Do you ever feel a sense of loneliness being in the world of poker? You’re not alone with this feeling. Let’s see if we can explore this together 🙂
The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 41 – Feeling Alone in the Poker World
I think this is a really good topic to cover because it’s not something that’s commonly covered in mainstream media and judging by the vote we had on the Instagram page, @lChiggsl, this is a popular topic that you guys also want to explore.
So let’s explore it.
When we do explore this topic, it’s vital and imperative that we look at it in a way that is factual and not based on anyone’s opinions. So let’s start with what we can observe very simply with what poker is like and what it’s like on a human level to play poker professionally.
Why do I feel Alone in Poker?
As we first approached this topic, I think it’s important to know the general, the structure of poker is geared towards the individual because of course your results are precisely your results and not another person’s results.
[01:14] So whilst you might sell action in certain ways and be sharing results with other people, in some ways, for the most part, your results are yours as a single human being.
So the very structure of poker in a way breeds this singularity, unlike in say, a traditional job where you’re working in a team towards a common goal with common results. And some of us might feel like this is the exact sticking point for why you dislike being a poker player.
Disliking and Being Dissatisfied with Poker
That is you feel like you’re only doing something for yourself, and if you were perhaps doing something else that benefited more than just yourself, that that would make you happy. Now, this is an interesting thought process is interesting because I think it’s a common thought process that many of us have had in the poker world that I’ve thought about possibly quitting poker or not being satisfied with poker.
[02:22] The thought process that if I did something else, I would be happy.
But what’s clear to me, as someone who personally has stopped playing poker, it’s that it’s important and vital to get a clear picture of what it’s like to live a different life.
Alternatives to Poker
Say for example, if you get a job or if you become an entrepreneur or run a business, what is it actually like in the daily life for someone who decides to do something else?
So for example, if you’re thinking in your mind that you might want to become, say an entrepreneur and do something business-related then it’s important to realise what it’s like to live like a businessman or live like an entrepreneur.
And of course the only way to really know this is to try it. But the next best thing is to ask people around you that are honest, that are hopefully close to you and will provide you with an honest picture of what their daily life is like right now.
[03:30] From this, you can make a more informed decision because you get a clearer picture of what it’s like. Because if you decide to do something else, then you’re not only signing up to work in the new space but also to the lifestyle that goes along with this new work environment.
What are some of the Causes of Loneliness in Poker?
And now it seems like we’ve gone down a bit of a tangent away from the main topic. What we wanted to cover in this podcast, which is feeling alone in the world of poker. So far what we’ve got at is that the structure of poker is inherently designed for solo results and in this, we may eventually become dissatisfied with poker or we may think we’re dissatisfied with poker for this reason.
So we have skirted around this issue of feeling alone. So let’s see if we can go a bit further by going more direct into experiences of being a poker player.
[04:37] I think one of the best cases to explore is being an online poker player because when you’re an online poker player, a fulltime one, at least then you’re typically spending a lot of your time by yourself.
And if you spend a lot of time playing poker, at some point it doesn’t matter what personality type that you have, at some point you feel like you want to go ahead and interact with other human beings.
And perhaps you draw this conclusion in the mind about online poker involves this lonely existence. So perhaps you go ahead to play live to mix it up.
Live vs Online Poker
Playing live can be an interesting thing. Because if you have no one that you really know or no one that you’re acquainted with or friends with when you go to play, then what you may realise that the live experience can feel a bit lonely too. That is if you have a personality type that doesn’t easily make friends with people. Or you’re simply not in the mood where you’re feeling very friendly towards people,
[05:47] Because when you’re folding hands and not really doing anything then you’re not interacting with the other players around you. And so when you leave to stop playing, then you realise that the human interaction that you desired when you went to go play poker wasn’t really there. This is one case although a fairly common occurrence.
Friends in Poker
But I think this feeling of aloneness in the world of poker can be extended even further to when you have poker friends and you realise that they’re all doing their own thing and they might feel like they’re not really there for you.
But going back to the structure of poker it’s inherent why this is the case. Because it’s all based in effect on solo results. And even in spite of this, we still tend to make friends within the world of poker because as human beings, our behavior is to make friends really with people that we interact with commonly and regularly. And in the world of poker you tend to make friends fairly easily. Because it’s a very different world and a different lifestyle.
[07:01] And I think even in spite of this, I do think a lot of us in the poker world have this feeling of aloneness.
Relationships and Poker
And one of the points this leads us to is relationships. I think in the world of poker, many of us struggle in relationships, but to go into this topic, leads down quite a long tangent, so let’s cover this at another time on The Losing Stress Podcast and simply skip to what’s relevant to this topic.
And that is that even if you’re in your relationship, you can still feel the sense of loneliness. So let’s see if we can explore what their sense of loneliness is.
What is Loneliness?
Is this sense of loneliness this feeling of not having somebody to depend on?
Because I think this feeling of loneliness usually crops up after playing poker or even before playing poker and not really during playing poker too often.
[08:10] So this feeling of loneliness crops up when we have this feeling that we don’t have somebody to depend on in our time outside of poker.
And I think that’s really what this feeling of loneliness is.
It’s this feeling of not having another human being around you that you can interact with and feel comfortable with or just have fun with.
And this is really interesting when you look at this from an objective perspective and look at it from a human perspective and see that behaviourally human beings like to exist in groups.
I think if you were to look at this from an evolutionary standpoint, you’d see that human beings like to collaborate with each other in general. Hunter-gatherers were not Hunter-gatherers just for themselves but for the whole tribe.
And this is perhaps where the issue lies in that the poker environment: looking to only do something for yourself goes inherently against the way that we’ve evolutionarily evolved and biologically evolved.
Modern Culture and Loneliness
[09:21] Whereas the way cultures typically are now, especially the poker culture and the poker environment, it’s all about the individual getting his piece of the cake. But again, the topic of modern culture is too broad a topic to go down right now as we look to get to the bottom of this feeling of aloneness.
What we said so far is that aloneness is this feeling that we’re lacking someone to be with us right now. And when we become absorbed in this feeling of loneliness and this typically leads the mind to think about all sorts of things. It leads to the mind thinking about other people, what we typically call missing someone.
And it can lead to behaviors that are quite irrational where a human being will do something they usually wouldn’t do simply to cover up this feeling of loneliness or emptiness or this feeling of something isn’t quite right.
Friends and Family
[10:27] Now, if you listen to this, not quite relating to this, it’s most likely because you have a large and supportive network of people around you. And you perhaps haven’t been in many situations where you’ve been outside of this network. Or in situations where you haven’t been around people that you can make friends with.
And that’s the really interesting thing here. When you look at this objectively, if you take a human being outside of his network of people that care about him or her and put them in an environment where they find it difficult to make friends, then almost certainly this feeling of loneliness will crop up.
Investigating the Feeling of Aloneness
So having got to this point here, is it possible to actually look at this feeling of loneliness without being absorbed by it or carrying out another activity to cover up that feeling of emptiness or that uncomfortable feeling that’s there?
And just look into it like an investigator trying to find out what it’s really like without trying to change it. To just look into what this feeling of loneliness is like:
- What it feels like in the body;
- What thoughts streams it leads you down and;
- Look further into the movement of thought that is producing the content and not simply at the content that is arising.
[12:02] And if you really look at this with a real passion to be open towards whatever’s going on, then you’ll find something quite special occurs.
Dissolving the Feeling of Aloneness
And another time when you are able to settle down and allow the mind to settle down and be quiet, you can put forward the question to yourself:
Why is it that this feeling of loneliness crops up? Exactly where is it coming from?
The thing is, if you try to answer this question immediately it will be based on what you know and what you’ve heard. But if you can allow the mind to settle and be quiet and then put forward the question, then an honest answer can come up that isn’t based on your current mood or what you’ve heard recently.
This is a good point to end this episode because it leaves you with something actionable.
We’ve explored this topic of feeling alone in the world of poker, touching on lots of different points.
And uncovered some actionable steps that you can take to discover how the feeling of loneliness and the mind are interconnected. In the seeing and the understanding of this lies something remarkable.
And I think that’s a great point to leave this episode. Take care guys!