Losing The Poker Ego

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The poker environment naturally creates an ego. In fact, our minds do. And a better understanding of this can really help with dealing with losing at poker.

The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 23 – Losing And The Ego

[00:00] Hey guys! It’s Chiggs. It’s another Losing Stress Podcast. And in this episode, we’re going to delve into the ego. And specifically from a poker perspective.

[00:11] Now, if I were to ask you to explain what poker is your general perception of it might move to say a poker celebrity who acts out when they lose; acts all macho when things don’t go their way. And even someone who generally acts arrogantly.

[00:32] Now, the ego from an outer perspective is all of these things. But it really manifests internally. It’s that sense of ‘self’.

When you look at it from a poker perspective. Say when you lose then you can really understand how this relates to the ego. Because the ego is always an individual perspective.

And by the very nature of the structure of poker being an individual game, the ego is naturally built up internally. This sense of ‘self’.

[01:08] When you lose it hurts not only your money but it hurts your perception that you deserve to win.

“I deserve to win” is what creates that struggle between what’s actually happened and what you felt should have happened.

And this “I deserve to win” belief is built up unconsciously because if you put in a lot of hours into studying poker then there will be a belief that you deserve to win.

Or if you’ve been on a bad run then an unconscious belief will manifest. In that, “I deserve a change of luck”.

Or even another good example could be say if you’re friends with someone or other people who have been on a good run. So that in itself create this inner belief that, “I deserve to win”.

[02:01] Now, when we are talking about this here, we are talking about it verbally, intellectually and logically.

Because logically if you’ve been playing poker for a while you know that you can go on an incredibly bad run that can go on for a very long time. Or you can have very bad losing days.

Logically we all know this.

However, this doesn’t really prevent the struggle when the bad run or bad losing day does occur.

[02:35] As I’m saying this out loud now, I do believe it could be beneficial to provide yourself with a frequent influence with the fact that a losing run is completely viable.

By say, looking at a variance graph or something of a similar nature every day.

The reason why I say every day is because the habitual mind learns and builds up beliefs through repetition.  And unless you’re providing this frequent reference then your mind is going to be naturally swayed by the emotions and thoughts that occur from the sessions that you play.

[03:15] And so this really could be something to experiment with. Because say when you lose, as a result, your thoughts are being channeled down a negative path, you could have that automatic reference point from this logical variance standpoint that could automatically bring your perspective back to reality.

[03:36] And I think this matches up well with what Professor Steve Peters talks about in The Chimp Paradox, in there being a computer part of your brain.

So if you’re essentially able to program that with this constant reference this could really be of use.

[03:53] Now taking a step actually back from this, because what we’ve discussed just now is actually going into and using the mind as it is; can we take a step back and actually understand how the ego is created through the mind.

Now when you do that. And when you really do become aware of how it is created then you realise that habitual thinking creates this centre, this ego, from which all thoughts are being created from.

[04:24] The fact is: we have 10,000s of thoughts a day. And so when you become aware of this mechanism, you understand how it creates this sense of ‘me’, ‘my’ and “I’ through this constant self-narrative; where it’s creating an illusion that “I know”.

[04:46] And it is of course an illusion because another mind or another person in relation to the same experience will build up a slightly different “I know”. Or even a completely different one.

And so when you become aware of how the mind is constantly creating this filter to reality you begin to understand how it blocks you from seeing reality as it is.

[05:14] And hopefully, you can relate this back to poker. Because as we’ve said in a previous podcast, tilt is the reactionary struggle with what has actually happened.

[05:26] And so when you put this altogether you realise that the natural state of the mind, the natural habitual mind is always creating an ego.

And even if you adopt the approach talked about where you remind yourself frequently about the variance of poker then there will still be that struggle that results from losing in poker.

So there’ll be that movement of thought down a direction and then you’ll have that other movement of thought in the other direction. Hopefully in some kind of movement in time you’ll come back to a neutral state.         

All of this taking time.

[06:03] And not only this, it’s very easy to become lost down one of these thought streams; or be pulled off in another direction when you’re relying on thought as your tool for handling emotions or trying to solve them.

[06:20] And so is there an approach that is not within the field of thought? Not within the field of time?

[06:27] And that approach is awareness.

Awareness being this understanding, this seeing, of the mind at work in the moment.

[06:38] If you approach poker with awareness or with this mindfulness approach then you don’t hold onto the experience of what happened.

Because there’s always this moment. Reality is always occurring.

[06:54] Going back now to the mind and the ego, there’s something that’s really great to understand.

And that is, we each have a filter for ourselves.

And what’s incredibly beneficial is to take a look at: Who am I?

Who am I?

Who am I really?

[07:13] This incredibly simple question is a vital one to go into if you want to understand yourself, the mind and the ego.

[07:24] And I think that’s a great place to wrap up this episode.

So as always guys, the best place to catch me is on Instagram: I’m @lchiggsI.