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Meditation and Poker

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k2o4   United States. Dec 13 2018 22:39. Posts 4803
Back when I was a mid-stakes grinder, I spent hours and hours everyday trying to plug the leaks in my game. Part of that meant upping my strategic understanding by working with my coaches (<3 SakiSaki & Midian, y'all taught me so much). As my understanding grew, the other part took on a larger role.

What was that other part you ask?

The emotional part. How many times did I know what to do, but not end up doing it because I was tilted, I was bored, I wasn't paying enough attention, I was scared, I was impatient...

I started paying much more attention to my role model's mental and emotional state, rather than just the way they'd play each hand. During a week in Korea I stayed at Midian's place, which gave me the opportunity to observe his energy, not just while playing, but also in his daily life.

I noticed a calm, grounded, and mindful presence. Even when we were all out at the bar working on a bottle of whiskey, and the rest of us would be loud and rambuncious and excited, he'd be pretty chill. Smiling more, yes, but centered. It was hard to get a big reaction out of him, in either direction, towards exuberance or depression. Good things happen, he's chill, bad things happen, he's chill.

Along with the equanimity, he was also naturally aware of what was happening around him. It seemed like he didn't get lost into his internal dialogue as easily as the rest of us, and he was able to have a sort of meta sense about the flow of the situation because of it.

I noticed the way this translated into his poker game when he allowed me to observe him play his regular 4 tables of high stakes on Stars. His sense of how the game was flowing and how each person at the table played allowed him to do many perfectly timed bluffs to take down pots I'd never even try for.

On the flop he'd tell me his feel on a player and the approach he'd take to capitalize on their playing style's weakness, and I'd be thinking "your HUD only has like 25 hands on the guy, how can you have such a read?" He wasn't very interested in the HUD as he was processing info on another level, on the computer in his head.

I could see the gap between myself and the players I admired, and it wasn't the strategic understanding as much as it was the mental and emotional muscle.

This led me to 2 conclusions. First, I wasn't going to break through the wall between me and the high stakes until I evolved my whole being. Second, that I'd had the tool right in front of me the whole time, due to growing up in a family that was very involved with the world of meditation. From leading scientists researching meditation to embodied masters teaching it, I had been surrounded by the solution since my childhood, but I'd never taken advantage of it.

That's when I quit poker and went back to school. I realized that the field of science studying meditation and body language was psychology, so I set out to learn the science and get a degree. As I'd always resisted meditation, most of my energy went towards the intellectual pursuit of knowledge about the tool rather than applying the tool to my daily life, but I did begin daily mindfulness meditation.

By the end of my degree that balance had flipped, as I'd jumped into a life of yoga, meditation, shamanic healing, and psychedelics... all the hippie shit I'd resisted my entire youth (except for the occasional shrooms on the party scene). I also started playing poker again, but only live, no more online grinding. I applied everything I'd learned, meditating as I sat at the table, remembering yogic philosophy when taking a bad beat, feeling the magic of all these souls coming together to create this poker game.

I found that the poker table was one of the best places to test whether I was really embodying what I'd learnt, as it triggered up all my old patterns and pushed me to live my new beliefs. Can I be unattached to the result of my actions, only concerned with taking the right action in the moment? Can I be content with everything that is happening, even if I've been dealt nothing but rags and bad beats for the last 30 minutes? Can I be compassionate and kind to the people around me, even if they just took all my money?

After graduating with my psych degree and completing my yoga teacher training I was teaching 8 classes a week, working with a wide range of people, from senior citizens to teenage athletes, and everything in between. I was reminded of my days coaching low-stakes poker players here on LP, and the joy of helping people learn a new skill. I realized how much these yoga & meditation practices had improved both my poker and StarCraft game, which inspired the idea to offer meditation training to the gamer community. I recently signed up with GamerSensei as a coach to do just that for StarCraft players. I'm very excited to merge my old world and new world like this

I recently came back to LP to see whether meditation was a topic being discussed here, and was happy to see that not only was it a topic, but there are already several experienced and passionate people sharing their knowledge.

I have to say, for any new poker players, take advantage of the fact that people like RiKD, Tutz, and Loco are sharing their knowledge about meditation. Loco is especially good at conveying the science behind the practices, what they're achieving, and why they work. While the internet provides us with a wealth of resources for learning meditation, having people to talk with is also an important part of the journey, so we're all lucky to be part of a community with knowledgeable people who are willing to share what what they've learned.

I'd like to offer my gift into the mix as well. If you're looking to add meditation or yoga to your life, I'd love to support ya, so please feel free to hit me up. From chatting here on LP to regular 1-on-1 coaching while you build the skills to level up your game, I'm available to help

Despite being exposed to meditation all my life, I never took it seriously till I began making my living as a poker player and realized I needed a tool to help me level up. Upon finding that tool I went on a path away from poker into a life I never imagined before.

It's fun to be coming back full circle and reconnecting with the gamer community to share the greatest gift I ever received from my time gaming. It's a gift which has improved my entire life, not just my gaming skill, and I'm happy to see so many of you adding it to your lives as well <3

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InnovativeYogis.comLast edit: 14/12/2018 00:02

hiems   United States. Dec 14 2018 02:57. Posts 1499

tldr i used this newage shit to make moniez and do the whole yoga guru thing to get gurlz. now that i just had a baby need to make more moniez so now im selling yoga coaching/doing seo for my website.

you make things way more complicated then they need to be.


k2o4   United States. Dec 14 2018 06:26. Posts 4803

Oh hello there hiems. As they say, haters gonna hate. That's the risk we take when we put ourselves out there. This post isn't for the haters, though they're all certainly free to read it and hate it and post about their hate, as I'm sure they will. This is LP, where I'm happy to see that free speech is generally respected

InnovativeYogis.comLast edit: 14/12/2018 06:28

tutz   Brasil. Dec 16 2018 12:01. Posts 2080

Dear friend, thank you for sharing your experience. I identify so much with your words. Yoga, meditation, nature, inner peace. This path is truly amazing.

Regarding poker, now I can clearly see how I could never reach a high level at poker with my old mentality, just like you. Maybe I'll try to make a comeback at poker in the future, not to become professional again, but just to see how I would feel about playing the game again, i.e. make it a spiritual experience.

I'm so happy you posted this. I'm going to take the liberty to say I believe my blog somehow inspired you to write about your own path, which truly touches my soul. I feel very close to all those that are in same path as me, as I can see myself in them. Thank you thank you thank you. In the end, we all are in the same path, regardless if we know it or not.

Also, I'm working hard to become a serious yogi. I only started a few months ago and all I ask myself is why did I wait so long to start it. It's something I've always had in the back of my mind somehow, even my ex-girlfriend was a yogi, but I never even cared to try to learn when I was with her. Now I'm addicted to it. It's amazing. Just yesterday me and a group of friends went to a secluded area of a natural park here in Sao Paulo and did 2 hours of Hatha Yoga. It's was such an amazing feeling to be there.

I wish you all the best in your path my friend. Where do you live by the way? If I ever visit your city I will make sure to drop by for a yoga session.

Namastê

 Last edit: 16/12/2018 12:04

LemOn[5thF]   Czech Republic. Dec 16 2018 14:47. Posts 14694

hang on
Loco posts science behind practices etc.?
Maybe I should stop completely skipping his self indulgent walls of text that I learned to do ages ago xD

NL5 Grinder 4Life 

CamilaPunt   Brasil. Dec 17 2018 18:08. Posts 2344

great initiative. I am trying to get into meditation/yoga as well. My wife does it extensively and I note considerable results from her.

 Last edit: 17/12/2018 18:52

k2o4   United States. Jan 03 2019 21:34. Posts 4803


  On December 16 2018 11:01 tutz wrote:
Dear friend, thank you for sharing your experience. I identify so much with your words. Yoga, meditation, nature, inner peace. This path is truly amazing.

Regarding poker, now I can clearly see how I could never reach a high level at poker with my old mentality, just like you. Maybe I'll try to make a comeback at poker in the future, not to become professional again, but just to see how I would feel about playing the game again, i.e. make it a spiritual experience.

I'm so happy you posted this. I'm going to take the liberty to say I believe my blog somehow inspired you to write about your own path, which truly touches my soul. I feel very close to all those that are in same path as me, as I can see myself in them. Thank you thank you thank you. In the end, we all are in the same path, regardless if we know it or not.

Also, I'm working hard to become a serious yogi. I only started a few months ago and all I ask myself is why did I wait so long to start it. It's something I've always had in the back of my mind somehow, even my ex-girlfriend was a yogi, but I never even cared to try to learn when I was with her. Now I'm addicted to it. It's amazing. Just yesterday me and a group of friends went to a secluded area of a natural park here in Sao Paulo and did 2 hours of Hatha Yoga. It's was such an amazing feeling to be there.

I wish you all the best in your path my friend. Where do you live by the way? If I ever visit your city I will make sure to drop by for a yoga session.

Namastê



Hey Tutz Thanks for this reply, it makes me happy to see the stories of others on the path <3 I especiallly love the part about going to the park for a 2 hr hatha session! I totally feel ya on ignoring yoga even when it was right in my face, and how amazing I felt once I started doing it, hehe.

And your post has inspired me to keep posting for sure. I've had a desire to reengage with the poker/starcraft communities for a few years now, but only finally took action back in August. At that point I was very happy to see that meditation was already a topic being discussed here on LP. When you posted, I got even more excited to see that the conversation was now extended beyond just meditation and into the spiritual experience. I've actually got an article I'm working on about "magical" stuff which is completely inspired by your blog post and the conversation it triggered. Hopefully I will be posting that soon

I'm about 15 minutes outside Denver so if you're ever in CO hit me up for sure. And when I do get back to Brazil, cause I gotta get back to Roncador, I will let ya know ^_^

InnovativeYogis.com 

k2o4   United States. Jan 03 2019 21:35. Posts 4803


  On December 16 2018 13:47 LemOn[5thF] wrote:
hang on
Loco posts science behind practices etc.?
Maybe I should stop completely skipping his self indulgent walls of text that I learned to do ages ago xD



lol

Yeah it's true, he has actually written some pretty intelligent posts on the topic.

InnovativeYogis.comLast edit: 04/01/2019 00:28

k2o4   United States. Jan 03 2019 21:37. Posts 4803


  On December 17 2018 17:08 CamilaPunt wrote:
great initiative. I am trying to get into meditation/yoga as well. My wife does it extensively and I note considerable results from her.



Very cool, good luck on the journey! I really enjoy being able to share the practice with my wife. It also helped us deepen our relationship as well. I wish you all the best!

InnovativeYogis.com 

 





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