March 04, 2011
On travel at the moment, which is why the blog updating has been a little slow. Update on my game - going quite good, but I couldn't play as much in February as in January, make like 7-8k hands. Still, I had a lot of fun rekindling with on of my loves HUHU LHE - I think I still got it! :)
The good, but not like "screaming out loud"-great results is another reason why I haven't been blogging. Was just talking to BigBadBabar the other day: "What can I say? I'm playing, I'm having fun, no epiphanies, no big ideas, just grinding". But it was only when I read hardboiled's poker blog on "David Hayano's Poker Faces" that I recognized a theme here. The book sounds like and interesting read, for example, the author - an anthropolgist - studied native tribes in Papua New Guinea before jumping int the study of poker players, heh. One paragraph struck me as so important, that I made a multitweet out of it - fail by me. Here are the three paragraphs that struck me the most:
"A couple [of points] come from his conclusion, titled "The Existential Game," in which Hayano recognizes that “because of the relentless instability and uncertainty of day-to-day gambling," players are constantly forced to reevaluate what they are doing and its significance and meaning. "If the life of the professional poker player were comfortable and predictable," writes Hayano, "I do not think that such extensive and persistent self-reflection would be required."
It is interesting to consider how "professional" poker players -- a group which for Hayano includes just about anybody who plays a lot and for whom the game is an important part of their lives -- are as a group an especially self-reflective bunch. Hayano pursues the point further, noting that one of the things that poker pros find themselves thinking about a lot is whether or not their lives have any special meaning at all.
"Many people, including poker players themselves, do not see card-playing as particularly productive," notes Hayano, adding how this attitude adds to the difficulty (and to the "existential" worrying) of the life of the poker pro. Also, for many full-time players, "there is no finality of gain and no peak existence, except perhaps winning a major tournament." The game just goes on and on and on, a situation that "manifests itself in an existential, if not socio-psychological, kind of imbalance."
I just realized both sorts of introspection come up over and over on the forums and with me, too. Just look at this blog, ffs.
One is the yearning for "a-ha" moments, as people coin them. Just look at the advice people give when making a "well" on 2p2. Something to cling on, to give you a sense of security that what you are doing is correct, or some sort of realization that fixes a leak. Definitely important that one, as long as we don't use it solely as a crutch, as long as we're not looking for formulas or easy cookbook recipes. Also, notice how this desire for "explanation" comes when we are on an unlucky losing streak, I blog less when I'm winning or losing by my own fault.
The other is the yearning to find meaning in what we do - either as poker professionals or obsessed semi-pros. Somehow I don't find that self-questioning in other professions with dubious benefits to society. I think that a good measure of self-scrutiny is always good, in any point of life or in any job, but we gotta be careful we don't do it too much. At some point the money we make isn't the be-all end-all, happiness counts for a lot. Do what makes you happy!
Anyway, long winded post to say that you should embrace your inner emo kid, but be careful and sometimes just enjoy poker, since it gives you so much joy! Seriously, do you think Charlie Sheen self-reflects on why he's so full of win, while he was the highest paid TV actor in the world? ;-) (had to throw that in there, sign of the times if I ever get to read these posts in a few years). But I do hope you like my self-reflections sometimes.