Who you respect in poker has an effect that has not been fully explored and looked at very clearly.
Even though when you look at it you see that it has an effect on the decisions that you make when you play. As well as behaviours and other decisions you make surrounding poker. For instance, when deciding to play a game.
So instead of ignoring this, we’re going to look into it.
And you can either listen or read the exploration below:
The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 52 – The Effects of Respect And Reputation
Let’s start with something that you can hopefully relate to straight away.
If you play poker regularly then whatever image that you have in the mind about someone actually has an effect on the thought process that you have during decisions.
For example, if you play with a regular that you believe is much better than you, then this has an effect on what you actually think during hands.
And this is not only interesting but incredibly valuable to look at.
First, we must note that the exact effect that this has is dependent on your own mental patterns for dealing with images about people.
So if you play with a regular that you think is better than you, then there typically tends to be two types of reactions.
One is a reaction that tries to prove that you are ‘just as good’ as the regular or even better than him/her. Which you could label the aggressive reaction.
And there’s also a passive reaction. So one in which way you may try to avoid playing hands with this person or you may avoid taking aggressive lines against this person. For example, with a big bluff.
Now, rather than go into more specific details the main point that we want to make here is that the image that you have about a person does have an effect on your actions.
And also this image that you build about a person is very often clouded by opinions and not just facts.
A Limitation Of The Automatic Mind
And so if you do look into this for yourself you start to question how is this opinion about someone actually built up?
And in poker, it’s built up from a few common influences.
Perhaps the most obvious is through a bias that our thinking has towards recent results.
So, for example, if we know that a tournament player has been doing well recently, say they’ve won a few tournaments over the past few months, then there will quite likely be this image about them in our minds.
This image will likely have a general theme along the lines of this player ‘must be good’.
But, of course, this might not be a completely accurate picture.
And it can lead to one of the two types of reactions, (the aggressive or passive reactions described above) if you’re not fully aware of it.
There’s another bias that we tend to have in poker:
Building, an image based on one particular hand that we saw someone play.
So if we see a hand we think a regular misplays then often we tend to form an image about this person:
‘He/she does not play well’.
And then we work with that image going forward.
But the actual person is always changing and the way they play hands can be different. So certain hands they might play well. And certain hands they might not play so well, in the same way that you do.
I.e. what is being shown here is that we tend to hold a fixed image about a person when in fact in actuality they are a changing thing.
This might need to be made clearer.
Players Are Not Fixed Images
Every single person’s skill in poker is changing and it’s not just your own. Simply because everyone that plays poker is constantly meeting more information.
Even if they’re not spending a lot of time studying poker off the tables, they all still meeting more information even when they play.
So every person’s game is always evolving. Not only this but a person’s psychology is changing.
And psychology is the first factor that comes into play when it comes to the way you perceive the world and the way you react to it.
Now hopefully this is starting to make sense and clearly illustrate the limitations to these images that get built in the mind about a person.
How You Judge Others In Poker
Something that is rarely discussed is the common judgments that are made in poker: the common filters that we apply when we look at people.
There’s one filter that practically no one in poker is fully conscious that they’re applying and seeing people through, the filter of success.
So if you see someone that you deem as successful, a businessman, a wealthy poker player, anyone has a lot of money, et cetera, then there tends to be this respect towards this person.
And in poker in many ways this makes sense.
Because everybody in poker is striving for success in some way. So there tends to be this automatic judgment based on:
- how much money you think the other person has and/or;
- how good you think they are at poker and also;
- based on looks and personality.
And when you look at this very clearly, you find that this is what respect is.
It is this image that you build up about a person through a filter that you unconsciously believe is important.
And from that, you respect this person.
Seeing things as they actually are
As human beings in general, not even just poker players, we’re not aware of how limiting this all actually is.
Because it prevents you from seeing things as they actually are.
And when you start to see this precisely for what it is, it leads you to look into the filtering process because you want to see what it is like to look at things without the filter.
But the filter is always there in the operation automatically occurring in the mind.
And so the only option really is to look at the filter precisely for what it is.
This is something that you can do and test right now as you’re reading this.
By questioning yourself:
Is there currently a filter running over reality?
By shining the light on it and not just jumping to labeling the filter something very interesting occurs.
This is something incredibly practical you can take away and use.