Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bad beat slayer

I am on a horrible 15k downswing in poker over the past couple of months, and a good chunk of my YTD profits have been wiped out. GRRRRRRR !!!!

Poker can be a brutal game and without proper discipline it can break a player. There could be extended periods where you put in the money as a 80-20 favorite only to see your donkey opponent catch a miracle card to bust you. This is what we poker players term a BAD BEAT.

One of my favourite online tournament pros Chetna "Rex55" Joshi puts it best in her blog, and curiously this does not just apply to poker, it applies to any difficult journey that anyone might decide to take up (an MBA app process for example).:

Bad beats are non-exclusive. They are blind to race, creed, and gender. They are merciless. Every single player that sits down to play cards, takes bad beats. The more you play, the more you take... the more hands you are dealt, the more likely it is statistically that you will take a bad beat.

So now if every single poker player is taking bad beats across the globe.. how is everyone dealing with them?

What is your standard reaction when you get bad beat?

*Do you curse and chat box spew?

*Do you donk out of all other tournies that are going well?

*Do you throw things or punch walls?

*Do you reach for alcohol and/or drugs?

*Do you tilt off your roll?

*Do you copy and paste your hand history and send it to all your buddies on messenger so they can now relive your bad beats along with their own?

*Do you take it out on your family and/or significant other?

*Do you take it out on yourself?

or..............

-Do you assess your play, your own decision, your role in the hand, learn what you can and move on?

The true damage of a bad beat isnt the hand itself....it is the aftermath that ensues...It is our inability to accept it for what it is...The damage lies in the snowball affect it has on everything else... when we allow it to permeate into other tournies... into a bankroll we grinded so long and so hard for... into our personal lives.... that is where the true damage of bad beats take place.

How many poker players are equipped with the armor to tolerate the "blows" poker will undoubtedly fire at you?

The field is narrow...Most fall victim to the grimy hands of 'Tilt,' and SELF-defeat...
Don't let this be you...

Poker is all about perspective.

Don't wallow in your defeats or self-pity...
Don't question your abilities or skills...
Don't let yourself fall into a cold, dark abyss, with a tape recorder on repeat playing
"you suck at cards...you are a loser...how could you not have folded that hand? you donkey...stick to your day job...you have no hope...."

And Please don't surrender to bad beats...

It's all about our perspective...
Mind over matter...it is amazing how powerful self-perspective can be...
it is what we make of it...
what our mind creates of it...
it is what it is...
what we allow it to be...

Once you are able to keep bad beats in proper perspective for what they are.. an inherent part of the game that every participant has the choice to deal with, in his or her own way... then you will see how much more of your time and energy is spent constructively, as opposed to destructively...

and not only will you emerge a stronger Poker Player...but a stronger Person...

The game of poker is like a lifetime of experience/emotions squeezed into one 8 hour playing session. You can experience the full spectrum of emotions ranging from complete boredom to utter frustration, to gut wrenching disappointment, and pure fist pumping adrenaline rush infused joy in that 8 hour period. And like life what is important is that throughout you maintain your perspective, your focus and most importantly your self belief, else the game will break you.

I am taking a week long break from poker, and hoping to hit the tables next week, with renewed enthusiasm, a clear mind and much much better focus.