Choices in poker
This article was originally posted on http://www.tournamentpokeredge.com/dap/a/?a=961
I don’t think any choice we make happens in a vacuum. I think every time we make a choice it affects the choices we make in the future. If for example, we don’t do something or don’t do it well because we are tired or lazy, I think we’re likely to make that same choice again and the more we make that choice the worse it gets.
I believe the same is true for the inverse of this, perhaps even more so.
The satisfaction, confidence and momentum I get from doing something really hard and doing it my best is huge and I think that can carry over for a long time.
I recently read Rafael Nadals autobiography ‘Rafa’ (which inspired this article). I think his mental toughness is unparalleled. He’d never miss practice sessions no matter how tired he was or what the circumstances were. He’d always be on time, and he’d always go all out. On the court he’d go all out as well, he’d chase after every ball and always strived to play his best. Ever since he was a kid he pushed himself, and was pushed by his coach/uncle Toni.
All of this, he said, pushed him to be who he was on the tennis court. In the 2009 Australian open final vs Roger Federer (the best player in the world for those of you who don’t know anything about tennis) he was exhausted from a 5.5 hour match in the semi finals. In the locker room before the match he told his coach that he could barely move and that he could not see how he could win.
His coach replied, “Dont say you can’t, anyone who digs deep enough can find the motivation for anything. Just imagine there is a guy sitting behind you in the stadium pointing a gun at you, telling you if you don’t run and keep running he’ll shoot you. I’d bet you run then. So come on. It’s up to up to find the motivation to win. What you can never allow yourself to do is fail because of a loss of will. You can fail because your opponent played better but you cant fail because you didnt give your best. That would be a crime. But I know you won’t do that because you always give your best and today will be no exception.” As you probably guessed he went on to win the match.
That last sentence his coach says stands out so strongly to me and is what this whole article is about: “I know you won’t do that because you always give your best.” What if he didn’t always give his best? What if when he was tired/hurt he just gave up? Would he have been able to pull off this incredible win? Would he have been able to have had the success he had? I dont think so. I dont think you could just suddenly push yourself that hard if you haven’t made a habit of doing it in the past. All of those tough choices ever since he was a kid paid off in the long run.
I can remember so many times playing poker, and just flat out just giving up because things had not gone my way or because I was tired or bored. How much better would I be as a player if I pushed through all those times and gave it my best? If when one tabling a timbey (a small buy in MTT) at the end of a 12 hour long zero cash Sunday, if I just gave that tournament my all like it was the World Series of Poker Main Event?
I used to think these lazy types of choices we make were not that big of a deal, but now I think they are. I have made a ton of mistakes in my life and in poker, and ill continue to do so, but I don’t want giving up or not give it my all to be one of the best anymore.
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