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Stay Stacked: Understanding Motivation

Stay Stacked I found an excellent website recently called The 99 Percent where I read an article about motivation in the workplace. It said "What really gets creative [people] fired up is, well, ourselves. That is, intrinsic motivation. If we can imagine an achievement, see ourselves progressing toward that goal, and understand that we are gaining new skills and knowledge, we will be driven to do great work." That's exactly how we all started out in poker. So what happens when a poker player falls into the mindset "I am the unluckiest player in the world" after having aces cracked by...

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Funny Freudian pip--I mean "slip"--on the title of the Eckhart Tolle book. Pretty sure that's "The Power of Now."


Thanks drim. We made the change Smile


I've always believed (and taught) that motivation only comes from management classes, I taught to-be managers that all they could do was create an environment where the individual can be their best (ie, you can't "motivate" someone else). In poker, there is no one are resposible for your own enviroment, therefore, you are responsible for your own mental state. And humans, being human, tend to remember the past (worry, tilt) more than predict the future (set goals, plan for achievement). It's more real to them, happened! That's why the mental game is so tough, and so important. Have a plan, stick to it, and let the bad beats roll off your back...there's no other way! Remember your big wins, big pots, and enjoy (and remember) your victories. Stay focused, stay positive, or learn Scrabble.




Tilt is enhanced by a lack of understanding of the math behind the game. The classic so-called "bad beat" when your aces get cracked tilts some players ... but not good players who have learned to either deal with the tilt produced or understand that the bad beat is part of the game. An old poker player once told me that the best way to shrug off getting your aces cracked was to understand that when you WIN with AA ... you only really get to keep some 80%+ of the winnings. The rest of the money is "LENT" to you until it is time to give it back. I find that this understanding has eliminated completely negative feelings that interfere with good play.

Goals have to real and attainable. I have a real life example. In 2009 I qualified via FullTilt into the WPT Cyprus 2009 where I scored 50%. My short term goal was to qualify and play my best. This year I qualified via PartyPoker for the WPT Paris 2011 and my goal was to do better than 50%, a realistic goal. I came in 25th out of 312, cashed for !6,600 euros, and had (literally) the time of my life. Coming back home I said "I have to do this again" and managed to qualify for the WPT in Prague 2011, where my goal is to do better than 25th ... a final table would be outstanding.

Notice the absence of "I am going to win it" or "Gunning for first place" because the reality is that poker is a game of progress towards a situation, not the instantaneous win so your goals should reflect the progressive environment of the game by being progressive in structure.

Setting goals for qualifying into tournaments also eliminate stress because you do not have the "fear of loss", a powerful type of tilt that infects the play of most poker players. If you get a WPT seat of $15,000 (entry fee, hotel, & $1300 spending money) for forty dollars ... you are never losing as much as the guy that buys in for $10,000.

Good goals in a playing environment free of distracting worries allows motivation to flourish ... and guess what ... the results follow.

"The lucky player is usually the player that knows how much to leave to chance."


Imagine that you are a painter and you are in front of a blank canvas.
The first thing that you have to respond to you is... What do I want to create? Nobody can respond this question for you. You must define the painting precisely in your mind... VISION
Then, you will notice that you have nothing... This means that you have to know always where you are in relation to the end result you want to create... CURRENT REALITY
During your creation there is a source of power that motivates you to close the gap between your Current Reality and your Vision... THERE IS TENSION
When the gap between your Current Reality and your Vision is big, then, the Tension is high.
When the Tension is high you are in a structural conflict: 1) reduce your Vision or 2) move toward the resolution of the conflict... work hard to create what you want to create

As an artist you are more motivated to resolve the conflict through the second option, even if it takes years. But as a poker player you will notice that the realities of the game continuously impulse you to think that it is so difficult (almost impossible) to achieve what do you really want to achieve. Swings comes and goes, Tension is higher and higher, and you finally desists and choose the path number one.

Be the artist of your poker career and never desists in creating what you really want to create, your career is a work of art.


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