Monday, July 29, 2013

Bug's Poker Tip #30

Ask yourself: Do I Want to Play Poker, or Win at Poker?

Do you genuinely want to succeed at poker, or only pretend to get better? There is no right answer, but it's a crucial question to ask yourself. Why do you sit down at the felt on a regular basis and fork over your hard-earned money? For some players, just the act of playing poker is enough. Camaraderie, a night out with the boys (or girls), gambling it up, the rush of adrenaline, the promise of getting lucky... these are valid reasons for sitting down on a Tuesday night to play cards. But you won't ever be a long-term winner at the game if just having fun is the sum total of your poker aspirations.To win means... gasp... hard work. To win at poker takes discipline, patience, a desire to learn, a desire to observe, guts... and self-awareness. If you're not willing to put in the work, don't even bother. You're wasting your time.

As Paul Mendelson wrote in The Mammoth Book of Poker (Mammoth Books), "If you can't be bothered with [working at your game], and what you really want is action, then decide right now that to play poker is your goal. You'll enjoy it, you may win a little for a short time, you may live your dream. However, if you aspire to be in contention for a WSOP or WPT bracelet; if you'd like to make consistent pocket money--or much more; if you enjoy learning and derive enjoyment from the process, then, if you put your mind to it, you will play better poker, you will win more, more often, and better still, you'll continue to improve every time you play. But, it does take effort. Are you up for it?"

A key ingredient in the pursuit of Life Happiness (or Zen, or just plain old Contentment) is the awareness of who you really are. Physician heal thyself. The same is true on the felt. Don't fight your nature; it's like swimming against a strong current-- you will get frustrated, tired, and end up right back where you started. Like I said earlier, there is no right answer. Do you want to play poker or win at poker? Recognize into which camp you fall, and then pursue that, and not the other.

All-in for now...

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