re: Poker & This Can't Be Healthy!
Originally Posted by LombardiStix
Very interesting topic. I think the key word in the equation is balance. You must balance your life in a way which allows all of that negative energy to escape through a positive form. This is the only way to deal/cope long term with the feelings you describe....
You must change the very feelings you are feeling. This would require some form of cognitive therapy (maybe not professionally), but it would take massive effort on your part to change your very thought process (intake) during your poker sessions. It may also help your results to consider each hand in a more objective form. The "distance" from the results of your game could help you evaluate your play and manage your emotional swings. Sometimes we also feel very strong negative feelings because we are risking TOO MUCH on your pocket aces holding up etc. So maintain strong BRing management as well.
Originally Posted by Joe Slick
I think this is one area where the multitablers have an advantage over the single table players. Multitablers don't have time to dwell on bad results because there is always another hand on another table that requires their attention.
Depression from losses is a different issue. You can't win every time and losing streaks are part of the game. If losing depresses you because you can't afford the losses, you shouldn't be playing. If losing depresses you because it hurts your ego, get over it or stop playing.
Also, being afraid to lose makes it impossible to be a winner. There's a fantastic quote from the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer" that I've never forgotten. It's a movie about child chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin. This quote is said to Josh by his street-smart Central-Park-playing chess buddy Vinnie (Laurence Fishburne) about Josh's chess coach Bruce (Ben Kingsley):
"He didn't teach you how to win, he taught you how not to lose. That's nothing to be proud of. You're playing not to lose, Josh. You've got to risk losing. You've got to risk everything. You've got to go to the edge of defeat. That's where you want to be, boy - on the edge of defeat."
All the above IMHO.
Originally Posted by TheNoob
You know what I noticed? (now I know nothing about your game, so it's obvious this is not a comment on the quality of your play).
Early in my career, my game was WAY worse than it is now, and the game was WAY more stressful.
It didn't take me long to realize the stress was a result of playing hands I shouldn't have played putting me in stressful situations I shouldn't be in.
^^^All above are the keys imo and valid points.
There are some important steps one must take in order to learn to control the extremes in emotions that poker can deal to you. Those extreme ups and downs will kill your game and mess with your mind.
I believe it's a valuable life lesson to go through these extremes and learn how to cope/deal/control it.
What I have learned to control my emotions so they aren't extreme, but mild reactions to little reaction to no reactions, depending on many factors:
1. Don't play for more than you can afford to lose. If you play scared you can't play the game the way it was meant to be played. You'll allow your emotions to control your actions because you have a vested interest in not losing the money you can't afford to lose.
2. Learn the odds
. All of them. The better you understand what your odds are, what your opponents odds are then the better you will be able to control your emotions when your opponent hits that flush on the river cracking your flopped set because you realize he not only had more outs than you to make his hand but had the proper odds to make the call. You'll find yourself saying "I would have done the same thing in his shoes" when you lose instead of concentrating on the fact that you lost.
3. Learn the game better. Once you have a better understanding of the game, hands played and from what positions, opponents styles, stack sizes, etc; the less your emotions will come into play. You'll be able to better understand why the button called the 3x bb pfr with 67su as he was getting 6:1 to make the call by the time it got around to him and not be so upset when your AA gets cracked by him with that hand. You'll be able to better understand why the chip leader called your all in preflop from the bb with 73os because he was getting 4:1 to make the call with atc. You'll be able to better understand why the player who appears to be a bully at your cash table is always picking on your blinds because you don't defend them, you're playing the cards instead of the players. You get the idea..
4. Don't get married to your hands. When you raise utg with QQ and the nit in the bb calls and he leads into you on an A high wet flop, learn to give it up. Or if you have JJ and the flop is 10 9 7 - all diamonds and your Jacks are black and you've got two opponents betting the pot before it gets to you - don't get married to your over pair, learn to give it up.
So basically, emotions will be less extreme if you learn the game better and understand why people do what they do. Of course there is just no explanation for some of the plays & idiots out there, but still, learn the game better, learn odds, learn outs, learn position, learn stack sizes, learn styles, learn bankroll management etc;
Do the above and not only will your emotions be less affected by the game, but you'll find the balance, you'll improve your game and feel more confident.