Who’s That ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล Playing My Chips?

ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล

I am asked quite often, in a nice way, something like, “I really like your columns Vince, but why don’t you ever talk about poker strategy?” I usually explain that since there are columnists who write strategy, plus so many good books available nowadays, I just basically don’t think I have that much to add. Occasionally, however, I have tried to pass on some piece of advice, usually in a general way, with hopes of helping some of the newer players.

Today the advice that I want to pass on is to never play poker when you are angry. Now that sounds like a simple statement, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, we know when we’re really angry. Maybe we got in an argument with our spouse or maybe a friend. He or she said some mean things. We said some mean things. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and now here we are, mad. This, as I said, is a case where there is no doubt in our mind that we are mad.

Fortunately most of us have our different ways of getting through this, whatever the method. Usually within a short period of time, our anger is gone and things get back to normal. I personally learned the “don’t play poker when you’re angry” lesson during my first marriage. I learned not to go play poker after having heated words with my wife. I invariably got even for any perceived wrong in the old fashioned way, by losing all our money.

As the years passed and I found myself in other relationships, I became much more cognizant of my moods as they applied to my poker playing. I found it easy to play when I was happy and in a good mood. I could even play well when I was saddened by something. When things were normal, like a “straight line” type of mood, which I experience most of the time, my playing was also good. When occasionally I have been angry, it’s a no brainer: I know enough not to play. If you are going to be successful in the poker playing business, your primary resource is yourself. YOU had better know a little bit about how YOU react when YOU are in certain moods.

By now, maybe you’re thinking Vince has made some pretty good points, but I’m sure I’ve read similar stuff in several of the poker books or columns. You’re right, there have been many writers who have basically said the same thing that I’ve been talking about. But, bear with me for a few more minutes because the biggest point I have to make, and the angle that makes this whole thought different, is still to come.

I admit I have very little psychiatric training. But as the many years have passed I have come to realize something pertaining to my poker playing. That something is that sometimes there is something bothering me, and I’m not even aware of it. Or phrased another way: I am upset about something that is below my consciousness.

At this point, the logical question is (assuming that I am correct about this “subconscious anger”) if the anger is subconscious, how do you know it exists? The answer, as it relates to poker, is best answered by explaining what happened to me last night. I had been playing a tournament and even though I lasted quite awhile, I was eventually eliminated. On the way out of the club I walked right by the side-action section. I spied a $40-$80 split game and it looked okay, so I sat down and started to play. After playing a little over an hour, I thought to myself — who is this guy in my seat, playing my chips? I realized this wasn’t the normal me. I mean, everything was annoying me. The game was too slow. I lost all patience with the dealers — they were irritating the heck out of me. The players were making disparaging remarks during or after every hand that was played. Frankly I felt like reaching over and smacking someone upside-the-head. The food server took too long to get my order. And most importantly, I was playing bad. I was seemingly on a mission to play every hand dealt to me. The demon had taken over.

I finally got up and quit. A ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล friend of mine, who had driven with me to the club that particular night, came over and asked me what happened. I said It seemed like I was playing mad, which we all know is a sure recipe for losing your money. As we drove home, I began to talk to him about how much out of character it was for me to play so badly. The more we talked the more we both realized that there were a couple of issues in my life that were bothering me. I had them stored up inside of me and unresolved, they were undermining my capacity to perform. They had manifested themselves in my business, in my poker playing.

So here is the bottom line: If you plan on playing poker more than just recreationally, take note of what I have said. If you’re a good solid player whose general playing demeanor is friendly and even-tempered, but all of a sudden you find yourself not so friendly and even- tempered and worse of all, playing contrary to your normal solid style, take heed. You may need to stop and think about whether something is going on below the surface.

One idea is to find your best friend or confidant, and start talking about what’s going on. I actually find “non-poker players” to be the best people to talk to in these situations. You just start out like, “John, I don’t know why but I just seem not to be playing good poker right now. Everything is bothering me and I can’t shake it off.” If he or she is a good sounding board, the conversation will flow and, most of the time, when the little soul-searching session is over, you will have found your answer.

It reminds me of the healthcare people who say, “Listen to your body.” In the poker business, the advice would be “Watch your play.” If it’s different, and you don’t know why, something very likely is wrong beneath the surface. It may take a little introspective prodding or conversation with a friend to get to the root of the problem. But this effort will be well worth it when you find out what the problem is and you resolve it.




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