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I raise you hell! - Well may be not that far but I´ll try too...
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By: DivorcedDuck @ 22:18 (EST) / 67 / Comment ( 1 )

To go more in depth about the real problem of most beginners, let us first think of what poker basically is and why we play poker. Two questions which seems to be very easy to answer, but there are various answers to this question and also many opinions. So it seems like those two questions aren´t as easy as we may have thought first.

Well, my educated guess would be most will answer that poker is a card game and of course we want to have fun. Preferably it should be profitable too.

If we only have a short look at the surface this sounds good, but in my opinion, it´s far from being everything and the real answer is way more complex. So what´s the matter for all those whining threads in forums, what´s the reason why so many people aren´t able to lose, why did they go on tilt, why did they use abusive language in chat, why does all those people have problem to accept their weakness and believe instead of facing the truth in "online poker is rigged" stories or simply have problems to learn how to improve their game?

Obviously it´s no technical thing or a question of strategy. It basically means to me a question of psychology. I don´t think about mental strength only. It´s more about being honest to yourself than the ability to make a tough bluff for a huge part of your roll. You have to be objective and you have to be totally honest to become successful.

Poker puts you in front of a mirror and it shows you the truth.So let´s try to face it!

In poker I´m not interested in your friendship, your stories, your wife (ok this is a good news), your daughter ( may be good too...), in stories about your dog, cat, mouse or anything you may want to share or not to share. I´m only interested in your money and nothing else! This is everything which counts to me. I want to get your money! Basta!

If this sounds rude and egoistic in a bad way to you, you should stop playing online poker right now! You think this isn´t nice to say? This isn´t gently? you are right! Poker isn´t nice and gently. Poker isn´t played against the house or an abstract machine. Also you cannot play poker with each other. Poker is played face to face. You can sing, discuss, chat with each other, drink and having a party, but poker is played against each other and in order to win you have to beat all others.

This means if I want to win, someone has to lose. The other way round it is the same and that is what makes poker always personal...

Poker is all about competition and all the players are competing against each other. There are players out there which have nothing else in mind than to learn about your game, exploit a leak and to force you into making mistakes. In poker you can lose much more than your money, your house or your Ferrari... You can lose your self-confidence!

Why is that the case and why is that so important!? – Because it´s part of human nature. Being successful means better social standing. In Stone Age success meant coming home alive from hunting. Nowadays, it means a successful person has to be rich. So monetary success in poker is directly linked to your self-confidence. A loss of money, being a looser is equal to a loss of social ranking. That´s what people are  scared about. Everyone wants to share his stories of succes to be seen as a hero by his friends and family.

Well, poker is only a card game. My five years old plays cards. So how tough can it be for a smart guy like me to play poker and make some money!?

We all know the answer. It can be very tough. As a matter of fact poker is one of the most complex games mankind knows. It´s more complex than chess. Ask yourself an easy question, would you go to the next chess club and play for money as a total newbie and you play against their advanced group? Would you expect to make money? For sure the answer is no. But when talking about poker everyone has the goal to make money and everyone thinks he´s smart, so it´s no problem to take some bucks, sit down at a table, it´s only a card game, play few hands and the money will be comming your way.

Let me repeat one sentence…  In poker you can lose much more than your money, your house or your Ferrari... You can lose your self-confidence!

So when people makes this experience for the first time, being a loser in poker, what is totally normal for a beginner, it´s always combined with a loss of self-confidence.

Keep this in mind every time you are going to sit down at a poker table, online as well as live. The first and most important thing we have to do is keeping control about our emotions to make rational decisions. If our emotions are running out of control we are no longer able to make rational decisions in any way and we will lose money. Losing self-control is equal to losing money!

Having irrational expectations, like the one to immediately generate profit, is one step to losing self-control. Those irrational expectations can be met but most likely they won´t. And that´s the point where the whole rigged dilemma starts. Players new to the game lose their self-control at the table. This happens most likely because they have way to high and irrational expectations of winning money. Poker is dangerous at that point because truth is hard to see. Everyone can win in poker. You don´t have to be smart, you don´t have to be a pro, you don´t have to be a well-trained and educated player. All you need is some luck. Only one thing to mention… Luck doesn´t work out very long. Variance is getting you one way or another and chances you are lucky are the same as the chances to become unlucky.

The next step after losing self-control and losing money is losing self-confidence. And that´s a point which is unbelievably hard to accept. Poker is really brutal, cause each and every poker player is chasing a dream! The dream of winning and combined with winning climbing up the social success ladder. That´s the reason why so many  people try to hide their losses by creating mind boggling stories about rigged theories or bad beat stories. Yes it´s totally irrational and so are the stories and we all know them.

This sounds simple and it seems to be easily fixable , but it isn´t. It needs a lot of discipline and passion to the game.

Players which close their eyes about their mistakes and only start complaining will never become winning players, because they are not honest to themself and so they never will learn about their weakness and their strength. And this means they never will really improve their game.

It is a fact that poker can sharpen your view of life. Also it is a fact that poker can bring out the best of you as well as the most negative things. And there are some really good reasons why there are laws against poker as well as laws prohibiting gambling for under aged. I don´t want to start a discussion now about laws and law enforcement. I want you to keep in mind that responsible gambling and gaming means first to be responsible for yourself and most of the biggest scumbags I met in my life I met in poker.

Let me summarize for you to a few points what I have discussed so far:

1. You have to be totally honest to yourself!
2. You have to learn the game and this game is the most complex game you can imagine!
3. You have to learn about using things you have learned!
4. Set rational and realistic to reach non-monetary goals!
5. Control yourself in a self-critique way!
6. Face critique on your game!
7. Don´t play for money you can´t afford to lose!
8. Leave the tables when you recognize you start playing on an emotional base!
9. Practice yourself in discipline!
10. Create rules for the above points and follow them!

Before you don´t follow those easy to implement basic rules you don´t have a chance to become a successful poker player and that´s the truth. No matter how well educated you are, no matter how smart you are, no matter how experienced you are. You will stay at the level of a losing player if you don´t follow those rules and that´s the truth.

Good luck at the felts!

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