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Cleobuddy's musings

A place for deep and slightly heretical poker thoughts...
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While playing through tonight's 2-7 triple draw freeroll I have kept myself from feeling too much boredom by watching what turned out to be a very enjoyable documentary dealing with the written accounts of the life of the Buddha. While doing one thing and thinking about the other I found my wandering thoughts converging on the intersection of the two.

The very nature of the world we live in is in part  that we have incomplete information to answer fundamental questions. It's the same damn problem in poker. From the accounts, the Buddha was dogged all his life by the question of human suffering. Coming to terms with suffering led to his enlightenment. In time he came to understand that the restlessness he experienced when he desired things to be different was the cause of it. The world is made more full of suffering because there is great restlessness, disapproval and effort made to try and assuage it by attempts to control. Action begets action. Violence brings on violence as we allow the seeds, our tortured troubled thoughts, to begin to convince ourselves we must get relief from the rampaging fire that is the desire to know the unknowable and to have things our way.  It's often like that when we are check raised on the river.

It got me thinking about the existence of suffering we see in poker and how we even relish  in others' suffering at times (shame!). It's clearly present on many levels. Who has not tortured himself by doubting his ability, felt frustration with himself for having acted in one way or another (when things could have gone either way) or felt personally slighted by chance. We see people get upset, we hear and read the rants about how the game is totally rigged and sometime see the insults in the chat boxes when emotions overflow. But it is more than that. We see people make serious daily efforts to do certain things and we see them give up in frustration after having failed in their attempts--there is suffering behind that. It happens right from the beginner level to the top levels. There are stories of suffering hiding right under the veneer of what appears like real success too.  We are often surprised to hear that people we imagined were enamored with the game have found a profound disdain for it. Some people lose balance in their lives with poker--probably too many.

I'm certainly not immune to any of this. I'm as guilty as the Buddha was of trying to find a scheme to get to enlightenment. I'm working towards poker enlightenment these days, but you get my point.

The story of the Buddha's enlightenment relates of him facing the Lord of desires under a now famous tree (I feel I've met the same guy).  When pressed by the dark dude and his army as to who could even witness his enligtenment and attest to it the Buddha put his finger on the ground and said that the Earth would. It's supposed to remind us that we are grounded in and by reality; that "what is" is "what is" and that we are a glorious witness to it and it to us. There is enough in this to see wonder and gain peace. It's a good attitude to have with chance too. Next time lady luck thumbs her nose at you (is she related to the Lord of desires somehow?) maybe put your finger on the ground and recognize that chance is one of those realities whose existence we need to be able to smile at.

So, in the sphere of poker, as with anything we can do, the routine practice of it will lead to some level of understanding. Some come by it more quickly than others. Some can be shown the way, others can only be led part of the way. However, one of the Buddha's great claims is that we are able to arrive to the goal by ourselves because we have it in us to be observant and to understand relationships. The enemy that threatens us with our own suffering, the three poisons, as they are called are greed, anger and ignorance. Can't say I disagree. They will certainly get you in trouble playing poker.

The prescribed way to deal with suffering actually sounds quite humbling to a ruthlessly clever poker player worried about his ROI , I would think; It's to apply the opposite: generosity, compassion and wisdom. I'm going to sit on that for a bit and I'll write about what I think it can mean to a poker practitioner like you and I when I get a chance.

Would the Buddha call an all-in from early position with QQ? Do not suffer pondering such things.

Cleobuddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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