Donkin's Blog

The Agony of Poker

Five days left in WSOP’s DIY bonus. I feel like I never want to see another card again.

So far, I’m about $500 up, not a good two weeks normally, but the $2000 bonus will make it worth it. Even if I break even, I’ll consider the bonus a successful half month.

But this will be my last grind of its kind. Today, I was playing with ease. I was making hands and getting calls, things were fine. When I received pressure in a hand, I’d make the decision I thought was best and not worry about it. This is easy when I’m positive for the day.

Last night was different. I was so upset, I could feel the tension in my arms, having trouble controlling the mouse, scared I’d make a bad decision and drop another buy-in at any moment. Over the years, I’ve learned to stop when I’m even near this kind of state, but with the requirement of playing 10 hours per day to earn that $2,000, I couldn’t just quit. All I could do was fold more, try to distract myself with music, and keep grinding. I would never make the evening a +EV grind, but I could limit the destruction.

Is painless poker even possible? No, I don’t believe so, but I never intend to put myself through this kind of agony again. I have better things to do with my life.

I read Tommy Angelo’s new book in the first of the month and it was at least comforting to hear that all players deal with the same issue. Progress, not perfection, is all we can consider.

As for his book…

It’s big. It’s worth a read. But it’s probably not what you expect.

There’s a lot of bad beat stories.

The gist of the book is to meditate, and there are better books to learn meditation. Such as my favorite, Mindfulness in Plain English.

However, if you are just now seeking ways to reduce your tilt, Painless Poker is a good place to start as it’s a biographical account of a successful player who reduced his tilt over a period of time. He guides you and helps you start down your path.

Afterwards, be sure to check out the following books. The Elements of Poker, The Mental Game of Poker.

Also, have a look at another of my tilt articles. The Progression of Tilt.

graph of tilt progression

The Progression of Tilt

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