Thursday, February 3, 2011

In tune with your mood

I read an interesting post today at Poker Cats. He says he tries not to play poker when he's tired. Being tired can lead to making bad decisions.

I'd take that a step farther. Any mood swing can be deadly. I can tell when I play poker and I'm in an "Aw, screw it" mood. I try to avoid playing when I'm mad about something or when I'm too distracted.

Bridge is the same way. Some nights I play online with Kate and I know I don't give her a good game because I'm not focused and (usually) play too aggressively. I remember that after I took up poker, she told me I was playing bridge differently. I took the hint -- I was gambling too much. Heck, in poker you only need a pair of jacks to bet. In bridge you need a lot more than that, lol.

What about you? When you sit down to play, are you in tune with your mood and do you see a difference in how you play? What do you do about it? Do you quit and play another day or are you aware of what's going on and try to control your behavior?

I'd be particularly interested in hearing how someone who makes their living playing poker (such as the Poker Grump) deals with it. I can play or not as I wish. The pros don't have that luxury, or do they? Maybe it'd be a good post for any of you who have thought about it.


  1. Mood definitely has an effect on how I play. I don't play well when I am upset. Patience is key in both games and it's somehow easier to have patience in a face to face game than in an online game. Playing when you're not giving full concentration is counterproductive so it's better to not play than to play knowing that you're not going to do your best, whether it's a money game or not. Frequently I can't resist so I play some cards badly for awhile.

  2. Mood definitely effects me...surprise, surprise! I played against Lightning the other night, while not in the best mood, and he finally beat me HU. I should've declined the offer.

  3. It sure hits me. When I am like that, I either don't play for real money or not at all.

  4. (notice that your post provided a ready-made excuse for Josie's HU thrashing that I administered with glee ...)

    You make a great point. I can usually tell when I am in good shape to play and when I am not. More often than not, how I feel affects my play.

    So many of the online pros play so man tables that I am not sure much of anything matters to them once online ...

  5. I don't play golf well if I'm upset about something!

    Re your comment/question on the zebras: Obviously my zebras and the zebras at the Super Bowl - well, this cannot be a coincidence. There's a higher power working here; some NFL god/goddess, no doubt!

    Ah the ways of the divine are so mysterious and wonderful. Well, except for plagues and hurricanes and stuff. :-)

  6. I heard the dalmatians were in heat, and you can't take a dog in heat to a fire. Right?

  7. Hah - we all know how well I play tired (or while drinking, or in a bad mood...). Lately, I've been pretty much holding to a no-tired rule. I only play about once a week now.... sheesh.

    The low limit grinders I think just plow through it. They don't need to do much more than robot their way to break even. I've read about a few that take breaks when things go really south, but it seems to take them losing 20 or 30 BI before they take action.

    The higher limit guys, at least the really good ones, don't play as much... so I think on the whole, they're resting, treating themselves right and when they go to work, there is TOTAL concentration. When you've seen umpteen million hands, the beats don't tend to bother you as much.

    I know I'm playing well when I can let beats just slide off and move on to the next hand. I still get frustrated with myself when I make a bad play.