Dealing with going broke in poker is incredibly mentally challenging. There are no two ways about it.
If you ever find yourself in this situation there’s often a swirl of emotions and thoughts you have to deal with.
Instead of giving you generic advice like: “You should have followed bankroll management”, which you likely already know, let’s see if we can uncover what can really help you if you find yourself in this unfortunate position.
Either listen or read below:
The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 51 – Going Broke In Poker
Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning that we’re not going to start with the case if you’re new to poker and haven’t made any money from poker really yet.
What we’re going to look at are the psychological and mental issues that occur when you have actually had a bit of success in poker.
We’re going to look very specifically at these issues.
First of all, it’s worth noting why this is incredibly important to look at.
It’s important for two real reasons:
- The fact that it’s incredibly challenging to actually deal with if you ever go through this;
- The people and sources you come into contact with either provide empathy or advice when ideally you want the ability to help yourself.
So we’re going to look at this directly by looking at the question:
What are the issues that crop up when you go broke and were successful in poker?
The first thing that comes to mind is the shame and embarrassment that it’s actually happened.
“How did I let this happen?”
“How could I have been so stupid…”
Or various other thoughts of similar content.
It’s important to realize if you are going through this kind of response, these negative self-talk thoughts, that it is actually fueling the negative feeling i.e. the emotional response.
So the negative self-talk is, in fact, fueling the feelings of embarrassment and shame.
But when you’re going through this you’re not fully aware this is growing into a pattern in the mind.
(In fact, most are not aware that the mind builds on patterning mechanisms).
So can there be ‘a catching’ of this fact and not just absorption in the cycle; in the cycle of content that’s grabbing and taking you down a stream?
Going Broke And The Cycle of Negativity
The thing is when you test this and try this, what you find is that the noticing of the fact that you are absorbed in this pattern, it’s not a one and done thing. That the mind still is pulled back to the content.
Because the content itself has a charge. It has this almost magnetic quality to it that keeps pulling you back to thinking about it over and over again.
And so can you go a step further into looking into this? By looking at the quality of the charge and the quality of this pullback factor to this content.
That in itself is very interesting to look at.
You may find that this frees up a lot of space from the response.
This is something you can test out, not just with the feeling of embarrassment. It’s something you can test out when going through any emotional response.
Try this and when there is that bit of space from the response you can then ask yourself:
Where is this whole response actually stemming from?
And see if you can go to that.
When there is a full freeing up of space you can then look into:
Why this feeling of embarrassment came up in the first place, why it might still be there.
Is the feeling there because honestly there is an over caring towards what other people think of me?
Caring What Others Think
This is one of the things that no one really likes to admit but practically everyone is affected by in some way.
And in poker, it can be particularly challenging because whether we like it or not, everyone to an extent is judging people based on how wealthy they think the other person is.
And so rather than get caught up in:
“What are other people going to think of me?”
“What are my friends going to think of me?”
Can there be a seeing of the fact that you are not the image that another human being has in their own mind?
These images are based on snapshots that they’ve seen in their interactions with you and so very clearly it cannot just be you.
The precise seeing of this fact is incredibly clearing of caring what other people think of you.
You are not the image any other human being has as a mental construction and that is a pure fact that our minds often do not see and stray away from.
We can even go further with this. In fact, it is vital to go further than this.
Something you can ask yourself is whether this struggle that is happening with going broke is happening because of the fact that it’s not falling in line with ‘my’ image of where I ‘should’ be at?
Is it not falling in line with this ‘path’, which is a mental construction that’s being laid out in the mind.
All of this is worth digging up and looking at.
Particularly, because there may be more undercurrents at work. Like for example, feelings of guilt. So this feeling of letting someone down.
Looking into precisely what’s really going on internally allows this opportunity for the whole thing not to sit with you and hinder you from then moving on.
From then taking the right practical steps for the exact situation that you’re in is far clearer and easier.
Hopefully, you can see how this is a completely different way to what you typically go through, one in which you usually get absorbed in your own response; like feeling sorry for yourself, which can last for multiple days.
Or even jumping to try to correct it and suppressing the response.
What’s far more effective is looking into what’s going on internally without a motive.
Only when things become clearer, then you can look at what the right practical steps are.
Unfortunately Reading This is Not Enough
When we’re exploring it in this way, it’s incredibly important to be aware of the fact that it is not as easy as just reading this now. Because when this response is going on it can have a very strong charge.
It’s challenging to actually break out of it because often the mind is running incredibly fast. And there is this feeling that you have to solve the problem and get it corrected straight away. All the logistical and practical things that are going to change pop up in the mind and there’s a racing towards this content:
“I’m not going to be able to play the stakes anymore.”
“I’m not possibly going to be able to meet rent next month”
And of course, these practical points are important to look at and to sort out.
However, it’s clear to observe that there’s a huge difference in your ability to actually handle the situation if you’re working with a mind that is troubled and dealing with this undercurrent, than with a mind that at least has some space.
The Main Point
The point that we’re trying to get across here is that it makes a lot of sense to first look into what’s going on psychologically.
And not immediately jump to this urgency of having to sort out the situation.
Once things become clearer, then you can look at things such as why you went broke in the first place.
But if you start to look at this immediately with this undercurrent going on then the whole thing will end up building into something even bigger.
When we look back at what happened it will be seen as a mistake or a ‘failure’ and there’ll be a continual content of negative self-talk.
So if you do go broke in poker, there is great importance in looking at what’s going on internally.
It makes a lot of sense. Now can you put into practice?