Understand yourself

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Understand yourself

Messaggio  Corto Maltese il Mar Feb 26, 2008 4:35 pm

Il nostro più acerrimo nemico siamo noi stessi ... come nella vita così nel poker ;-))
Buona lettura


Understand Yourself

Imagine yourself driving in traffic on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. You have the windows down and you are enjoying one of your favorite songs on the stereo. Life is good.

Then some worthless piece of existence cuts you off. Immediately, you feel like your head is going to explode. You lay on the horn for a few seconds and start to question why this person was ever born to begin with. Your upset-o-meter is indeed pegging.

Why are you so upset?

Well, the most logical reason to be upset is because he has endangered you needlessly, but I don't believe that is the real reason why most of us get upset when something like this happens. I know it's the not reason that I get upset! Most of us get upset because this person hurt our ego or because we feel that this person is slowing us down. Ask yourself why you feel this. Does this person's act of cutting you off really have anything to do with your ego? It shouldn't. You are telling yourself that since this person cut you off, you must be a weak person. Strong people don't get cut off. Does this sound rational?

This sort of thinking happens in poker-land all the time. We get upset over someone doing something stupid that causes us to lose a hand. Immediately we feel a sting. Often times we feel that this player has made a fool of us. This makes us so upset that it causes huge problems with our game. We can't possibly be focusing on the correct things if our mind is cluttered with anger.

The simple fact is that many people judge themselves entirely by how well they fare in competition. Some people have fun with this and take their wins and losses in stride. Some people need to be better than someone else in order to feel good about themselves. Needing to win to feel good about yourself is a psychological weakness that can tear down an otherwise solid poker theory foundation.

Sadly, poker players often have this problem in some way. They are so concerned about being good, and, more specifically, better than everyone else that they stop themselves from reaching their true potential. It is very easy to do and, in fact, it is often encouraged in American society. If you constantly have to prove to yourself that you are not a weak person in other areas of your life don't you think that comes through when you play poker?

Psychological weaknesses that can affect us at the poker table aren't limited to just this "bully complex". The polar opposite of the "bully complex" can happen too. This is when a person has such a fragile psyche that they are playing in a timid manner so that they can eliminate their exposure to losing. Their confidence rises and falls with every hand. If they win a hand they think, "Good, I have shown others that I can play poker and these people will respect me." If they lose a hand they think "Wow, I am such an idiot. Everyone here thinks I am an idiot". All of this thinking is focused on how they are feeling and not how they are playing. Clearly, this is going to negatively affect their play.

If you are thinking about poker this way it will wear you down and it will cause you to make mistakes. Once a player reaches a certain level of competence, his greatest limiting factor is very often himself. By putting so much unneeded and worthless pressure on himself to win, just so he can soothe his ego, he will often end up playing incorrectly. He may push too hard trying to get a win, or he may play too cautiously because he is afraid of a loss.

If you have this problem, you must learn why you choose the plays that you choose and you must also be honest with yourself. Make a raise because it is the best play, not because you like to show your superiority. Make a call because it is the best play, not because you are afraid of raising and not having the best hand (thus feeling foolish). You cannot let a self-esteem issue dictate your play. Remember, tilt is not always obvious. You have to look in dark places if you want to find your true potential. You must be a complete poker player if you want to be great. You cannot have cracks of insecurity and doubt.

What am I getting at? I am saying that in order for you to become the best poker player that you can be (and this should be your true goal) that you must be willing to take a look the way you handle adversity in your entire life.

None of us are perfect. We all get worked up when certain things either go our way or don't go our way. You have to ask yourself what things cause you to move away from the stable path. Ask yourself this in poker, but ask yourself also this in your day-to-day life. Take note of where you make mistakes and see how those same mistakes could apply to poker. Pay attention to your feelings in day to day life and see if they come out in poker. For example, let's look at the example I illustrated before where you become enraged from being cut off in traffic. This type of irrational reasoning can certainly be related to getting upset over being cut off in traffic.

You bet out on the flop and feel that if you raised you can safely fold. However, some punk raises your flop bet and you start to convince yourself that he is playing back at you. He is exerting his control over you because you are weak. Sure, you only have bottom pair and you haven't been particularly active at all, but this guy thinks you’re weak. It is time to take a stand! Time to take this hand to 3-town! Only now, this guy 4-bets you and you know that you are really behind. Now you might be getting good enough odds that you almost have to call. You put in way more money than you had to because you let your ego get in the way of your play.

Of course, this is an extreme example, but many people do feel this way to some degree when things like this happen. Now that you are aware of the problem you can start to ask yourself why you react this way. This is where you have to look inward and ask yourself why you feel the way you do. If you are feeling this way from simply having your bet raised, then I'm willing to bet you have this same behavior pattern in other areas of your life.

There are tons of psychological problems that we all deal with on a daily basis that affect our poker game. We have to find these problems and get to the root of the problem in order to solve them. If you don't get to the real root of the problem then you will always be fighting your instincts. When that is the case it is only a matter of time before your instincts take over. If your natural response is to react a certain way to an unfavorable occurrence then you are going to react that same way to a similar situation in poker. You can't have this. You must remain in control and to remain in control you must understand yourself.

Okay, so you can now admit that you may have a few psychological weaknesses that you need to work at. You have started paying more attention to your thoughts and you are noticing where you go astray. That's great! However, it isn't enough to just start finding some issues. You have to fix them! If you plan to do fix these issues you are going to have to do some real work. One way of fixing these problems is simply writing down. Once it is written down it is much more difficult to ignore and much easier to analyze. Doing this has helped me work through similar issues several times in my life.

Every time that you find an instance of a psychological problem pop up, write it down on a notepad. Do that for an entire day and then at the end of the day, when you are emotionally calm, read what you have written. Ask yourself why you felt that way, then ask yourself if it really makes any sense to feel that way. In retrospect, it should seem somewhat silly to you. You may be able to laugh about it. After doing this exercise for some time, you will start to immediately see when your emotions are getting out of control. You feel yourself start to get upset, but then your new self-awareness will kick in and tell yourself how silly you are being. It really is a very liberating feeling!

Another good exercise is to note your mood at the poker table. While you are playing, make a note of how you feel and what made you feel this way. Do this every half an hour or so. After you have been away from the table for some time and have returned to a calm state of mind, take a look at what you wrote. You may find it surprising.

Remember, when you are doing these types of exercises it is very important for you to be honest with yourself. If you cannot be honest with yourself about the way you are feeling and why you are feeling that way, then you will have a very difficult time ever solving any of these types of problems.

I have always found it interesting how poker can expose problems in our psyche. Our true psychological strength is very often put to the test at the poker table. You should be the one that doesn't falter in these areas if you want to do your very best. Try to understand yourself. Try to understand what makes you tick. After you do that, try to enjoy watching your bankroll grow.

Corto Maltese
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Re: Understand yourself

Messaggio  Steven Seagal il Mar Feb 26, 2008 6:54 pm

Grande articolo!
Fonte?

Steven Seagal
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Re: Understand yourself

Messaggio  Francesco il Mar Feb 26, 2008 6:58 pm

tradurlo in italiano o meglio ancora in napoletano no!!!!!!!!!!!

vabbe mi devo mettere piano piano a leggere

a stasera

Francesco
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a scusate è sempre giusto citare la fonte

Messaggio  Corto Maltese il Mar Feb 26, 2008 7:25 pm

Ultimamente mi sono intrippato a leggere www.twoplustwo.com
l'ho scoperto tramite dei libri di sklansky etc. che ho preso a londra ...
nel sito ci sono delle newsletter con un sacco di articoli interessanti .. suggerisco anche di leggere i commenti nei vari forum ...

Marco

PS si ragazzi per il momento leggo .. poi arriveranno anche i risultati ;-)) ma poi però ...
Per Francesco: a furia di leggere cose interessanti di poker in inglese ho migliorato anche l'inglese FALLO ANCHE TUUUUUU!! Vedi post su cartesio della scorsa settimana ;-))

Corto Maltese
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Re: Understand yourself

Messaggio  Steven Seagal il Mar Feb 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Grazie per la segnalazione, ho già visto che ci sono diverse cose che m'interessano su quel sito.

A volte è importante saper distinguere i bravi maestri e i chiacchieroni. Purtroppo in italiano ci sono poche traduzioni mentre ho già trovato molte considerazioni sbagliate, cioé che si basano su errori strategici o matematici, che un principiante potrebbe prendere per buone.

Ci sono molti giocatori forti che non sono in grado di spiegare nulla, che hanno un talento naturale e basta, che non possono trasmettere agli altri le proprie capacità. Un po' come Cassano e Totti, dei veri talenti che difficilmente vedremo allenare una squadra quando si ritireranno

Steven Seagal
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Re: Understand yourself

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