The effects of poker on life

    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
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      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      I just want to preface this by saying this won't be a standard fitness/diet type post, it's all a bit different.

      So last month, my long term girlfriend who I very much loved broke up with me, which led me to a series of realisations. She said I was just too emotionally unavailable to her, that I didn't give her what she needed mentally. After internetting I found that this consists of things like taking a while to reply to text, only meeting when it suits me, generally not being that affectionate and seemingly blanking her during things like phone calls etc...

      The worst part is, upon reflection, I did all of this. I didn't know what it is that inhibits me to act like this, I just did it.

      During the break up I found this http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-blogs/51-dusty-leatherass-schmidt/entries/561296-this-is-my-brain-on-poker . Dusty writes about the exact same problems he had with himself and his wife, that I had with my Gf.

      For me, it all stems from multi-tabling. I know that seems like a cop-out for the problems that I've created, to blame it on an external source, but I have good reason. Mainly, pre poker <17 I could really concentrate on one thing, like, my academics were solid. Now I have to take Modafanil just to read an essay by Nozick ( BA Philosophy ) and it's seriously impeding my academics currently which saw me failing this year and having to retake in September. My grades have gone from Straight A's at GCSE, to mediocre at A level to straight shit at university. It's not like I'm not making time, I am, in fact I made a lot of time to study, but it just wasn't productive.

      I've tried/trying a bunch of things, meditation, less tables, live poker, coaching, more fitness, change in diet, more social activities, but 3 weeks in I'm still the same, uber multi life tasker person. Of course I don't expect it to change in a month, but you know, I'm struggling here. I'm already talking to an other girl and what if I do the same thing to her, you know? and what if I just can't improve my academics?

      To give those an idea of just how hard it is for me to do one thing, I find it mentally challenging just to do a plank for longer than a minute. I know my body can last way longer, but I just can't stay in one place doing nothing. I find it hard in cinemas just to sit and watch a movie. I tried watching Breaking Bad this week but just couldn't concentrate on it, finding myself switching between it, the World Cup, making food, texting my friends. You get the idea...

      So this is kind of a call for help, do any of you experience/ have experienced these problems? Does anyone have any advice ( Apart from 'quit multi-tabling ). It's built itself to be such a major problem in my life that it could easily result in me losing a lot more friends and even getting kicked out from uni (Warwick don't fuck about). Atm I'm taking a break from playing, which also means I have a lot less $ coming in so am exclusively coaching and just trying to meditate/yoga a lot more.

      Thanks for reading, if anyone does have the same problems and wants to talk, please contact me through here and we can skype or some shit.

      x
  • 51 replies
    • metza
      metza
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      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      Just curious, how many tables do you play?
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
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      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      Just 4 table zoom or <17 MTT's on sundays/tuesdays
    • metza
      metza
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      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      I also had that shortening of my attention span during uni, but I didn't start poker till 3rd year soooo, I dunno if poker is to blame. I'd be more likely to credit alcohol for that hah.

      So many people 4 table zoom, I don't think 4 tabling is enough to do anything to your brain or there'd be a lot of people with the same problem. I know h/hr is high, but Dusty was playing liek 20 tables at a time or something. It's a lot less multitasking when everything is staying in 1 small grid of 4 tables than 20 tables imo.
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
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      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      Tbh getting high actually helps me LOADS, I don't drink too much atm but during the exam period we used to blaze up everyday and it seemed to settle it all.

      Yeah that's the thing, it's such a standard amount to play yet not many people seem to have had the problems I'm having :/
    • bulldozzer7
      bulldozzer7
      Gold
      Joined: 07.11.2010 Posts: 719
      i dont think doing weed will do your brain any good bro
      i know what you mean concerning the focus issues but i honeytly dont think this stems from poker.
      I remember reading about this somewhere recently. The article hypothesized that your problem rather stems from all the different things that your brain has to process in our modern world. Thousands of ads, different products, many people, hundreds of friends on fb/twitter/instagram - crap like ninegag/redditt, many different things to do ( you mentioned poker, uni, girlfriend, sports, friends ...)
      Our lives have become very quick and intense and definately more mentally stressful as your brain is just constantly bombarded with information
      also i have heard that our ability to focus on written texts for more than 10 mins has significantly decreased since the invetion on pcs

      I see myself stuggling with similar issues sometimes as I find it very hard to do all of my activities to a satisfying degree
      however i do think that for me dieting, little alcohol, regular sports (3 times+ per week), regular time off the tables!! - you cant just grind 7 days a week and expect your whole life to go smoothly- doing sth like yoga or meditation is def huge and spend quality time w friends at least twice a week - and dont just sit around smoking weed, but go out and experience sth nice

      I think planning is important too, buy a planner and write down all the things that you want to do/accomplish every day/week/year - that also eases your brain as you have to remember less
      also schedule the times that you want to use to study for uni poker and when your sessions are gonna be
      although that might seem a little boring and over the top (i am german so this is normal to me :D ) i think its just unrealistic t do as many tasks without planning

      and def check out the videos and blog of Schnitzelfish the productivity coach
    • GingerKid
      GingerKid
      Black
      Joined: 05.08.2007 Posts: 5,530
      Hi. I had similar problems as you described. When i was playing poker intensively, i just focus 100% on that and my girlfriend with who i live together tells me i look like piece of furniture when i play, because i dont even hear her when she talks to me. So we had many fights and missunderstandings about that.
      I also had attention problems when i dont play. I often think about new strategies, so when i watch movie, or talk to somebody after short time i stop listening not intentionally. Luckily i finished university and work before starting playing poker seriously. Have few friends who play poker during uni and they have huge problems studying. Some of them had to quit poker in order to focus on studies. One guy even quitted poker but started again which makes him not study.
      So i think you should decide what is priority in your life, poker or studies. I guess uni is most important, you can always come back to poker.
      I had big downswing in last 6month and a lot of frustrations because of this which reflects on my gf and life. So i thought poker and money is not worth it, and did self exclusion for 2months, and when self exclusion ended i played again, but very fast i did self exclusion again. So i realized when i dont play poker i feel much better, and my gf. By the way poker causes a lot of stress, problems with family, friends, health. Is the fun and money really worth it? In my case it is not worth it. I still didnt stop playing completely, i play once a week when my gf is not at home and when i have plenty of time, but i hope to quit it completely.
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
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      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      @Bulldozzer Thanks for your post. I really like the idea of the planner and the schedule and I'm going to implement them ideas straight away. I'm also on that guys website (skyrocket...com) so I'll make sure to fully check it out. For sure what you're saying about the age we live in is true, there is literature about it everywhere, no doubt in my mind. But I can't help but feel us poker players get it just that bit more than everyone else.

      I've been using a site called spreeder which really helps with the reading, but is so incompatible with philosophy as you really need to read it slowly. I'd recommend it for things like politics, however. Or even random articles.

      As for weed, it definitely does not mix with poker, but I don't think it's bad for you at all. It's a great way to relax and mellow out and is great for when you just want to sit and not constantly be on your phone. I'd advocate it to any poker player. I'm not a stoner, I simply do it now and then just to chill out.

      @GingerKid You sound exactly like me, my friend. My girlfriend used to say I was 'brickwalling' her. It would be like she was talking at me rather than too me. It wasn't like I was trying to be ignorant to what she was saying, it's that my brain simple wouldn't take in what she was saying. It was so weird. Even now my family can be talking to me and I'd be blissfully ignoring them.

      Poker is too much of a love in my life to give up at this point, I've met too many friends and a lot of what makes me wake up and motivates me to be proactive in life is poker. It's very noble of you to try and quit it as I know it would be very hard to do. I really hope that it doesn't come to that for me. I'd be very happy getting a shit 2:1 or even a 2:2 if it meant I could reg play 500 NL at a high level.

      I hear what you're saying about thinking about it during your down time. I can relate to that A LOT, but not just with poker, with things I need to do in general.

      I wish you all the best in the future and hopefully you reach the goal of quitting completely
    • gadget51
      gadget51
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      Joined: 23.06.2008 Posts: 5,622
      Hi ShaddoneWin,

      I found some information and videos by our psychology and productivity coach that maybe of interest to you. Perhaps you would like to check out the titles that seem to fit your situation. The link is below:

      Videos with Schnitzelfisch - NEW: How to Balance Your Life in 10 Minutes a Week

      I hope that helps at least a little and wish you well in your quest to overcome your barriers.

      Very best regards,

      Mal.
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
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      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      Hi Gadget,

      These resources are truly awesome, Schnitzel really presents his ideas well. He comes with two recommendations in the space of 4 posts so you know he knows his stuff!


      EDIT: Okay he's basically God, so much valuable info. Don't know how I haven't watched his stuff as of yet
    • batmanbatmanbatman
      batmanbatmanbatman
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      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 5,354
      Originally posted by ShadDoneWin
      Tbh getting high actually helps me LOADS, I don't drink too much atm but during the exam period we used to blaze up everyday and it seemed to settle it all.
      Did you use to get high before Poker? Could that be a root cause? I guess getting high often could mess you up more than 4 tables or zoom.
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      Originally posted by batmanbatmanbatman
      Originally posted by ShadDoneWin
      Tbh getting high actually helps me LOADS, I don't drink too much atm but during the exam period we used to blaze up everyday and it seemed to settle it all.
      Did you use to get high before Poker? Could that be a root cause? I guess getting high often could mess you up more than 4 tables or zoom.
      Honestly never even touched it till about 2 months ago, but I've had these problems for like 3 years (escalating). It was just an attempt to focus after I read about how marijuana can have positive mental health benefits on focus. I tried to stay away from it in uni because I was playing poker so much but since I wasn't playing during exams it seemed like it was worth a try. I wouldn't consider myself a pot head in any shape way or form, haven't even touched it since term 3. Still would recommend it. Even thinking about poker strat when high is a completely different and enlightening experience
    • Rufus433
      Rufus433
      Platinum
      Joined: 20.08.2010 Posts: 457
      As you said poker players just get it more, especially if you are used to mass multitasking, your brain is more adapt to make very quick and fairly accurate decisions when you play, so in everyday life you are just filtering things way faster than others, so you get bored faster and cant concentrate that much on one thing as your brain is used to doing a lot of things at the same time to maximizing the value out everything.
      I would recommend few things: try to research stuff about how the brain works, if you can understand it's + and -, you can exploit it :D As bad as it sounds i believe that if you were able to learn to be good at multitasking than you can learn how to focus, when you really need it.
      2 good books i have read about all this :
      Lehrer, Jonah - How We Decide
      The Drive (cant remember the author, but you can google it, about the motivation)
      Also i think Mental Game of poker is helpful as you can see that you need to be aware of the mistakes you make to avoid them in future(same as tilt problem), i had the same problem a wile back with ignoring family or friends when i was playing, but once i recognized it is a lot easier to deal with.
      Don't know if it's really helpful but i really like to watch TED talks on youtube, prob the reason is because people talking there are also wired differently than most people :D
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
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      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      Originally posted by Rufus433
      As you said poker players just get it more, especially if you are used to mass multitasking, your brain is more adapt to make very quick and fairly accurate decisions when you play, so in everyday life you are just filtering things way faster than others, so you get bored faster and cant concentrate that much on one thing as your brain is used to doing a lot of things at the same time to maximizing the value out everything.
      I would recommend few things: try to research stuff about how the brain works, if you can understand it's + and -, you can exploit it :D As bad as it sounds i believe that if you were able to learn to be good at multitasking than you can learn how to focus, when you really need it.
      2 good books i have read about all this :
      Lehrer, Jonah - How We Decide
      The Drive (cant remember the author, but you can google it, about the motivation)
      Also i think Mental Game of poker is helpful as you can see that you need to be aware of the mistakes you make to avoid them in future(same as tilt problem), i had the same problem a wile back with ignoring family or friends when i was playing, but once i recognized it is a lot easier to deal with.
      Don't know if it's really helpful but i really like to watch TED talks on youtube, prob the reason is because people talking there are also wired differently than most people :D
      Yeah that's exactly what I mean man.

      Really really appreciate those recommendations, would you advise to looking at anything in particular or just the book in general? Because, you know, it's quite ironic that I essentially need to read a book to learn how to concentrate to read again ahhahaha.

      Yeah I find TED great and I understand what you mean when they seem wired differently. It's just that 'Nothing is impossible' attitude that I really strive for; one of the reasons why I decided to open up on this thread and really get down to the root of this problem because I was sure it's not just me facing it.

      Thanks for the help, getting the pdfs now!
    • Rufus433
      Rufus433
      Platinum
      Joined: 20.08.2010 Posts: 457
      Not sure, i just started to read those books and couldn't stop for a while, but once i stopped it was hard to pick it back up and finish it properly. I would advise to just read it and be aware how it relates to you and to your life experiences, and how you can explain diff situations in your life, but there needs to be a warning sign if you read and learn all about these topics YOU WILL RATIONALIZE EVERYTHING. It's a good thing and a bad one, as you will face challenges a long the way in your life that you will look at everything in logical order and will be able to explain most of the stuff what is happening around you without any emotion, it can be good for you but other people wont be able to understand how you can rationalize something like that.

      One more book Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo, its out dated in poker stuff at least most of it, but i recommend the last chapter there, really great stuff, you could prob benefit the most from it atm, but it's hard to say as it's subjective and i cant what you are you looking for exactly.

      If you get bored with reading you can find on youtube Jared Tendlers podcasts.

      I have not experimented with it yet, but i think it's really helpful and productive if you make a list with things you find or hear that you found out new for yourself so you can really think about them later on and it will stick into your mind much better (idea is from mental game of poker).
    • ClerkenwellBoi
      ClerkenwellBoi
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      Joined: 15.02.2013 Posts: 85
      Hey SDW,

      First off, this is obviously an issue that is causing you a lot of concern in your life at the moment so I am sorry that you're having to deal with all of this. But just from looking at the great responses that you've already got in the space of a morning, clearly this is a problem that is shared by many. I hope then that just the fact that you're not alone and that your troubles resonate with others will in itself provide some comfort. So let it be a reminder to not bottle these things up but as much as possible reach out for whatever support may be on offer.

      And as I say, there have been some really great pieces of advice above so I would hesitate to try to add anything to them. Especially as I am no expert - neither in poker or psychology terms!

      But something did occur to me when I read what you say about your concern that your multi-tabling is effecting how you interact with the outside world/concentration levels and so on. I wonder though if you might be getting the causal link the wrong way around. Is it not possible that because of your particular mindset/psychology/mental attitude/emotional makeup etc you are someone who is suited to playing multi-tables. That because of the way you are - or indeed becoming through whatever factors in your life - that you are someone who is naturally good at multi-tabling?

      One of the reasons why I don't multi-table - apart from the fact that I am pretty crap at poker ;) - is that I just don't feel that my brain is very suited to it. I am not a multi-tasker in life and tend to only be able to concentrate on one activity at a time. And needless to say, this reality predates my starting poker! Single-tabling clearly did not turn me into a single minded person ;)

      The reason why I raise this possibility is because hopefully it could help remove at least some of the value judgement that you may - consciously or sub-consciously - be laying on yourself. I know that "This is the way I am! I was born this way!" can sometimes be a great cop-out or excuse for all sorts of bad behaviour but there are definitely times when it can serve a purpose, when it can give you some breathing space and reassure you that if that is the way you are, then rather than just blindly condemning yourself, be gentle and forgiving. Work with what you have and stop worrying about trying to demolish the entire structure.

      Now obviously when what you are starts to interfere with the rest of your life whether that be in terms of work, study or love life then of course you need to work on ameliorating those effects. And as has been noted, 21st Century life with all its myriad distractions is going to make things particularly difficult for a scattered mind. Although let's not get too nostalgic for a mythical past when everybody was perfectly balanced and lucid. As I am sure you as a philosophy student will know, Pascal reminded us that....

      All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.


      And as far as I know, Blaise was not multi-tabling canasta ;)

      So again I return to my original point - yeah way back there before I started waffling! ;) - about how this is a problem that is not only shared but age-old. And then combine that with the fact that I assume you are still young. I know very little about neurology but I seem to remember reading that studies seem to show that even into our 20s all sorts of changes in terms of brain chemistry and neuroplasticity are still going on. And even if that's not happening on a physical level, we are still forming as individuals in an emotional and psychological sense.

      Which means again that you must be gentle with yourself. I know that in some ways there is an urgency especially in terms of uni. But in a wider sense, there is no rush. It's not a race or to put it in terms that we find familiar, remember the old advice - when it comes to EV, the long term in poker is really long :)

      So however distressing this period of your life may be while you're in the midst of it, think of it in terms of one of your graphs. You're in a downswing and while you're in the thick of that, it feels and looks terrible. But once you stand back and see the bigger picture in relation to all the other results then things broaden out. It's never as bad as you think in the context of a much bigger dataset of hands. Well, ok if you saw my graph then that might disprove my point so I definitely won't call upon that to show what I mean ;)

      And just as with your poker it's always an ongoing learning curve with which all sorts of strategies and new techniques must be learned and cruicially experienced over and over again, there is plenty for you to play with as you progress.

      By the sounds of it - both here in just today's messages and elsewhere in your life - you have some great resources and support. But it will take time for those to have an effect. So I can't say it enough - be gentle with yourself! Which is as you probably know, one of the major pieces of advice that all meditation masters will emphasise. Just as with yoga in a physical sense, if you push yourself too fast and hard then you may pull a muscle and become frustrated; with meditation you have to go at whatever pace is natural for you at that time.

      So when your mind wanders - as it inevitably will - bring it back to the breath gently and without reproach. Be patient and be happy to be patient with yourself. As Cheryl Cole would undoubtedly tell you if she popped up in your meditation, You're worth it! :) And if btw she does pop up, then you're doing something really wrong....or really right :D

      And when your mind in 'normal life' starts to get really jittery and out of control, instead of trying to tame it, sometime try just watching it. Without judgement or frustration. Stand back as if you're watching a table's action and observe the play as it unfolds. Follow the thought, try to track it down, see it for what it is. See how erratic it flies around but then will often just fizzle into nothing when allowed the space....

      And at that point I realise that I could launch into a whole treatise about meditation but that's the last thing you probably need! Especially as I just rambled on a lot longer than I planned. Ooops! Sorry about that but something about your post really touched a chord so I hope you'll forgive the extra serving of waffle!

      Either way, I hope that you'll continue to seek out help and support and indeed, keep sharing here about how it's going. I have no doubt that you will in turn be a great help for others going through similar issues.

      All the best,

      Charlie
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      @Rufus

      Man I've just checked this stuff over and it's really good, already started with it. I'll have a look at Angelo's later but if it's like this then I'm sure it's going to be pretty good!

      Seriously thanks for you input, there is some seriously great stuff here!

      @Charlie

      Wow man, I must say that before I even start writing, no matter what I reply, it won't do your reply justice. So firstly, thank you.

      See now I have questioned that perhaps we are drawn to online poker as we are already built to multi task. However I prefer the argument that there is a facility within us that allows for multi-tabling, which just needs to be taught. Such as when Socrates teaches the Slave Boy in Meno, perhaps the knowledge is already in us, but we just need to recover it. Further I remember finding it hard to even 4 table slow tables when I started, I had to train to use more tables. I think it's that process of training and getting better at this high level multi-tasking, which in the end, is messing everything up.

      I really want to try that idea of just observing your conciousness, almost as if it's being narrated. That is something that I've just wrote down on my list as I think it's a truly brilliant idea. I want to know just what its doing and if I can somehow control it. I think, as you've rightly pointed out, that's why mediation is so valuable for someone like me and a lot of us poker players.

      I think the elephant in the room here is, can one successfully master both poker and life at the same time? Without a doubt I'm sure that this is possible, I just think there comes a point in ones poker life when you have to face these problems and in this male dominated game a lot of people don't really think that what I'm talking about, is something they should be bringing up. When really, we're all doing a huge injustice to ourselves by pushing these problems under the carpet. I give mad respect to Dusty for writing that article I shared earlier, he's saying out loud what a lot of us are experiencing.

      I think I'm going to spend, some time, reflecting on the vast amount of advice and the anecdotes that have been given and hopefully within the space of this summer I could try and turn things around. I mean, it literally is a constant state of mind.


      Shad



      Also, massive respect for the Pascal ref :f_love:
    • Rufus433
      Rufus433
      Platinum
      Joined: 20.08.2010 Posts: 457
      Great read man, sadly i don't have vocabulary to express my thoughts as well as i would like, my English just isn't that advance to be able to write that well, but iam trying my best, but your post is really great, i would love to read more of your thoughts on meditation and other things you want to ramble.

      On the other note i have always admired those who can quote what some philosophers or writers, have said, it just gives different kind of perspective.

      As you said there are other people that will be able relate to these problems and i think it's because we are constantly evolving as players and as society, at the beginning it was a lot of fun and easy money and we just played a lot, now we are at new stage as poker community so we are starting to ask different questions.

      Biggest issue at least for me if we look at the big picture is that we don't have a definitive answer to - What it is to be a poker player. What we need to do to be good at it?
      I think we can name a lot of things, so probably that is the reason why it is so hard and we are facing so many problems in everyday life, because being a poker player is complex thing to do and we haven't found the right answers yet. Only way we will find them if we continue to search.
    • ClerkenwellBoi
      ClerkenwellBoi
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.02.2013 Posts: 85
      Hey Shad and Rufus,

      Thank you guys for your great responses and for reassuring me that at least some of what I said made sense! It's yet more of an example of how a thread like this can be helpful to everybody and not just the original author.

      And I for one am drawn to this comment you made Shad....

      However I prefer the argument that there is a facility within us that allows for multi-tabling, which just needs to be taught. Such as when Socrates teaches the Slave Boy in Meno, perhaps the knowledge is already in us, but we just need to recover it.


      There's hope for me yet! Maybe I can manage to rewire my brain so it doesn't go into shutdown as soon as more than one table springs into action. And as you rightly point out, the benefit of learning such a skill has in turn a potential positive EV for life in general.

      Indeed, both of you very eloquently point to the important question that all poker players could ask themselves. As Shad asks....

      can one successfully master both poker and life at the same time?


      And in a sense, Rufus both adds to that question but also answers it....

      we are facing so many problems in everyday life, because being a poker player is complex thing to do and we haven't found the right answers yet. Only way we will find them if we continue to search.


      For being a poker player is complex. As is being a human being period! For there's the rub - life is poker and poker is life. I am sure that there are many aficionados of various games who would argue this about their own pasttime but of course for me - as too I guess most of us here - poker is a perfect place to see all the challenges, upheavals, downswings and - hopefully! - joys of life.

      And as you both suggest, to master poker is also to begin the journey towards a mastery of life and who we are. And as you rightly remark Rufus, the answers don't come easily so all we can do is continue that search.

      But as with any journey through a wilderness, it's always better done in companionship. It's why people never travel through a desert alone but always in a group or even better as part of a large strong tribe. It's through mutual encouragement and support that we get through it. Travel through a desert alone and you will die.

      And it's discussions like this that remind me of one of the reasons why I love poker so much. The way that it shows how we are in fact playing one big game of poker, that the session never really ends. We just take breaks and sit out here and there :)

      That question of how a better mindset can benefit our poker but then in turn how better poker can benefit our life is something that I started exploring in my blog on here - Zen and the Art of Poker Maintenance - and which I am now reminded I need to update as I have neglected it of late! Prepare for more Charlie Waffle at some point when I get round to it ;)

      Oh there was one thing that you said Shad that I wanted to suggest a slight correction to....

      I really want to try that idea of just observing your conciousness, almost as if it's being narrated. That is something that I've just wrote down on my list as I think it's a truly brilliant idea. I want to know just what its doing and if I can somehow control it.


      I am really glad that you like the idea and it's something you may try exploring. But the only thing that I would be hesitant about is that final part, 'if I can somehow control it'. However tempting it is for us to imagine a time when we are in total control, we have to be careful that this doesn't set up both unrealistic expectations and also potential further stress in the future.

      Again, it comes back to my admonition to be gentle with yourself. And often that process of desperately trying to grasp control can in itself be the cause of tension and pain. Rather like when you grip a baseball bat or golf club too hard - all you do is create unnecessary strain and tension in the muscles while potentially blocking true freedom of movement.

      The trick is to be loose of touch while not being too loose of course. Finding equilibrium and balance. All concepts that of course we poker players should be used to hearing about if not applying to our game ;)

      Or as Buddhists would say, just allowing the thoughts to rise and fall without clinging or attachment. You let go of any desire to control or destroy. Just watch. Just be. Let the thought be like the light touch of feather on the skin of your palm rather than some heavy chunk of metal which the more you try to grasp and control will just cause more pain. Or to use another poker image, it's why we focus on the actions that we have taken without clinging to the actual result. So what if in that particular hand, we suffered a bad beat? If our actions were correct then that's all that matters. We cannot control everything in the game but we can strive to maintain a gentle balanced mind whatever the cards before us.

      There's a story from Tibetan Buddhism about one of its great saints Milarepa who on returning to his cave, found a whole bunch of demons had taken it over and were wildly partying. So he sat down and started chanting in order to cast them out by the force of his powerful mind. But it had no effect and the angrier and more frustrated that he got, the more they would seem to get stronger and bigger while just laughing in his face.

      And then the answer occurred to him. He sat down and lay out a table for them. He told them they were very welcome to stay as long as they want for they were his guests. And one by one the more he showed gentleness, they grew smaller and disappeared until he was left alone and at peace.

      The point being that the answer to our demons is not always to throw brute force and will at them. Sometimes we just need to give them space. To be gentle and patient and observe them without judgement; and not feed them with our anger and desire to control.

      Of course none of that is easy. But as Rufus says, "all we can do is continue the search". So onwards and upwards my friends! At least we don't have to do it alone :f_thumbsup:

      Charlie
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      Really thank you. I hope some others can read the valuable info left behind by others.

      Yeah I mean, I think more research needs to go into it. Are good poker plays inherently different from normal people? Is there something that changes in ones mind state of mind when they get into poker?