Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Somewhere inside your brain, there are some dedicated neurons and sections of grey matter devoted solely to the game of poker.  Of course I can’t be sure of this, it’s just a guess.  But why wouldn’t there be?  It makes a little bit of sense that you’ve got some internal wiring programmed to make decisions when you’re in a game.

Unfortunately, that section of brainpower doesn’t sit by itself, operating in a vacuum making perfect decisions each time.  It’s right next to another part of your brain, perhaps intertwined within other circuitry that muddles with its efficiency.  That other part?  It’s filled with frustration receptors, self-analysis processes, and if you dig deep enough, you’d find a pipeline straight to irrationality.

Controlling and separating that “other” part from your poker brain is to me the Holy Grail.  For it’s that section that shuts down part of my poker capacity when I’m winning and it’s that section that skews the decision-based output when I’m losing.


How quickly things can turn around.  I’ve mentioned these names before; mainly because of all the players I’ve played with locally, I just happen to think they’re the best.  They are the three people I love to play with, but refuse to unless there’s sufficient dead money at the table.  Otis.  G-Rob.  TheMark.

And I’ve seen each of those three go through rough times in poker when each has questioned their abilities.  Lord knows I’ve done the same thing.  Several times.  I can whine about losing with the best of them.  During each down swing, I find myself questioning my motives, questioning my abilities, questioning everything.

It’s that “other” part of my brain acting up again.


But what can shut that part off or at least put it behind a big enough wall such that it no longer interferes?  Well, winning for one.  But that is often times out of your control.

Time off?  That can do it too.  But that’s certainly no fun.

Frankly, I’m not sure if anything can completely remove that part from affecting the other.  Perhaps, however, we can control it.


Sometimes, it’s something simple.


Another reason why I enjoy playing with the aforementioned BigThree is because they have a lot to offer.  During play, nobody’s there to teach.  But away from the table, the sharing of ideas has without a doubt been extremely beneficial to my game.

Last week, I was at GucciRick’s playing $1/$2 NL.  At one point, I was into the game for $700.  I made a comeback of sorts finishing down only $40.  I had managed to control the “other” part of my brain to a certain point but at certain moments, I was bordering on instability.

Two days later, at the Spring Hotel, I found myself into that $1/$2 NL game for $700 rather quickly.  Otis was sitting to my left, doing his best to control the action.  But during a break, he said to me, “You made a comeback Monday, right?”

And that was all it took.  Segregation of the irrational.  Poker brain – Activate!  (Apologies to the Wonder Twins)

I finished up over a buy-in, an $800 turnaround.


Right now, I need to focus on staying focused.  I’m not on fire, but I’ve managed to string together some wins.  I need to make sure I don’t let winning interfere with my poker decisions as they have in the past.

And while I’m on this side of rationality, hopefully I can contribute to those on the other side and help them through their personal haze, just as they’ve done for me.

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