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Thursday, November 17, 2005 

Mixed Emotions

To most people, poker is just a game.

But to serious players, it can be quite the emotional rollercoaster. The swings of no-limit Hold'em can really test your "Zen-ness" and patience. If you are faint of heart, maybe you are better off sticking to scrabble or checkers. Poker is no place for people who take losing too seriously and feel personally attacked whenever another player makes a play on them. Maybe sportsmanship isn't that effective whenever money is concerned? i really dont know.

I've personally encountered some players who are really emotionally attached to the game. They hate losing, they hate it when people make intentional bad plays, they take it personally when they lose a big pot to a lucky draw or bad beat. I believe these people are just emotional by nature, and we can't really blame them for being that way at the table. They probably easily get impatient in other situations, or even have short tempers.

Personally, i think i'm the type of person who has an almost unlimited amount of patience and will never ever take anything too seriously. That's just me by nature, and i think this is an advantage for me in the poker table. I believe the best poker players in the world are the ones who have detached themselves from the game on an emotional level, and they take the bad beats and the downswings in the same way they would take the rushes and the big pot wins.
you wont see these players react violently to a bad beat, and you'll also never see them jump for joy when they make a good play and win a big pot. They play with other people, but they are not concerened about whether they are "out to get them" or whatnot. Their focus is on the game. All their energies are focused on one mission, and that is to win this particular hand, at this particular moment.

Every poker player should strive to achieve this level. Emotions have no place in the poker table The guy who took that big pot from you is not on a mission to personally disrespect and attack you. He is just playing poker, playing his game. If a player decides to go into pots with bad hands, then by all means let them! Yes, he or she might get lucky and win the pot, but in the end, it is still the long term aspect that will determine who emerges a winner or a loser.

In the meantime, let's all strive to achieve that state of mind where outward things do not affect us inside. Or at the least, if we really can't help it, then let's keep it to ourselves.

And always have a poker face.

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Quote of the Day

  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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