Now this is going to sound a little stupid, but can you be a poker player if you don’t want to win? Obviously you’re not going to do very well at poker if you don’t want to win, that’s the aim of the game right, to win? The question is more ‘can you be a winning poker player, if you don’t love to win?’ And surprising as this may well be, I really don’t love winning.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to lose, and I enjoy winning, but I don’t go to bed at night revelling in a victory for the sake of victory. After a winning day of poker I don’t go to bed thinking of all the souls I ‘owned’ or the people I ‘crushed’, I just think: ‘Oooh, going to be able to buy things now!’ That’s just me.
I’ve spent my whole poker career convinced this is a great part of my personality, as it allows me to play pretty much free from ego and generally makes my decision making a bit clearer than most. However, I recently got to thinking this is a bad part of my poker personality. What triggered this thought? Well bizarrely, it was a PlayStation game!
As anyone who read my last column will know me and my friends got really into the Olympics. We were mostly just gambling on it, but the guys also bought the London 2012 Olympics PS3 game. I sat, watched, enjoyed and joined in as they played it.
And one thing I noticed as I sat there watching the guys play was how fiercely competitive it got between them. Whenever I played I found myself completely unmotivated and not even slightly compelled to try and throw the javelin the furthest, or run the 110m hurdles faster than everyone else. These guys are all terrific poker players and it seems they all shared this competitive spirit, while even at school I never had it.
A little later on I found myself going to the Leeds PKR meet with Jake Cody and JP Kelly, we were all planning on heading to Barcelona the next day, but were drinking and getting stuck into the table banter and were having a great night, until we found out it was a two-day tournament!
Obviously this meant no-one would be able to actually win the table, I found it quite funny but JP who’d built a pretty big stack was devastated as it meant, ultimately, he would have to punt the competition off. As it turned out, his competitive nature physically restrained him from punting it off and he ended up having to leave a dead stack on the next day!
What makes you great?
Given that JP is one of the best poker payers I know, it worries me that I don’t have that same competitive drive. Maybe this is one of those subtle differences between what makes a good poker player and what makes a great poker player? I can see that it’s a weakness, but in the same breath I see no way I can work on it, it’s just a part of my personality, everyone will have bits of their personalities that make them slightly worse at poker than they could be, I guess those who have less will probably make slightly better players! That’s okay though, there’s more to life than winning – am I right?
Check out my blog at lildaveslife.blogspot.com for updates of my August/September antics, how I got on in my Olympic bets, lots of gambling with the boys, some well timed poker run-goods and as usual, plenty of nights out!