difference is #1 and #2 and that I felt I didn't have a choice. The "pull" was too strong. It was more important to me to lose money and feed my obsession with being bluffed and needing to know what he had, even though I knew I was beat, than make the right play. And the whole time, I was totally aware of what was going on. I think that is the difference.

      :f_eek:
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      Pokerstrategy gave me $50 to play at Ladsbroke. So that is a nice little boost to my overall BR. Thank you, PS...



      On a side note, I cashed out a few hundred from an MTT to buy my wife a nice gift. I cashed out via Moneybookers (Skrill). Wow! Zero problems and I got the cheque in less than a week, no hassles. Top notch.

      So I'm 10,000 hands in and doing really well at NL5 so far, but haven't had much consistent success at NL10. I've either been up a lot or down a lot at NL10. And in the end, it evens out to "break even". ;)

      Here is the graph and and breakdown by stakes...






      As far as my mindset goes, I tilted 3 times.

      1) Hands 2000-2500 approximately... I made a bad river call which led to more bad play to get even, which ended with a poor AK shove into KK, which led to me taking a break.

      2) Hands 5000-5500 approximately... Again, a bad river call which led to a horrible bluff attempt, which led to overplaying a draw, which led to me taking a break.

      3) Hands 8750-9750 approximately... Some bad beats in a row, which led to me playing overly aggressive, which led to bad decisions because I was trying to get unstuck, which led to me taking a break.


      The common theme in all three tilts is that during those particular times, I could not get over the initial "trigger", be it a bad river call in a big pot or bad beats in a row. That is not to say those things did not happen during the "good times", of course they did. It is just that during the good times I could isolate one bad thing happening to me and assign it only a small amount of value. I did not let my mind get carried away by it. I am able to accept it, not fight it and move on. It is easier for me to do this if I am relatively calm and stress free. During times of tilt, I could not do that. My mind becomes overly fixated on the errors or bad beats... I have automatic thoughts and I cannot stop obsessing over them while I am playing. I think things like...

      "Because of one bad decision, my win rate has been irreparably damaged."

      "I am stuck this money and I cannot get it back."

      "I am a fish and everyone knows it."

      etc etc etc

      I start obsessing and I start feeling very anxious and I go into "fight mode", wanting to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I feel compelled to act as if I'm in a fight: aggressive, relentless, tricky, and trying to intimidate. Also, just like in a real fight, I act as if I'm trying to end the fight as quickly as possible. It's like I'm trying to win a tournament in one hand. I'm trying to win back all the money I ever lost to bad beats and bad decisions all at THAT table, all in THAT hand. And then I lose.

      And I know exactly what it going on. I watch myself make bad choice after bad choice, knowing that to my OCD fuled mind, it is more important to lose money in an attempt to ease my anxiety and obsessions than it is to make the right decision. OCD destroys my ability to be patient because the OCD makes demands that feel as if they have to be attended to NOW NOW NOW. If I don't, the anxiety and obsessions feel worse, sometimes painful. Much like a drug addict almost does not have a choice but to score the drug, I almost do not have a choice but to give in to the OCD because it will feel awful (in the short term) if I do not.

      When I'm OCDing, I feel compelled to sit and play through it. Like I don't have a choice. My mind keeps replaying the bad hand over and over and I cannot get it out of my mind. So I play aggressive and "fancy" (in other words...bad) to win back the money I lost, and win it back NOW NOW NOW. The quicker I win the money back, the quicker the anxiety I feel over being stuck will go away. When I finally take a break, it takes a good two days for that anxiety over a bad decision and being down $$$ for the session to go away and stop replaying in my mind. It gnaws at me all day.

      But with my treatment, I'm getting better at handling when my mind starts OCDing and getting out of control.

      These periods of OCD fueled tilt have led me to be the undisputed, heavyweight champion of deleting HEM databases. But that is a whole other topic that I will write about next time I post.
    • IngridN
      IngridN
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.03.2011 Posts: 12,162
      I never knew this much about OCD before, thanks for sharing in such details with the community! Happy grinding this weekend! #gocrush
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      Originally posted by IngridN
      I never knew this much about OCD before, thanks for sharing in such details with the community! Happy grinding this weekend! #gocrush
      I just hope I'm not sharing too much... I worry about TMI, but it is something major that is going on in my life and I thought others might find it interesting because of how it affects my play. Now, I'm just a micro rec player, but I think it is interesting nonetheless. I am trying to share without making people uncomfortable. After all, its a poker forum, not a therapy session! ;)

      As far as knowledge about OCD, I should say that OCD manifests itself in many different ways. I can really only comment on my particular kind of OCD. I am mostly a "checker" and a "worrier" about harm (meaning I feel the need to constantly check certain things, and I perceive almost everything as a direct threat to myself and my loved ones). I am also a "repeater" to a lesser extent (meaning I repeat things that I say or hear either under my breath or in my head until it "feels right." My OCD is severe because of the sheer number of obsessions and compulsions I deal with on a minute by minute basis.

      What I'm saying is that I am talking only about me, not for all people with OCD because I have no idea what its like to feel the need to wash my hands 100 times a day like some OCD sufferers, however...

      Deleting HEM databases 3 times in a day for a week straight, now THAT understand! :P
    • fruktpuff
      fruktpuff
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.09.2010 Posts: 3,982
      Hey there!

      I must agree with Ingrid, it's interesting to learn more about OCD and how it works with poker, as well as OCD in general. I do understand that it's just your case, as you mentioned, but there'll be some similarities to others probably which leads to greater overall understanding as well.

      While I shouldn't perhaps say "Don't worry about TMI", that's not quite the wording to use, but it's your blog, you are supposed to be able to write about what you feel and experience and be able to vent if you need or write down your thoughts you are having right now to be able to consider them later perhaps from a different angle. The blog is yours, and possibly more for you than for us, even though we follow it and comment back, so don't worry too much about what others will think of what you write.

      Wow, I never realized until you wrote it that severity could be measure on a "minute by minute" basis, rather than a bigger scale.. must be dreadful.

      I think I've only ever deleted my HEM databases twice, one of them was because it was bugging to hell and back, while the other was needing a fresh start.

      Anyway, to summarize: Keep writing what you feel like, and if other people don't want to read about it or feel it's not appropriate, that's mostly their problem and they can stop reading if they want.

      In the event you should write something inappropriate, we'll be here to advice you!

      Keep fighting and working to create a structure to manage it, if possible.

      Regards,
      Richard
    • martinemem
      martinemem
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.07.2011 Posts: 596
      When i multitable i have a strict rule that is, if i make 2 bad plays im sitting out. Then i see it the way that if i want to earn something, so therefore to do so, i have to play correct all hands.

      Maybe you should set yourself some rules.

      Something like, force yourself thinking you made a good fold, because it isnt that bad to fold TPTK to overbet.

      I - for example LOVE to fold JJQQKK vs fishes that suddenly bet on a overcard board. It isnt that difficult, and i think it boost your mind knowing you made a good fold - the correct decision. And how would you ever know it was a bad fold?

      And why do you ever want to see your opponents cards, the fishes make sure you see the other opp. cards. Also, its your own play you need to advance, not copy some other players strategy.

      That said, i made a call on a shove from a level2 fish with QTs, on a Q82 flop, i bet until the river is 9, and checking to the fish that shoves. The reason beeing was, that i figured with 1 blocker to the gutshot, he could easy have somthing like T9s, T8s or hands like that 55 66 he wanted to turn to a bluff.
      And after that hand, which was the 2. bad decision, i leaved all 9 tables intantly.
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      I'm playing like crap. I'm just playing stupid. And overthinking. But overthinking actually becomes thinking, "How can I convince myself to call." And it is all happening at NL10. No, that's not totally true. I'm 2 BI above EV at NL10, 1 BI above EV at NL5 and 2 BI above EV at NL4. So I'm 5 BI above EV overall, so I'm fortunate to even have a positive winrate. The last 4000 or so hands I've just been playing like garbage, not much to do with OCD, just crummy recreational player type of play. I have been taking shots at NL10 and I guess I've been pressing and trying too hard to win a few BIs all in one hand. So I've been getting my money in bad and getting punished for it, rightfully so.



      My OCD does kick in when I am losing a bit, and then I check my graph at least 2-3 times in a minute. And I cannot shake the red numbers. They become burned in my brain and I start chasing. Also, it is taking quite a bit of strength to NOT delete my database right now. Seeing the giant, red -$40 next to NL10 on my HEM haunts me. And it will continue to haunt me for a while. Deleting my database relieves the anxiety I feel that I cannot shake in the moment.

      What I've learned in my therapy is that occasional good results reinforce the negative behaviour, since intermittant reinforcement is more effective than a predictable one.

      Example...

      I check my HEM database and see bad results. Then I check again and see bad results. Then I check again and see good results. These good results give my brain a "reason" to keep checking my database. In fact, I can check it 10 times and see bad results and still feel like I have to check it because every now and again I will see a good result. But does the good result make me feel better? Only for a second. But what DOES happen is that the behaviour will continue because good results every now and again open the door for the behaviour to keep occurring.

      Or...

      I delete my HEM database after a bad day. I play 1000 hands, make a bad play, and delete my database. I play 1000 hands, make a bad play, delete my database. I play another 1000 hands, have a positive green line. So the next time I make a bad play, my brain is trained to delete my database because one time I did it I had a good beginning. Once a dog is trained to roll over because you said "roll over" and then gave him a cookie, if you want the dog to keep rolling over on command you DO NOT give him the cookie every single time. You give it to him sometimes. This is called intermittant reinforcement. Only occasionally giving a treat is more powerful than giving a treat everytime. And this is what happens with me with checking my results graph during negative, or bad play sessions, and then going and deleting my database.

      My play during the last 4000 hands or so - Not much to do with OCD, mostly bad play.

      My urge to check my results 2-3 times a minute and then wanting to clear my database after every bad play - That is OCD.

      So I am going to try two things...

      1) I'm going to just play NL4 and NL5 to rediscover my A game and I wont take another shot at NL10 until I can play well for an extended number of hands (10000 or so)

      2) I am going to TRY and implement martinemem's rule of shutting everything down after two bad plays

      Number 1 is going to be easy, Number 2 is going to be hard because I usually think I can play through stretches of bad play. Its weird... Bad beats do not affect me anymore... I truly can play through that. Where I get tilty is if I know I make mistakes, I feel a strong urge to correct those mistakes.

      I think my mantra during those times should be, "I'll make those corrections tomorrow."
    • Tim64
      Tim64
      Black
      Joined: 02.11.2008 Posts: 7,402
      I have another possible suggestion (though instinctively I think it might be difficult to implement). Maybe it's just food for thought, but anyway:

      How about playing every 3rd or 4th session without HEM on? You will lose your HUD as a consequence (for that session) but the absense of immediate and constant confirmation that you are either up or down for the session may free your mind a little and enable it to focus purely on the game.

      i.e. say to yourself: early indications are that I'm beating this game NL5, so although I'll generally keep track of my winnings, once in a while I'll just play and not worry how much I'm winning.

      Either way, it's a good read. Thanks!
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      Mr Tim...

      That is an excellent idea!

      I don't know if you did it on purpose, but this...

      i.e. say to yourself: early indications are that I'm beating this game NL5, so although I'll generally keep track of my winnings, once in a while I'll just play and not worry how much I'm winning.


      ... is a great example of a "balanced thought" that I would write out when I do a "thought record" for a real life obsession that is troubling me. Even the way it was worded is an A+ as far a therapeutic self talk goes. A "thought record" is a structured chart that you fill out where you wite down the situation, the specific obsessions, the evidence for and against the obsessions, and then you end off with a "balanced thought" that incorporates the gist of the evidence for and the gist of the evidence against.

      Frankly, "thought records" have been the best tool in my learning how to manage my OCD.

      I have been thinking about doing a "thought record" about checking my HEM because it really does distract me from playing the solid, fundamentally sound poker that I am capable of. I am going to make the focus of my next few sessions NOT checking my HEM no matter what. After all, repeated checking just reinforces the compulsion and opens the door for it to happen again. Not checking it is going to be hard, but if I can get past the first few sessions, I think I may be able to do it. The only way to rid yourself of a compulsion is to confront the obsession/compulsion and then go cold turkey. I've been successful with many of my obsessions and compulsions in real life since I got diagnosed a few months ago, therefore, I am capable of doing it.

      :f_thumbsup:
    • gigenieks
      gigenieks
      Global
      Joined: 18.10.2010 Posts: 130
      Hi, there!!

      I don't know why but I read it all, and wanted to respond. :s_biggrin:

      I like to quote you few times and give my comment or insight on your situation.
      OK, here it goes:

      I will provide one example now (I will provide more as time goes on) of a horrible play on my part and how my OCD helped my bad decision making.

      "I will provide more (as time goes on) of a horrible play on my part..." - it's like you are waiting for this to happen, you are absolutely sure you will play horrible
      Why?


      I have done this [to 'move through the micros'] time and time again, and each time I failed miserably.

      So because of your past experiences, you, probably, unconsciously think "It will happen again"...


      So when you started this blog one of the first things you said was "I have done this time and time again, and each time I failed miserably".
      How does it feel to say that? Do you have thoughts something like this? --->

      Hmm... I know I lost before, but this time no no... I'm like new man, so beware micro fishes, hackbinder is coming for revenge!! Last time you crushed me - not a fair fight really. Now I have all the weapons I need - armor, horse and sword. I will be like merciless gladiator! No one, I mean no one will escape! :s_evil:


      For now, IMHO, your mind is your biggest concern, not your play! I'm sure you have some knowledge (enough to beat NL5 / Nl10 - maybe not constantly, but most of the time), it seems to me you have played many hands also - that means you have experience too. :s_thumbsup:


      I will make one or two suggestions in a minute. Wait for it. They are coming! hehe


      You are so focused on why / how you lose it's no miracle you lose. To intensify here is some quotes:

      • bla bla bla..., which is how my OCD impairs my ability to play poker.

      • During times of tilt, I could not do that. My mind becomes overly fixated on the errors or bad beats... I have automatic thoughts and I cannot stop obsessing over them while I am playing. I think things like...

      • I start obsessing and I start feeling very anxious and I go into "fight mode", wanting to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

      • OCD destroys my ability to be patient because the OCD makes demands that feel as if they have to be attended to NOW NOW NOW…



      So here is another quote (I like quoting):
      "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."

      Let's modify it specifically for you:

      If you focus on / think what you've always have, you'll get what you've always gotten.


      I mean why are you thinking - why and how OCD is impairing your game; why and how you lost. Really, how in the world can this help??

      You already know that. Not only that but you are excellent at that. I mean if you look at it from different point of view you will see this as "skill" rather curse or inconvenience.
      Think about it!

      Even without knowing you already said how you achieve (yes, achieve is right word) losing. Quotes:

      • …I felt I didn't have a choice.

      • During times of tilt, I could not do that. My mind becomes overly fixated on the errors or bad beats... . I think things like...

      • I start obsessing and I start feeling very anxious and I go into "fight mode"... I'm trying to win back all the money I ever lost to bad beats and bad decisions all at THAT table, all in THAT hand.




      BUT, You also have an insight on how to achieve winning. Quotes:

      • When I am playing my "A" game, I am usually relaxed, so there isn't too much OCD "noise" in my head. I can make what I think are the correct decisions and feel good about my play even if I lose.

      • I am able to accept it, not fight it and move on. It is easier for me to do this if I am relatively calm and stress free.



      Result??

      So I'm 10,000 hands in and doing really well at NL5 so far.
      On a side note, I cashed out a few hundred from an MTT to buy my wife a nice gift.


      For educational purposes:
      1. Copy your posts in Microsoft Word.
      2. Print it.
      3. Highlight with red all negative things or where you focus on how / why are you losing.
      4. Highlight green - all positive things or where you focuss on how to win, what is next step etc; what makes you feel good.
      5. Compare red and green fields!


      REALLY DO IT!!!


      With all above - I just tried to make you see things you wasn't even aware of. (I could be wrong)
      And then I provided some suggestiosn on how I think you could progress so much faster, and most importantly poker would become also much more fun and enjoyable!


      In summary --->


        :spade: Forget about past, forget about why or how you lose. Don't pay to it attention!
        :heart: While playing be a lil bit like "a watcher", so when you have a successful session you will know why did it happen (what you thought, feel etc etc)
        :heart: Implement what made you play good, forget (just don't pay attention) what made you fail / lose.



      I hope this helps. See you later!
      Have fun!
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      Wow! Mr. Gigenieks, I appreciate the time and effort you put in, so I will put in some effort as well... ;)

      "I will provide more (as time goes on) of a horrible play on my part..." - it's like you are waiting for this to happen, you are absolutely sure you will play horrible Why?


      So because of your past experiences, you, probably, unconsciously think "It will happen again"... So when you started this blog one of the first things you said was "I have done this time and time again, and each time I failed miserably". How does it feel to say that?


      You are 100% right. Negative self talk is a major problem for me both in poker and in real life. I will quote my psychiatrist - "People with your condition have an uncanny way of making their worst fears come true." I guess when I wrote those negative phrases I was trying to be open and honest. While I was truthful in what I said, the REAL truth that comes out is that I have a negative mindset. When I say those things I guess I am trying to accept my loss before it happens. I guess it is a way for me to "control" those losses. It does not feel good to say those things, to be honest. I guess this is not a good thing to think when I am going to play. :(

      Do you have thoughts something like this? ---> Hmm... I know I lost before, but this time no no... I'm like new man, so beware micro fishes, hackbinder is coming for revenge!! Last time you crushed me - not a fair fight really. Now I have all the weapons I need - armor, horse and sword. I will be like merciless gladiator! No one, I mean no one will escape!


      How about this...

      "In the past, I have lost $$$ playing poker. I have also shown myself that I am capable of playing well. When I am relaxed and focused, I play well. Right now I am relaxed and focused, so I am capable of having a quality session."

      It encapsulates three truths...

      1) I have lost.
      2) I have played well.
      3) I play well when I am relaxed and focused.

      It is also a positive statement. And, it focuses on playing well, NOT winning. I like it. =)

      I mean why are you thinking - why and how OCD is impairing your game; why and how you lost. Really, how in the world can this help??


      I understand what you are getting at. That thinking too much about my OCD is a kind of negative self talk. In regards to OCD, I think it is a balancing act because it is not something I can or should ignore. Why? Because ignoring the symptoms of my OCD almost destroyed my marriage. I have to acknowledge it because it is a powerful force in my life, but at the same time I cannot let it turn into negative self talk. I see what you are saying.

      Copy your posts in Microsoft Word. Print it. Highlight with red all negative things or where you focus on how / why are you losing. Highlight green - all positive things or where you focuss on how to win, what is next step etc; what makes you feel good. Compare red and green fields!


      I didn't need to print it. It is painfully obvious that there are significantly more negative statements about myself than positive ones. It is clear that I lack confidence and that I am thinking like someone who is trying to lose. When I am relaxed and focused I am confident.

      I appreciate the conversation. :)
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      So I played over 10K hands at NL5 to regain some confidence before I shoot at NL10 again. I decided to play NL5 Zoom just to try it at stakes that I am comfortable in. It is going extremely well. So I am back to playing some NL10 and I'm feeling pretty good about my play overall. There were some periods of bad play but I managed to get over them.

      At first, I went three solid days without looking at my HEM graph etc. That really set the tone, I think, as far as my focus goes. Nothing produces more anxiety (and for me, OCD symptoms) then uncertainty (uncertainty regarding my ability to play, and my ability to maintain a healthy mindset). I think the knowledge, so far anyways, that I am proving to myself that I can beat NL5 goes a long way to being able to let go of a bad session and minimize the effect it has on my decision making the session AFTER a bad session.

      I know that if I am relaxed, and if I am patient and play my game, I can sustain a decent winrate. It has only been 30K hands, so I'm not getting my hopes up too high, but if I can go 50K and then 100K hands and sustain a decent winrate while PLAYING WELL, I will hopefully sustain some confidence and certainty regarding the overall quality of my play.

      "I know that if I am relaxed I play well for the stakes I am playing. If I have a bad session, the next one will not be bad if I am relaxed."

      I don't plan on playing NL10 Zoom for now. I am happy with the volume I am putting in at NL5 and the corresponding bonuses I get. Maybe I'll think about NL10 Zoom once I have a consistent positive winrate after X hands. I am happy with what I am doing right now.

    • fruktpuff
      fruktpuff
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.09.2010 Posts: 3,982
      Glad to hear you're managing in smaller blocks to avoid looking at the graphs, baby steps will get you there!

      Glad to hear you're feeling strong about the NL5 crushing, and doing ok at zoom as well.

      I totally think going for normal NL10 will be better, since variance is bigger and edge often smaller in Zoom, and a bad session can be tough for anyone.

      Loving the current mindset and feeling that you're playing well, keep us updated on how it works onwards.

      Regards,
      Richard
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      Took a shot at NL10 Zoom 6 max...

      Played bad.

      Got destroyed.

      Started checking HEM repeatedly.

      Got destroyed.

      Grinded it all back.

      Continued playing NL10 Zoom 6 max because I got obsessed with getting lots of points.

      Got destroyed.

      Tried to nit up.

      Got destroyed.

      Got hit with a variance stick.

      Got destroyed.

      Tilted.

      Got destroyed.

      Was left with my original $200 + $1.29 = $201.29

      Became so obsessed with starting again exactly at $200 that I let myself get blinded until I got as close as possible to $200.

      ($200.09)

      Deleted database. Taking a break.


      What lessons did I learn?

      - I am not as good as I think
      - My mindset is very inconsistent
      - I am not controlling my OCD as well as I think I am
      - I need a target
      - I have not accepted that losing is part of the game and that good play is more important than results, and that even good players can lose for extended periods of time


      What will I do about it?

      - Review Verneer's book
      - Review Tendler's book
      - Set three rules -
      1) I can check my HEM only once per day
      2) I can check my Stellar progress only once per day (hidden)
      3) When I sit to play, if I cannot do #1 and #2, then I don't play

      - My target is 2BB/100 hands over 25000 hands NL5 Zoom 6 handed
      - Ask myself one question before big decisions, "Is this call/check/fold/raise a solid play?"


      Oy Vey.

      :facepalm:
    • imagna
      imagna
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.10.2008 Posts: 1,240
      Hola hackbinder,

      Lindo blog! Nice blog jejejeje :)

      Estas jugando zoom 6max?
    • hackbinder
      hackbinder
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.05.2009 Posts: 618
      A major problem that people with OCD have is that it is very hard for us to enjoy life. This aspect of my OCD has been noticed by my friends and my wife. I can sometimes be a real drag to be around...

      1) Last night, two friends of mine and I played in a $100 buy in tournament at a casino. It had 40 players. I came in second and won $1080. I should be happy, right? I'm not.

      2) Two weeks ago, a friend and me went to a casino to play 1/2 cash. I ended up with $350 profit. I should have been happy, right? I wasn't.

      3) About a year ago I entered a charity rebuy tournament and split first place with another guy. I don't remember the details but I should have been happy, right? I wasn't.

      There was one time when I won a $1 tourney online with 5000+ players and I won approximately $700 that I remember feeling happy.

      It isn't that I don't want to feel happy, it is that I CAN'T feel happy. There are too many negative thoughts taking up my mental space. It isn't overwhelming because I'm on a cocktail of medication, but it definitely makes it hard to enjoy things that normal people enjoy.

      So what thoughts are being put into my mind by the little devil on my shoulder named OCD?

      1) I cannot stop thinking about mistakes I made. Any time I want to feel good about the result, my mind blocks it with my mistakes.

      2) I cannot stop thinking about times where I got lucky. Even though I know that to win any tournament you need some luck, and even though I know that other players at the final table also had hands where they got lucky, it does not matter. My mind ruminates about the times I got lucky and spoils the enjoyment of the experience.

      3) If I played well for a stretch of time, my mind does not let me recognize it as such. It tells me that I was just fortunate. In other words, other people make good plays. My good plays are not good, they are just lucky.

      You may say that while my excessive preoccupation with certain thoughts is OCD, the negativity that colours these thoughts seems like depression. You would be right. People with OCD are VERY prone to clinical depression. When your life is ruled by repeating thoughts, rituals, mental twists and weird behaviours, AND if other people notice, it becomes very difficult to enjoy the things that everyone else enjoys.

      I do not want to sound like I'm some sort of goth who walks around with a permanent scowl or some emo with a permanent frown. If you were to meet me, you would say I'm just a regular guy. Maybe a little odd, but nothing out of the ordinary. All of this happens in my mind and I try to not let it affect the persona that other people see. Most of the time, I am successful.

      So if I didn't feel happy, what did I feel last night, coming in second? I felt relief that it was over. I felt awful that I could not tell my wife and son that I was a winner. But I felt pretty good that I can buy my son, who is two and a half, his new "big boy bed" and that I do not have to worry about the price. All I have to worry about is making him happy. I feel good that I can give 10% of my winnings to God. And I feel good that I can take my wife to an expensive restaurant for a night out, and that I am paying for it with the money I worked for, as opposed to "us" paying for it with money WE worked for.

      I have to admit, that does feel pretty damn good.

      And I think it is time to try again...






      :pokerface: