Most of what I consider genuinely useful and insightful in my life today I learned from my parents and from my poker days. Poker made me fearless, it made me think about long term, about positive expected value, it made me believe that you can get really big even if you start with close to nothing.
Getting good at poker takes hard work, a lot of time dedicated to studying theory, regular opponents, patterns, but also, and most importantly, a lot of work on yourself to prevent tilt. Tilt is the name poker players give to the phenomenon that happens when one gets a few bad beats in a row and loses it. Somehow one feels forgotten, unjustly punished by the poker gods and starts playing as though one is due for some good run of cards. It usually ends up pretty badly. Self control is the key to moving up in stakes and being succesful at online poker.
However, the one thing I noticed that differentiated the the very best, the smartest, the most crazy good players from the merely very good players is that although poker is a money game these guys didn’t give a fuck about money. They’re ready to lose it all, to lose $500k in one night even if that is 100% of their net worth (acquired from poker exclusively usually) because they 300% believe in their game, their edge and what they’re doing. They are unfathomably focused on outplaying their opponent, not winning money. Somehow these players always end up super rich. They end up going on killing sprees, annihilating everyone that challenges them, because they focus on one thing: the game. They don’t care about PR, rakeback deals, staking, how big their bankroll is at any given time, what they’re gonna be able to buy with that $500k they just won in a few hours, saving for their retirement or whatever.
All they care about is making the best play every single time, to the best of their ability. That’s how Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan lost 5 millions (we’re talking about a self-made 20-something year-old guy here) in a few days to Isildur1, some even younger Swedish sicko who appeared at of nowhere and suddenly started beating every top player on Full Tilt Poker. Tom Dwan continued playing because he thought he had an edge. He didn’t care about the money or he would’ve stopped way sooner. Nobody likes to lose a few millions in a matter of hours. But he bounced back. Not in this match, not against Isildur1. But in some other games. It’s all about passion. If you want to be the best at something, you need to dive into it without asking questions, without thinking about the risks, nor the rewards. Do it because that’s what make you pulse and feel alive.
Look at Mark Zuckerberg. He is the epitome of the startup rockstar. He is all about Facebook. He doesn’t shift his focus from Facebook, doesn’t care what people say about him or Facebook. He is not afraid of losing one round, he makes all the moves that he thinks are best for Facebook. He just plows away and in this regard reminds me of the best poker players, only he plays at different stakes. And this why I’m gonna buy Facebook stock as soon as my brokerage account is open.
Disclaimer: this is not professional investment advice.