Playing Poker with No Confidence

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When you play poker regularly and have no grasp of what confidence is you’re in for an unconscious ride. In this episode, we delve into the vital topic of confidence and playing poker.

The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 44 – Playing Without Confidence

[00:02] Hey guys, it’s Chiggs. It’s been a little while, but I found a bit of time now to record another podcast, an episode that was promised a few weeks back on the Instagram account @lChiggsl. And the topic is playing without confidence.

Now, this is a very important topic to look into when you do play poker because it affects the totality of your experience when you do play poker.

And I think it is vital to discover why it’s important to look into. Because quite simply if results haven’t been going well for you recently, then this has an effect on lowering your confidence.

And the effect might differ based on different personality types and the length of time an individual has spent in poker. But the effect is there in some shape or form for everybody. And so this is a vital topic to look into based on this simple observation.

On a side note, it’s important to look into it because it’s not something that we genuinely discuss with our friends or generally read about that much.

Lowering Confidence Isn’t Generally Discussed

[01:20] There are a few books out there, that do look into the mental side of poker and that do look into confidence. But in general, it’s not something that we typically take very seriously day-to-day as we’re absorbed in doing other things.

So let’s look into it.

Let’s see if we can explore this in a way that is simple, clear and factual.

Taking this approach, the question that comes to mind is what is confidence?

What is Confidence?

From what we’ve stated so far, we’ve noted that when recent results haven’t been going in my favor, that can lead to a loss of confidence.

And it also works in the other direction. So if recent results have been going in my favor, then that can lead to a growth of confidence or even overconfidence.

And so my perception of results going in my favor or against my favor is intrinsically linked to confidence.

[02:36] And so in the mind, results are confidence.

Results and confidence are the same thing. And this is a rather simple but profound point that may require further exploration.

How does Confidence Affect Our Minds?

When you look at the way our minds work and the shaping of our reality it becomes clearer as to why results equal confidence in a mind that is acting automatically. Or normally as some might put it.

To gain at least a grasp of this let’s take a generic example of somebody who has been losing for a few weeks and is at least partially aware of the fact that they are not feeling very confident.

However, they feel like they want to go grind.

Which is a terrible word really to use when it comes to playing poker because it directly, influences your enjoyment of poker if you perceive it as a grind. But this is just a side note that we’ll cover in another episode.

Downswings and Confidence

[03:51] So there is this person who hasn’t been doing well. They know they’re not feeling very confident. But they also feel like they want to go play. And so they go to play. And suppose that in their session playing they lose a big pot.

Then, what typically occurs is the stimulus of losing the big pot meets the mind of this unconfident person. What happens is the mind perceives it with the story that it’s had over the past few days, weeks, etc. of “I’ve not been doing well”.

So the occurrence is seen through this filter.

And this filter is almost immediately applied to what happens; particularly when the mind is acting automatically. And so this can really send a person down into a low mood:

  • into thinking negatively;
  • into not wanting to play for one thing but also;
  • perhaps not even want to go out and do anything else.

[05:01] This is a relatable experience for many.

And when you look into this, why this occurs actually; it is in fact quite deep.

The Brain And Confidence

It stems from the way our minds work automatically and the way that we actually perceive things. Because typically what happens is we’re usually absorbed in thought.

And so when we see something, the brain doesn’t actually receive all the information. It fills in the gaps. And this is something that neuroscience has looked at and is perhaps still looking at. That is how we actually perceive through visual stimulus.

And what’s interesting is that the brain is the organ that sees. Whereas, the eyes are simply the organ that receive the visual stimulus. And it’s the brain that processes the stimulus and makes sense of it.

What’s interesting is that scientists have looked at people who have been blind for many years and then gained the ability to see later on in their life.

[06:17] And what they find is that they’re not able to discern the difference between certain shapes. For example, between a square and a circle.

So what this indicates is that the way that we see automatically is through memory recognition. And memory is a key element in the “seeing” process.

The Link Between Memory and Confidence

Now, this might seem like a bit of a tangent. However, this is worth going into and grasping.

Because what we’ve stated is that in the mind, confidence equals our results.

And our results are simply our memories.

So what we’re getting at least an intellectual grasp of here is that our recent memories equal confidence.

And this applies not only in the field of poker but also in other fields like sport, for example. Also, for e.g. if you’re male and you’re trying to hook up with girls.

This whole thing is actually really quite profound when you look at it very simply like this.

Generic Advice Dealing with Low Confidence

[07:30] Out there many people give advice about how to be more confident. And the approach that we generally take as humans is an activity or solution-based approach rather than looking into what the actual issue is here. And the roots of it all. What is really going on here?

And so through this podcast, what we’ve talked about here may leave you with a sense that there is nothing to be done.

Because this is the way our brains work automatically.

And so your results are your recent memories and they will have a direct impact on your confidence.

So you just have to deal with it.

However, this is forming a conclusion in the mind. Which is what most people will live by.

The conclusion here is that there is nothing that can be done.

However, when you understand that there is a possibility to look into the mind. And also take note of the recent scientific studies showing that meditation does rewire the mind. Then you can go ahead and test out and find out what’s it like to be fully in the moment, to be in that awareness.

What’s it Like to Play Poker in Awareness?

And this last question is what formed and motivated the creation of the largest part of The Poker Mind Course, which is now available on Teachable. And if you’re interested in this, in getting directly to the root of all the issues and all the topics that we’ve talked about on the Losing Stress Podcast then do check out the course below.