If your a professional poker player you know that there are many ups and downs with the job. You will go through sick downswings and feel like you cant win anymore, you will also go through unstoppable upswings and feel like your the top of the world. Many players say that you need to leave your ego at the door in order to be a success, I kind of agree but also disagree. You see, total unbridled optimism and confidence can be bad because it deludes people into believing they are much better than they actually are. But once your legitimately good, you understand and have a feel for process orientated thinking, understand its all about ranges and frequencies. Confidence and ego can be a good thing.
I know I am better than you: When I sit at the table I am so confident in my abilities. I know I can read hands better than you, understand frequencies better than you and adjust to my opponents actions better than you. This confidence didn’t just come from nowhere, it came from achieving good winrates over huge samples and constantly re-affirming my belief that I am a very competent poker player. Being so confident allows me to play consistently, not tilt and be happy during downswings.
I am comfortable going to war with regulars: I think this is part of being stubborn and having a huge ego. It also serves many good purposes when playing. Sure, your winrate might be lower overall if you battle with regulars but if you sit out every time the fish busts you don’t get what I call a “fear factor” with your opponents. If you constantly battle regulars and constantly win, own and destroy them, your self confidence will rise, players will fear you. There is nothing better than having the other players sit out when you sit, when they instantly do this, you know they fear you! Fear is a weapon, use it to your advantage!
Downswings don’t exist anymore: Its important when you lose to look at why you lost, you need to analyse your hand histories after every session and examine what happened. Once you get to a high level you will rarely making mistakes and this translates into confidence and ego. When you are confident in your play and are happy about why you did what you did, the results will not matter.
Sure there is some mental pain when you drop 8 buyins in a session but if your so confident in your abilities and how you played, the 8 buyins wont seem like a big deal and downswings will no longer be downswings. They are just blips in the road. Supreme self confidence gives you belief in your abilities and allows you to shake off bad runs and downswings better than anyone else. Knowing you are better than everyone else allows you to look at the big picture, you may not be making money right now, but you know that the future you will get exactly what you deserve. When you doubt your abilities, you will not be playing your best and things will most likely start to go wrong, or continue to go wrong.
My ego stops me from tilting. I have the self image of that I am awesome at online poker. I have worked on and cultivated this image and believe my opponents are aware of it also. I have built up a reputation as “Squizzel” and every awesome play I make will add to my image of being awesome and every tilty or spewy play will detract from that image.
I have associated mass pleasure from playing good in the face of adversity. Nothing feels better than getting coolered multiple times and being able to stick through it, play awesome and start making money again. I have also learnt to associate mass pain with losing control, tilting and playing bad. What this does is allows me to snap back into the moment whenever I feel like tilt is getting ahold of me. It allows me to re-focus. I constantly remind myself that the other 5 players at the table are people also, they are worse at poker than me and if I play my best, the money will always come to me eventually.
Ego gives me fear of looking bad or playing bad. Being a great poker player is part of my identity so when something means so much to you, no amount of run bad or coolers is going to make me play bad.
Do you still think ego is a bad thing?