Positive Attitude & Poker – Cause-and-effect
By Leonard Finkel
It’s said that over the course of time, all players are dealt the same number of good hands and bad hands and luck, good and bad, equals out. Good players maximize the value of their wins and minimize the cost of defeat. There are those that believe a positive attitude, what in effect some call “the Secret” can affect one’s bottom line. I’d like to share a story of events that occurred to me recently at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that illustrates what a positive attitude can do for your results.
I had just busted out from the days mega-stack event at Caesars after the third level. Disappointed in the outcome, I decided to jump right into a cash game. After a fairly brief time at the table, a recognizable face asked what was bothering me. I play fairly regularly at Caesars, having made the trip to Vegas about 15 times last year and several times already in this year. The questioner was also a semi regular. I asked him if he meant that I was not my usual cheerful, joking self. Normally I’m the life of the party at the poker table.
His question led to my rambling diatribe about how I had been card dead for more than two months and just busted out of my second consecutive tournament on back-to-back days. Whatever could go wrong I added, seemed to go wrong. In the previous day’s $500 buy-in event, I lasted through nine tedious 50-minute levels, never having more than one pair. I’m still ahead over that period of time I exclaimed, but I’m not winning what I normally do. He responded by saying something to the effect of, “Buddy, you’re whining to a man with just one leg. There are a hell of a lot of things worse than being card dead. Snap out of it, dammit!” He was right. Obviously! I couldn’t stop laughing and his comments lifted me out of my funk.
I realized that while I was busy moping, I was playing defensive, calling station poker, and just hoping to flop a big hand. I got my aggression back, raising with hands like 6-4 off suit in late position. I began floating on the flop when I thought people were weak and taking the pot down on the turn. I had my Mojo back and it was all about attitude. In a 1/3 no-limit game, I went from about $100 stuck to more than $300 ahead. I was also back to being my normal, chatty, cheerful self. My cards hadn’t changed very much, just my attitude, and with that attitude, how I played.
I can’t say for certain whether it was the cause and effect of positive attitude, but my buddy Bob Christiansen from Denver stopped by to give me a little gift. The day before I convinced Bob to enter the $500 buy-in event and lo and behold, Bob made the final table, a very nice payday. As a token of his appreciation, he laid $100 on me. Nothing like that positive attitude!