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Page 3: BalugaWhale : Surfing and Tilt

published about 8 years ago

What’s up guys, I’m here in beautiful Troncones, Mexico, chilling on the beach after an afternoon of surfing in the sun.

Actually, while I was surfing it wasn’t going all that well. The past few days, every time I’ve surfed I’ve hit a ton of waves and it’s felt great. I felt like a king. Today, for whatever reason, I was out of position on a ton of waves and I kept wiping out. Pretty hard actually, I scraped up my knee on one of them.

My initial reaction was to get frustrated. I adjusted my surfing style as best as I could (a little forward on the board, a little more back on the board, pop up earlier in the wave, pop up later in the wave, etc.), but nothing worked. I was tempted to get more and more frustrated.

However, every time I wiped out, I would stand back up and see a beautiful, isolated, pure-white beach with palm trees. The clear water, warm from the hot sun. Fish swimming around my feet. And then I didn’t feel frustrated at all– just ready to get back out and try to surf another wave.

And then, when I walked out of the water to sit on my porch and enjoy the view, I realized how similar surfing is to poker. You have to be aware of the big picture.

In poker, the majority of the game is outside of your control. You get to know two of the cards and you get to make your own decisions. You don’t get to know A) other people’s cards or B) other people’s decisions. You also have no control over luck. So, at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do.

Many players get caught up in things they can’t control. There’s a feeling of entitlement involved– “I got AA in and he had TT, so I deserved to win a stack”. Nobody deserves anything in poker. Just because I take my surf board out and do my best doesn’t mean I deserve to have a great session. Many of those things are beyond my control.

So, when you get AA in and he spikes a set with TT, keep your eye on the big picture. That literally means NOTHING. ZERO. It has NO significance. In any way. NONE. Just like wiping out on a wave, there are infinitely more waves to come. What matters is that you A) do your best at what you can control, and B) keep your eye on the big picture. Poker has a pretty beautiful landscape too if you can look past the trees and see the forest. Alright, now I’m mixing up my metaphors haha.

Also, a quick word on ego. Ego limits most poker players. If you want proof, look at 90% of 5/10 games running online. Ask yourself who’s actually making money in THOSE games. Ask yourself why there’s 3 games of 10/20 and 15 games of 5/10, yet the 10/20 players make more money. Wiping out on a wave isn’t an affront to my ego– it happens. Getting stacked 20 straight times isn’t an affront to your ego either–it happens. Deal with it appropriately and keep your eye on the bigger picture.

My good friend Leon, known to many of you old schoolers as yvesaint, described poker as this:

“Every day, you play chess for a dollar, then you flip a coin for 10 dollars. In a month you can be up or down a lot of money, but in a year, it’s whoever’s better at chess”.

When you get AA in against KK preflop, congrats. The hand is over. Seriously. Who cares what happens? Seriously, why do you care? No, seriously go ask yourself this right now, why do you care?

That part really doesn’t matter. Maybe you wipe out. Maybe you wipe out wayyy too much, more than you think is fair. So get back up and go ride another wave. Whether this wave is good or bad, at the end of the day, the whole thing feels great.

GL guys


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Avatar for esporro

370 posts
Joined 11/2009

Hey Baluga

cool to hear that you surf. I had an interesting thing happen to me while on a surf trip in July in indo. Waves had been small for a few days then one day it starts getting bigger and everyone is hanging out for waves so it gets pretty crowded. I paddled out and had like an hour where I kept having people paddle inside me and drop in and I didnt get any waves. I got on surf tilt! Then I realised I was tilting and kinda looked around and thought about how awesome it was to be in indo surfing a world class wave and how ridiculous it is to get tilted just over a bit of bad luck.

Id sure like to learn how to come off poker tilt as easily as I came off my surf tilt.

Posted about 7 years ago


Avatar for acetheory

2 posts
Joined 08/2010

Really good article. I am new to DC and these articles are so well written.
Your metaphorical mastery is much appreciated.

Posted over 6 years ago


Avatar for irtoast

170 posts
Joined 09/2009

I love the quote, good job writing the article. I like how you related it to surfing, grats.

Posted over 6 years ago


Avatar for Scoutski

163 posts
Joined 01/2008

Awesome article, really love this mindset, gotta try hard to get myself there, cheers

Posted over 6 years ago


Avatar for rocketragz

4114 posts
Joined 11/2008


Avatar for Niklius

263 posts
Joined 11/2009

Love the article. It's almost like good sportsmanship when you get AA in against 55 pre-flop and they hit trips and you literally make no emotion about it. The work is over, you did what you were supposed to do. Move on to the next hand.

Posted over 2 years ago


Avatar for MyPokerPlan

5 posts
Joined 10/2012

thats a nice analogy, as I do surfing aswell. thanks

Posted over 2 years ago


Avatar for Ratnaalinka

0 posts
Joined 11/2016

Nice Post what you said is really helpful to me. <a href="">newily</a>

Posted about 1 month ago

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