From the Big Screen to the Final Table: Role Models
Modern cinema is a great tool for teaching poker because it crosses cultural barriers in a way that few teaching elements can. All one needs to do is listen to the advice that can be found in the lines of a variety of films and then remember their relationship to playing poker. Now, this doesn’t mean you can repeatedly use a line from Goodfellas in conversation while playing, but it does mean you should keep in mind the concepts that go with the line.
One of the more hilarious lines from the movie Role Models comes in an exchange between Paul Rudd's character Danny Donahue and his new younger buddy Augie Farks, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. These lines are perfect for application to the poker world and they will help you figure out how to cope with various pressures found at the tables.
Danny: Man, why do you bow for that guy?
Augie Farks: Because he's the king, and he rules the entire realm.
Danny: Oh he rules the entire realm? Oh my bad. Is that when he is or isn't whacking it to The Sims?
Poker pros are like everyone else, don't psyche yourself out.
Don't let yourself be intimidated when you find yourself playing against notable opponents. Although you should give them some respect because they have obviously done things in the past to receive notoriety, this doesn't mean you should let them run all over you. In other words, do your best to play your game and try to forget that your opponent has gotten some press in the past. The only way to get past them is to play solid poker, so do what you do best and stick to it.
Be the master of your domain.
The only person you have to satisfy with your poker results is yourself. If you've played your best and done what you can to meet the universe half-way (luck/variance is the other half of this equation), you can rest your head on your pillow at night knowing you did everything you could. If you're lying to yourself and trying to rationalize horrible plays, then obviously you won't find rest so easy to come by. Make a decision to be the first kind of player because this is how you improve your game and continue to find enjoyment in playing. As with anything in life, if you make the right decisions, you'll eventually find yourself ahead of the game.
Don't be so serious that you don't have fun.
Poker is only a game and if you're not having fun there is no point in playing. Granted, you can win money while playing, but if you're not happy doing what you are doing then the chance you will win is slim. If you start finding that the game has become a grind, and you're not enjoying yourself, it is time to take a break in the same manner you would with anything in life. Sometimes, time off from something helps rejuvenate the feelings you first felt while enjoying whatever it is you enjoy. In other words, give yourself a break and try to figure out what first made you fall in love with the game. Once you do, you can pick up where you left off, except this time you can focus on the things that made you happy in the first place.