Poker and Satisfaction

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A look into the issue of becoming dissatisfied with poker with some real practical tips!

Either listen or read below:

[00:00] Hey guys! It’s Chiggs! It’s another Losing Stress Podcast; what I believe is the 31st episode.

And in this episode I want to delve into a topic that I think is relevant for poker players: that is dealing with satisfaction and playing poker professionally.

[00:16] Now as someone who played poker professionally for six years and also someone who was part of the poker environment, had a lot of poker friends, observed how poker players behaved in and off the felt this issue of becoming dissatisfied with playing poker is a common issue that is shared amongst all poker players it seems.

It seems that we all become dissatisfied with poker.

Reasons for Dissatisfaction

[00:45] And you’ve got to ask yourself why is this?

If I am dissatisfied with poker. What’s really going on here?  

  • Am I becoming dissatisfied with poker because the environment is becoming too competitive?
  • Am I making less money at it? – That’s a very good cause for becoming dissatisfied with poker.
  • Am I becoming dissatisfied with poker because it is becoming too monotonous?
  • Or am I becoming dissatisfied with it because I don’t feel fulfilled by it?  Because I feel like being a poker player doesn’t actually satisfy a need for society.

These are all possible reasons why a person may feel dissatisfied with playing poker over a certain period of time.

“I play a game of cards for a living”

[01:35] And the thing is when you actually look at this situation from a broader perspective and from a very human perspective you realise that if “I as a human being have all my necessities quite clearly covered (say for example shelter, food and clothes) and combined with the fact that I play a game of cards for a living; which, to be honest, all poker players lose complete sight of because they become engulfed in the influence of their own results and the poker environment, which all ends up clouding over the broader perspective that if you play a game of cards for a living and you were to say compare yourself to the rest of humanity you realise that you’d be in a very, very high percentage of welfare (or whatever appropriate measure you could possibly use with respect to this.

Dissatisfaction is a serious thing

[02:36] And so because this dissatisfaction with playing poker is a real issue and it is a very serious issue, in the fact that it causes me not to be happy, I have to go ahead and look at what creates this sense of dissatisfaction and how I can go ahead and practically deal with as a very serious thing.

Which to be perfectly honest, no one really seems to do.

[03:05] And so the first step is to realise the fact that this dissatisfaction is a practical problem that I am going to have to go ahead and deal with for myself.

Because I can see that it arises within myself.

And because I want to really understand and get a clear perspective on what causes this dissatisfaction I have to understand:

What is dissatisfaction?

[03:34] What is actually, internally? 

Because it is an internal thing. Because it is something that I feel as a separate individual.

And when you do go into this you realise that this dissatisfaction is built up from this recording of memory.

[03:53] As our minds are acting and automatically recording memory and recording this poker experience of playing and playing and playing this naturally leads to this dissatisfaction that comes with playing.

In fact, this will hold true with any activity. If I’m continually holding onto the memory of what I’ve done previously. Say for example I play tennis, day after day after day then it’s quite clear that it’s very easy to become dissatisfied and/or bored with tennis.

[04:30] And so because this recording of this memory causes this dissatisfaction further down the line I have to also understand what is causing this recording of memory?

[04:42] And when I go into this: this ends up being a fairly deep thing. And is something that a lot of people tend to shy away from and not look at; the fact that thought and me thinking about that creates this memory.

Whereas, when I am actually fully attentive in the moment to what’s actually happening then this recording of memory doesn’t actually occur.

[05:09] What I actually mean by this practically and not just something that is a theory: is that when we’re fully attentive to playing we are only going to go ahead and:

  • use thinking about decisions that I have to make;
  • possibly say interacting with other players;
  • but also spotting the uselessness and the actual danger of these thoughts that come up that surround the results that I’m having from playing poker at the time, the opinions that I have of other players whether I like them, dislike them and all of these thoughts of this kind of nature, which don’t really serve you any purpose at all i.e. they’re useless. And also, they cause these psychological issues further down the line.

[05:58] And so being attentive in the moment when you do play poker is incredibly important.

Meditation and Poker

[06:05] And one thing that is very important to realise is that we all have these stored up memories of playing poker.

And so is there a way that I can go ahead help myself before I play so that these memories aren’t essentially not taking as big of an effect or ideally no effect whatsoever?

[06:28] And once you go into this and you realise and get into meditation you realise that it is incredibly practical for this purpose.

[06:39] Now, without going into it too deeply, the type of practice that is going to be of real benefit is an open awareness meditation.

And this is a meditation I have mentioned in a previous podcast (Episode 15 – Types of Meditation Practice) that has scientifically-backed studies.

As well as the fact that when you look at it just objectively and practically you can see how it can relate well to playing poker with the fact that you’re not just simply focusing on one thing but going ahead and and looking at all the stimuli.

[07:14] I’m not going to go into this a bit more deeply even though it is very practical because I do recommend going back and listening to theTypes of Meditation Practice podcast.

[07:24] And what I actually want to talk about, which I think is incredibly important (which I don’t think a lot of poker players again go into) is this crucial step that goes with becoming dissatisfied with poker, something that really has to be cleared up, that is:

Why I do actually play poker?

[07:47] This is something that I’m actually going to go ahead and clear up because unless I know why I actually play then I’m going to be forever going ahead then just being like a hamster on a wheel; just continually going through the motions.

[08:00] SO how do I actually find out why I actually play?

Because a lot of us may not actually know, especially in a very clear and objective sense.             

[08:12] The way to go about this is to sit somewhere quietly for say a minute or two or even five minutes then put yourself this question:

Why do I play poker?

And just see what comes up. Because what comes up is going to be honest. That is if you go ahead and clear everything away fully before you ask this question then you can look at it without any influence.

[08:41] And I actually think this is a good point to leave this podcast because it’s left you with something very practical that you can go ahead and do.

Now, especially, if you can go ahead and sit somewhere quietly and figure this thing out because you can’t really avoid this question.

It’s a question that you need a very clear answer for.

By having a very clear answer for this you can then go ahead and shape the way you then go-ahead play. It can shape the goals that you have within poker.

It shapes everything.

[09:13] So it might take you several times of sitting there and asking this very serious question but once you go ahead and understand it, it’s going to be very practically useful for you.

[09:26] On that note guys, take care!

As always you can find me on Instagram, I’m @lchiggsl.

Looking Further At Your Mind in Poker

Image for your mind in poker

If you want to find out more about how your mind and brain deal with being in poker. Check out this clear presentation.