I wish I had taken the safe route and did a traditional career. My parents were right. I see all my friends I went to school with making money. I have so many downswings. Everybody else is always winning.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
I hate poker.
Many poker players tend to find the pessimistic side of life easier than the optimistic. They fail, many times, to see all the benefits that poker brings to them; for example freedom of time and/or choice. If you can make a living through poker or even make a decent side income you are doing better than 95% of poker players. Even looking at it from a worst case, if you are constantly losing, that means you are still playing and thus have the means and time to do so.
Poker players don’t seem to value the opportunities for growth the game can bring. They tunnel vision on the perceived shortcut to making quick money. They don’t embrace the important lessons which can be directly translated into your daily life. For instance, in poker you are always only increasing your chances, but nothing is guaranteed. This is a lesson that was extremely important for me which I also adopted for my life. No matter how hard you work, study, persevere, success is not a guaranteed result. You are merely increasing the chances to become successful or to achieve your goals.
Some of you might be surprised by this, especially with all the different motivational material out there saying otherwise. You may be asking “But Ben, I thought when and if I work hard, I am going to achieve my goals”. Well, welcome to life.
If poker goes really bad, even for extended periods, I know that I am still doing 100 times better than working for somebody else or simply doing unfulfilling work
Of course, sometimes you get lucky and can achieve it on the first attempt, but chances are high you have to take 2,3, or 10 attempts. Many invest a lot of time, work hard but then they give up after failing for the first or second time (additionally they also don’t always work smart). It simply does not match their expectation. In actuality, every time you stand up again and you try again it is increasing your chance of success (even its just incremental); assuming you learned from your mistakes.
So if you don’t even enjoy the game and on top of that you cannot appreciate the opportunities poker can bring, chances of failure are extremely high.I encourage you to do a very exhausting job for a few weeks. I.e working as a cashier in a shitty grocery story. I did it during my university days for 6 months. It was the best experience I could have had, even though I hated it. If poker goes really bad, even for extended periods, I know that I am still doing 100 times better than working for somebody else or simply doing unfulfilling work (for me personally).
Believe me, after a few days you will wish you could play poker again no matter how bad you run.
This is the mindset I adopted when I was grinding $5 Sit and Gos and barely making any money. Back then, and still today, I always knew what I wanted even though I had to sacrifice a safe income for my dream. When running bad and insulting the game for its unfairness and my ridiculous thinking that I deserve more, I immediately realize that it I am actually grateful for having the opportunity to play this game, and eventually make a living out of it.
If you are constantly blaming poker and are not really happy with it, essentially only playing for the sake of money or even glory, I encourage you to do a normal job. Work as a cashier, delivering newspapers or flyers, working in a bar (although might actually be fun). Believe me, after a few days you will wish you could play poker again no matter how bad you run.
This is the frame of mind we need. Of course, it is not about loving and worshiping the game 24/7. I know poker can be a bitch and sometimes it’s fine to call out how unfair poker can be. However, you should be able to realize that this is just your ego talking and you actually enjoy and appreciate the opportunity the game gives you.Then, and only then, will you have the self-awareness to overcome downswings easier. To remind yourself the beauty of poker and accept bad beats and suckouts much easier than your competitors. Now that’s an edge no calculator or GTO solver can ever give you.