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Rushmore 11-22-2004 05:04 PM

Poker Emotion
In response to my Platitude thread (elsewhere on this forum), Kurn responded:

A while back a poster asked how you know when you finally "get it." I think you finally get it when nothing that happens at the poker table bothers you to the point that you reveal your emotions to your opponents.

[/ QUOTE ]

This got me to thinking about why I am sometimes unable to not become upset at all, much less exhibit it.

From the bad film The American President:

Aide: "It's important not to look as if we're panicking, Mr. President."

President: "See, now I thought it was more important actually NOT TO BE panicking."

This is all well and good, and certainly worth considering.

However, I have come to the conclusion that the reason that I become upset at times while playing poker, is--and follow me here-- because I actually want to be able to enjoy playing poker.

See, I don't think you can justify negating one emotion and not its opposite. If I cannot allow myself to become upset when I'm playing well and things are bad, then I also cannot allow myself to properly enjoy the game when I play well and it goes well.

I'm not saying I need to weep, rend garb, and gnash teeth when it's going bad, just as I don't need to turn a cartwheel or do my very special "made my flush" interpretive dance when it's going well (actually, I have a restraining order prohibiting my performance of said dance in four states, but that's another matter entirely).

I do not wish to become an automaton. Poker, while excellent in many ways, is certainly not worth THAT.

sam h 11-22-2004 05:28 PM

Re: Poker Emotion
Very astute post.

Kurn, son of Mogh 11-22-2004 10:08 PM

Re: Poker Emotion
Celebrate your wins and mourn your losses privately and briefly and let that emotion pass. I personally don't equate Zen calm with being an automaton. I equate it with enlightenment.

When I trained sales reps I used Nolan Ryan as an example. If you turned on baseball game with Ryan on the mound and did not see the score, you would have no way of telling from his demeanor whether he was pitching a no-hitter or getting shelled.

When someone asks me what my goal is at the poker table, my answer is "to play this hand as well as I can." Nothing more. Nothing less. Poker is a game of making good decisions. Emotions get in the way of making good decisions. Like mercy, emotion has a place in life, but that place is not the poker table.

Not to sound too Klingon (or too Zen), but the warrior leaves his emotions behind when going into battle.

Not to say I've gotten there yet, but it is a goal.

Equal 11-22-2004 10:12 PM

Re: Poker Emotion
I think golf is a very good sport for a poker player to play. They are very similar when it comes to the mental side.

I'll let others elaborate. (heh, I dont have time right now)

Losing all 11-22-2004 10:37 PM

Re: Poker Emotion
I hear ya. If the occasional "mfer" at a 3 outer is wrong, I don't want to be right.

4 bonus points for quoting The American President.

uuDevil 11-23-2004 12:19 AM

Re: Poker Emotion
I personally don't equate Zen calm with being an automaton.

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Hey Kurn,

Jennifer Harmon sometimes says things like "I wish I was a robot." "Why can't I be a robot?"

I've posted the link below before, but it's a good story. It's about 30 minutes long, and the "robot" quotes are towards the end....

Scroll down the page to the show called "Meet the Pros" and click on the RealPlayer icon to listen. The WSOP segment is the second one so fast forward through the first one to a time index of 20:45. Of course, you need RealPlayer to listen.

This American Life: Meet the Pros

gamblore99 11-23-2004 05:15 AM

Re: Poker Emotion
I hate to state the obvious, but it seems the difference in emotions at the table is that you are results oriented in some small way, whereas Kurn tries to be totally not.

Rushmore 11-23-2004 09:22 AM

Re: Poker Emotion
I hate to state the obvious, but it seems the difference in emotions at the table is that you are results oriented in some small way, whereas Kurn tries to be totally not.

[/ QUOTE ]

Don't get me wrong--I do not disagree with Kurn. I am simply endeavoring to explain the phenomenon.

And by the way, all emotions are results-oriented. The question before us is whether or not they should or can be suppressed.

My point was that while the answer from a bottom-line perspective is most definitely yes, I believe that the resultant diminution of one's general humanity not to be worth it.

I therefore choose to control emotions at the table, rather than eradicate them.

No way do I want to be Hellmuth or Matusow or that YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! guy Matthias whatever.

But I similarly do not want to be Holdembot2004, Versatron, Series F.

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