Howard Lederer on Utilizing Emotion

Lederer: I think, particularly in poker, emotion also helps you become a better player.  So, you know, as a poker player, you have to constantly find, strike a balance between caring about your result and not caring about your result, right?  So, if you care too much and the thought of losing hurts too much, then you’re completely risk averse, and you play too cheaply and you’re almost paralyzed at the table.  You can’t ever make a bet that you’re not sure, you know, when that would be the totally involved, totally emotional, can’t stand ever losing even a pot, right?  Now, you know, that type of player that Brandon described who, you know, might blow his entire bankroll or might have a, you know, a big loss and you can hardly tell, I think not only is that player risking their entire bankroll in a way that is very self destructive, but I also would gather that that person maybe isn’t getting better the way they could.  So, if you manage your risk and you understand as, you know, that you somehow manage to find that happy medium where you’re willing to take some risk, you’re willing to take some losses, but at the end of the session, when you’ve lost, you’re kind of upset about it.  I mean, you care deeply about the fact that you lost.  That really kind of motivates you and inspires you to figure out what went wrong and, you know, play that much tougher the next time you play and be a better player the next time you play.  I think if you don’t care about the losses, then there’s no real incentive to become a better player. 

The Poker Professor says poker and business are thick with psychology.

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