Poker and life

by ~ December 19th, 2007. Filed under: Bankroll, General poker strategy, Philosophy and approach.

An entry for the emotional/life connection with poker.

It’s amazing how much a reaction to a poker session can affect me in my regular life. This is not always the case, but sometimes the result is quite strong.


Almost finished as much of the deposit bonus that I think I can do before the end of my period (Dec 27), I’ve been playing $10NL and a bit of $25NL as a part of the process of rebuilding my ring game while trying to finish this bonus. This in spite of the fact that I have a heck of a time trying to play ring on the new site as I’ve already documented here.

Last night, single tabling $25NL, down, down, up, then down, then the table started to break up so I went to a new table. Down, then a big hand up 1/2 a buyin with a limped AJ UTG on a J high flop and a shortish stack pushes his OESD but my top pair holds up. But later I get AA in the SB, reraise a button minraise, bet 2/3 pot at Q high flop w/two of a suit, 2/3 on the turn, flush completes on the river but I put him all-in (1/3 pot is all that he has left at this point) and he had chased his flush with J8.

I played the hand fine, but that one really knocked me back emotionally. I had struggled and struggled all evening and with one hand manged to get up a bit, only to get knocked back down again. It’s not the hand itself so much as the struggling and up then down that hurt. After than I lost another half a buyin before quiting for the evening.

Variance, single table focus, struggles with ring at this site since the beginning, all this comes into play. But I was quite depressed/angry/frustrated when I went to bed, and still felt the residue this morning.

I guess it’s to be expected that when someone plays as regularly as I do that when poker is running well I’d feel more gooder (“goodier”? “Better” doesn’t seem to say the same thing) , more positive, more confident in the rest of my life. Because it’s such a win/lose and competition oriented activity not everyone can come away from the table feeling happy about the results like other activities. Can I say “well, at least I had fun”? That’s the case when I play live with friends or online with people that I know, but that rarely applies in general.


What do I get out of playing then, if not usually fun and now rarely bankroll increases or winning sessions? The hope of winning eventually? The satisfaction of a simple need to play? There definitely is a need to apply the concepts and principles that I keep reading and thinking about.

If not fun or enjoyment, at least by standard definitions of the words, then some satisfaction from working through the situations and trying to apply the appropriate action. Unopened/limped/raised by how many players, with what reads, how many/what kind of players behind, what are my cards, then on the flop etc.

It’s a bit like a complex puzzle to be answered with the best solution that I can come up with at the time. Of course the cards don’t care whether or not I’m a better or weaker player than anyone else at the table, or whether I can make some moves that players at higher buyin levels can make. What comes, comes. My opponents are going to do what they decide to do, not what I want them to do or what, given the situation or even their cards, they should do. Gutshot plus overcards, sure, why not call?

This much sounds good, but the problem remains of missing the detachment that will alleviate the anxiety during the game, and any unhappiness afterwards no matter what the result.

It’s interesting that when I approach it from this direction, the puzzle aspect comes out but when I approach it from the “how do I control my emotions” direction the puzzle aspect is one that I think that I should be trying to achieve.

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2 Responses to Poker and life

  1. sehti

    the essence of your blog is so much like what i feel.You do however put it across much more eloquently than me.
    I too feel that poker effects the rest of my daily life.It all comes back to discipline…doesnt it?
    I think,like myself,you have to accept that you will always be playing poker.And it will always take an effect on your life.To live a happy and fulfilled life,you will have to take poker as a factor too.I hope you find the right balance.
    I do understand your frustrations at the lower levels($0.15/0.25).I feel that at this level,to avoid big losses you evolve into playing a more passive game.Overbet on turn/river ,if really strong at that stage.You will find enough donks calling you.
    I wish you luck

  2. PokerAnon

    Thank you for your comment.

    Natural variance is always a part of the equation as well as bad beats and times that my reads fail me. I think that I need to develop enough confidence in my playing ability to accept that easily so that it affects my daily life to a lesser degree.

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