Getting Bored with Poker

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In this episode, I describe and delve into the issue with becoming bored with poker. It’s a look into how jumping to a solution (taking a break, changing the environment etc.) doesn’t really tackle the issue. An issue, in all honesty, we all have to deal with when repeating the same activity day after day. And what’s described in this episode is a fresh approach to playing poker.

GIve it a watch, listen or read below.

The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 27

[00:00] Hey guys! It’s Chiggs.

And in this episode I’m going to be talking about boredom, which is a clearly observable thing that does arise as a feeling when we play poker for a number of years.

[00:16] Where most of us play poker now, to succeed in poker you have to specialise in some way. You don’t have to but we tend to, at least for a set period of time.

So say you are an Omaha cash game player, live, like I was then that was essentially what I was spending all my time learning about or actually playing.

And we’re not trying to judge this in any way. We are just pointing out what the observable fact is. That in order to succeed in poker, these days especially, that we have to set aside and focus on becoming skilled at a particular type of poker.

So you may already be skilled in Holdem and you may learn how to play Omaha cash. And then get proficient at playing Omaha cash. But eventually, this feeling of boredom can creep in.

[01:09] And so, we tend to jump immediately to a solution to this boredom. Rather than look at what boredom is and how it really arises. And what it really is like.

By that I mean, we say, try to learn a different type of poker. Or, say, change the environment (say change between playing live and online) because playing in one environment becomes too monotonous. Or say, we go travelling to play poker to mix it up.

[01:38] Now, I’m not saying any of these things are the wrong thing to do. This is simply observable with the way that we tend to react to this feeling of becoming bored with playing poker.

That is, we look to change the environment in some way.

[01:54] Or if we don’t look to change the environment in some way and the feeling of boredom is there then it can lead us to, say, play in this fashion, in which, we don’t really want to be there.

So for example, if you play in the same casino everyday (suppose with a similar player pool) then the environment could become boring. Or you can interpret it (perceive it) as being a boring thing after a while.

[02:23] And this actually holds true with any environment that you’re playing poker in continually or  repeatedly. So you’re playing online or whatever you’re actually doing eventually this feeling of boredom can creep in.

[02:37] And the reason I’m even talking about this is that instead even jumping to a solution, say changing the poker environment in some way, taking a break, going on holiday etc. (which can all be great ways to make poker feel fresh again); is there a way of approaching poker such that this feeling of boredom doesn’t arise whatsoever?

[03:03] Or another way of putting it is: can we play poker in a way such that each session feels like it’s own fresh thing?

And the wonderful thing, it is possible; if we start to approach poker through this awareness or mindfulness-based approach to playing.

[03:23] That is, if we approach each session with a mind that is free and not holding onto what’s happened yesterday, this memory; because that’s honestly how boredom is built up. It’s built up through the mind, through this recording of this memory. And so poker can become this monotonous thing. Because it’s this thing that you’ve done and done and done and done. Which is being recorded in the mind normally and habitually.

[03:56] Can we approach each session and do away with this whole memory in a flash?

And realise that through awareness we’re going to be observing how the game is being played. And using this information to make decisions.

[04:12] Because poker is a very dynamic game. It never is the same everytime.

And if you’ve studied poker, in some way, you can find this a bit frustrating because you can go ahead and study poker a lot away from the tables (a lot of situations that can really help you out when you do play) but there always seems to be a situation where you didn’t necessarily really know what to do.

And that’s really where poker is interesting. It’s dynamic.

[04:39] Because you’re playing with human beings who are constantly changing. You’re not playing against robots.

And you’re also a human being as well. So you’re dealing with your own mind and your moods that are changing.

[04:55] And even taking out this psychology aspect of poker, the fact that we’re also playing against human beings who are also learning about poker away from the tables in some way or being influenced by what they’re listening to at the poker table whilst they are playing, you’re dealing with a dynamic situation each time you play.

Because each time you play the person you’re playing against isn’t quite the same as even the mental image that you’ve built up of them.

[05:25] Now this isn’t meant to take anything away from taking reads. Because taking reads is very useful for simplifying and making decisions.

However, if you’re putting all of your energy into just looking at the reads you have already for this person and then making decisions based solely from this information from the past, the past being any information from a few days ago or even just an hour ago; only looking at this information then the important thing to realise is that you’re missing out on the opportunity to what this person is doing and what this person has just done.

It’s this information that can be incredibly useful for making a much better/more well informed decision.

[06:17] So the skill of playing poker with awareness is being able to make decisions as well not becoming fully absorbed so that you don’t lose this opportunity to pickup real useful information.

[06:33] And quite clearly if you’re playing online and you’re multi-tabling a lot this is obviously very challenging. Because you’re having to make decisions all on top of each other or very close to each other.

You’re not really having that opportunity to step out of this decision making mode. And simply observe what’s happening.

[06:52] And this whole awareness approach to playing poker is going to be a key aspect of the course that I am releasing.

And it will probably be something that I talk about in podcasts anyway for free.

But I don’t want to get too bogged down on this. Because I wanted to talk about, simply, in this podcast, how we can deal with this feeling of boredom when you do play poker professionally. And you do play in the same environment over and over again.

[07:22] And what we’ve actually got at here or arrived at is that, because a normal mind is recording this memory, this boredom sets in. And so what we’re looking at here is it possible to operate in a completely different fashion in that when we go to play poker we’ve swept everything that has happened. And we’re not even approaching poker through ourselves.

We’re approaching poker almost as this observation exercise.

So that we’re using the freshest information that we are getting to make our decisions.

[08:00] And if this whole thing is sounding like a bit of mystery or a thing that isn’t actually possible then recognise this:

Recognise the fact that observation, in itself, is an activity in a way. It is an action.

And to observe fully, one cannot be absorbed in thinking and decision making at that time.  

To be able fully observe what someone’s doing it requires all your energy.

[08:30] And to be honest to fully appreciate this you have to start to put this awareness approach into action. And really see it how it works.

[08:39] But essentially, the point I relay wanted to make with this podcast is that if you approach as an opportunity to observe then it’s always a fresh thing.

And I’ve talked a lot around this point. But this is really the main point with regards to becoming bored with playing poker.

[08:59] And so, that’s the best point I can leave this episode.

I will be back to talk more about this awareness approach to playing poker.

But for now, you can take this fresh approach to each session.

Take care guys! I will speak again soon.