Today I´d like to share some thoughts about Bad Beats / Whining / Bitching.
We all know how frustrating it can be to run bad, get sucked out on, hitting nothing and basically everything seems to go wrong. Variance in poker is huge, and the tougher the games get, the higher variance gets. I can recall many days when I´ve wished to never have gotten out of bed in the first place.
Before continue in the “how-to-do-tone”, let me state that I have not mastered the art of not bitching. I can be pretty terrible and if some buddies would print out some past Skype convos – especially in my tourney days – you´ll see my face turning red! I can relate to everybody who does it / has done it, because I´m one of the worst ;) . Most of the stuff that I´m going to write, you´ll already know. Still I think it’s important to constantly put this into your mind, because it can be pretty annoying to other people.
1) NOBODY likes Bitching
As a good friend, I think it’s not even mandatory, but completely normal and intuitive to be there for your friends, especially in hard times. I am not referring to this, when I say that NOBODY cares if you got 2 outed. I want everybody and especially my friends to be doing well, but you know yourself how annoying it is if people constantly bitch/ tell especially if it is a bad beat story.
DONT TELL BAD BEAT STORIES CUZ ITS FUCKING ANNOYING
Most of us have played well over a Million hands in Poker. There is NOTHING, that we haven´t seen, so if you think your runner runner one-outer backdoor straightflush beat is any special, get over yourself. Its not. And you know it! It’s funny how we all tend to think that OUR hand is so completely special. Haha, it’s so funny, when I consciously decide to NOT tell bad beat stories, something in the back of my mind still tells me to get rid of that IMPORTANT (lol) information.
—–> Instead of telling how you get one outed, just tell them you had a bad day and feel bad. You communicate why you´re not in the happiest of all moods, but at the same time you show respect to your friend by saving the bad beat bs. They´ll thank you for it.
2) Understand WHY you bitch and why bitching can get pretty annoying
All of us have the need to communicate ourselves to others. Tell them how we feel, what we´ve done etc. We all can agree on this. Some people are more talkative than others. And one reason this blog exists is also because I’ve got this need. I´m no psychologist and will not dig any deeper than that… so good so far.
The reason why we bitch and tell bad beat stories is because the feeling of being felt compassionate towards is a very nice one. It feels good to know that people care about us. And there´s nothing wrong with it. I believe though, that there is a difference between whining and bitching. We all have bad days and need a hug, comforting words and/or words of encouragement.
But there are people who constantly whine how bad everything is. How they are the unluckiest people alive and how everything is so completely bad. Those people get ******** annoying. Crying/being sad is fine, and there´s a time for it, but too much is too much. I used to feel bad to reject people who whine too much. Today I have no problem whatsoever, because their whining is rooted in deep and ugly egoism and I don´t like to hang around with people who are constantly negative. All they have on their mind is to share THEIR ****** stories. There are people who always seem to get lucky and those who always seem to get unlucky… coincidence?!
I cannot stress over and over enough, the difference between crying and whining. They are rooted in completely different motives.
—-> If friends of yours bitch too much, tell them straight. I told most of my friends that I don´t wanna hear any bad beat stories. Don´t be rude, but make it pretty clear and you´ll see they can perfectly survive without it!
3) STOP bitching
It’s mandatory that you stop doing it yourself, before you ask this of somebody else. Often a bet (hey, after all we´re degenerates, right?) can solve the problem. Promise your friend a significant amount of $ if he catches you bitching. It has to be significant, and guess what, it works wonders.
Stopping to bitch isn´t something you´ll learn in a day or two. It’s a process and the changes to be made are deep, because they lie in the character. Like with exercising, don´t start with a heavy weight. Start with low weight and work yourself up. Increase your discipline and get stronger. The stronger you get and the more you UNDERSTAND the topic, the less you actually wanna bitch! You will lose interest in complaining, as much as you have no interest in punching a loved person into the face.
4) Giving Real Value aka when HandHistories, BB-Stories are ok
I´m still receiving the occasional high stakes hand history with a 2 outer. And when talking, I do listen to the one or other hand that went wrong. Usually that doesn’t bother me.
Whenever you´re saying something, think about if you´re presenting REAL VALUE to the other person. Why can Jack tell you about a bad beat pot, but you both end up laughing and having a good time, while when Andy tells you the latest 1-outer, you wished you had duct tape to seal his mouth?
It’s probably because Jack presented some Real Value for you, while Andy was simply whining and only cared about himself. Jack didn’t tell you the story so you would feel pity for him. Jack wanted to entertain YOU. Since you enjoy his company so much, you genuinely care about him… You see where I´m going.
——–> Present real value. If you think it’s not real value, it probably isn’t. A good guideline is usually to ask yourself WHY you are telling a certain story. Is it in order to bring value to the group, or to make them care about yourself?
(btw, begging your pardon, but this is the exact same reason why I believe most poker blogs suck. They´re only about how good the blogger is running and which chick he hooked up with last night. If I wouldn´t present you with real value, you wouldnt be reading. And it’s a safe bet to assume that as soon as I stop providing my readers with real value, they´ll stop reading)
5) But what if I need to vent ?
We all need to vent at times and as mentioned, I don´t see anything wrong with it. There was a time, where I tried to be completely apathetic and stoic (read on stoicism, Greek philosophy, VERY interesting). But it made me emotionally extremely cold (considering I´m already not thaaat emotional). Being really passionate and showing my emotions made me way more happier, but nevertheless I still find parts of stoicism extremely helpful.
Long speech, if you wanna vent, a good place to do this are the BBV-Forums on various sites like 2+2. Be prepared to get laughed at, be prepared to get surrounded by completley childish and teenage-like people, but it’s kind of part of the game there, so don´t take things personally. And well, quite a lot of epically funny threads have their origin there. Today it’s a waste of time imo, but it definitely has its place in the grand scheme of things.
But as you´ll soon find out, you will lose interest in bad beats after reading that forum for a bit. It’s the best medicine to see other “sick” people! One realizes how stupid it actually is.
If you´re further interested in the topic, I can highly recommend you the book “Psychology of Poker” by Alan Schoonmaker.
In this book he covers many interesting topics regarding… yes!… psychology ;). He analyzes situations and also gives the reader incentive to think about himself and his motives. In my opinion this is very important, not only for being a better poker player, but also for personal development. It’s some time ago that I´ve read it, but what I liked most about the book is the part where he asks “why do you play poker?”. This is still one of the first questions I ask people who apply for coaching. That chapter opened my eyes in so many ways. If you want me to write more about it, leave a comment or post in the Facebook group. The book is available in most book stores (B&N) but it might not be in stock (cuz it was published several yrs ago), but make sure to check out poker forums. Maybe somebody there wants to sell it used.