I think a lot of poker players have a lot of gamble in them. Even very good poker players.
I'm not sure how people arrive at poker playing as their game of choice, but I think many of us wandered into a poker room while gambling in a casino at other table games. I doubt people go right from slots to poker, as it seems very intimidating from that perspective.
My personal fascination with Hold Em came from the broadcast of Phil Hellmuth's WSOP final table on TV. Even before hole card cams and fancy screen graphics, Hold Em was an enthralling game for me. But I also had a lot of interest in other gambling games. First blackjack, then roulette and eventually craps. But once I started playing poker, all other games faded from interest.
But I think there's an interesting enigma to gambling. Non-gamblers think that people who gamble a lot are WEAK. They are feeding an addiction, and it is definitely a BAD thing. That can absolutely be true about poker.
But what non-gamblers don't understand is that being a winning player requires exactly the OPPOSITE of that addictive behavior. They don't understand that being a profitable player means playing within your abilities, within your bankroll and within your tolerances. In fact, playing poker requires a TREMENDOUS amount of DISCIPLINE.
The last thing that comes to mind when you think of gamblers is discipline. Even poker players don't inspire thoughts of a well regimented personality. A lot of this is because poker players value their ability to deceive, so much so that they don't physically betray their discipline.
Some poker players I know are also some of the most disciplined people I know. Take a look at some of the charts, graphs and spreadsheets that players post online, and you'll see what I'm talking about. These aren't the type of people that throw thousands of dollars around on a whim. These are disciplined people who are willing to assume an acceptable amount of risk if they have an potential advantage.
Some poker players don't have this discipline, and that's why you hear about bustouts, or the occasional "I got carried away when I started with $1 blackjack bets on Party Poker," or "I blew all my winnings at the Craps table." It's a temporary, or sometimes indicative lapse in discipline. When people talk about "tilt" they are talking about lapses in discipline. The ability to control tilt is one of the most valued lessons in poker experience. Keep your discipline.
It's a very important, if not THE MOST important characteristic of a successful poker player.
EasyCure RulesI made a comment in EasyCure's blog about how cool his licence plates are, and he made me this:
That is freaking awesome.