Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 75: Still Standing

It helps that I came home and won a tournament in my A League right away. It doesn't help that I continue to run bad online.

But let me be clear: I tilt, but not for long. The Day 74 rant is history. When all is said and done, it was only a 2.5 buy-in downswing. Just not that big a deal, and nothing I can't recover from handily, in due time.

The real take-away from the experience is not yet another reminder about how frustrating being at the mercy of probability can be. The take-away is about everything but the cards: getting enough sleep, eating well, quitting a session when quitting is what's called for, and continuing to make optimal decisions when anyone else would be breaking out an uzi or a strong rope.

Poker is a mental game. It is all about using your head and trusting your gut. I remind myself that I am privileged to learn these lessons at manageable stakes. Acquiring the mental toughness and consistency to excel over the long haul ~ so that luck becomes irrelevant ~ is the hard part, and I believe it is ultimately what separates the recreational (and losing) player from the pro.

If I have one thing going for me, it is that I am resilient. I am also stubborn as hell, especially when I think I'm doing what's right. I am highly competitive and I am not easily beaten down. I've got some serious stamina; I regularly outlast much younger people at the table.

What I'm trying to say is that the latest unpleasantness, far from persuading me that this whole enterprise is a bad idea and I ought to just give up and move on to something more rewarding, has ~ to the contrary ~ quite hardened my resolve. I will learn more, prep better, observe more closely, choose more wisely, persist, and eventually prevail. I know I have it in me. It is a matter of doing what is necessary, and of ~ above all ~ discipline.

It intrigues me, at this stage of my life, to have come across an activity that truly stirs my ambition. It's actually something of a novelty to me to be so highly motivated. I am not a spectacularly naturally gifted poker player. I don't have a photographic memory, or an especially mathematical mind. I'm not particularly good at manipulation or deception. But I am a quick study, and I do have a certain ear for people's emotional pitch, and I am acquiring heretofore unknown degrees of emotional flexibility and behavioral adaptability.

Poker is a great teacher, and what it teaches you most of all is who you are and who you could be. For this, I am already grateful.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just Wondering if you have joined a training site?

Venessa Selbst teaches at Deuces cracked. She is well respected female player. Bouncing ideas off of her can not be a bad thing.

11/3/08 9:33 AM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Nice post. I love your attitude.

11/4/08 12:31 AM  

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