How Do You Define Victory?
I play in one other League besides CardsChat. Both Leagues are comprised of an extremely-tough field of poker players... some of the best players I've ever come into contact with since 1989, the first year that poker revealed its pretty little chips to me.
A couple of weeks ago, a forum newbie posted his disappointment in placing 14th in his first League tournament, lamenting that he had gotten "nothing" for it.
Those of you who know me (especially my teammates hehe) would understand that his comment was a perfect impetus for a small discourse with him.
I asked him, "Ok, you played your first tournament here, knowing nothing about how difficult these games are, knowing nothing about how you would have to adjust your own style of play in order to compete, finishing extremely well on the other side of the money bubble, and you say that you got NOTHING for it?"
Sure, I like to "win" as much as the next guy, but why do we always seem to measure our triumphs by the amount of cash we obtain, or our ranking at the final table? Aren't there are lot more intangible, intrinsic goals which are just as important, if not more important?
After a League tournament, I always ask my teammates, as well as myself:
"Did you have fun? Did you enjoy yourself, did you relax and enjoy the moments?"
"Did you learn anything? For example, what can you do differently so that next time you can make better decisions? Did you review your hands for trouble spots? Did you discuss them with a teammate or your captain?"
"Did you remind yourself that in this game which we all love, where variance plays a vital role, that we can't be results-oriented?" The best that we can do is to continue making +EV decisions, knowing that in the long term, the dollars and the winning results will follow.
Even though I have been playing poker since 1989, and even though I took a break from poker with Black Friday and just returned again in January, I had never played in a teamplay venue before, so this concept was completely new to me.
For the first part of my first League series elsewhere, I was bubbling again and again. I became known as the League "bubble bear". Instead of overfocusing on it, I made light of it and designed a "bubble bear" t-shirt which I offered to anyone who bubbled in future games. By relaxing about it and just reminding myself to have a good time, I was eventually able to relax myself into the money.
I am constantly striving to improve my game. I ask lots and lots of questions. I post a lot of hands. I rail a lot of people. I watch a lot of videos. I read a lot of books. I am committed to the improvement of my skills, and I am open to the feedback that I graciously receive.
Most important for me, however, is in just enjoying the journey, having fun along the way. If you're not having fun when you're playing poker, then why are you doing it?
The next time that you finish short in a game or with a bad beat, please remind yourself that victories come in many forms beyond trophies.