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.