10/08/2009

Self Hypnosis - The Silent Enemy

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

I never really liked multi-tabling, to me it never felt like real poker. I liked to feel players out by single tabling and really homing in. However this really isn’t enough these days so some time ago I decided to significantly drop down in levels and multi-table. At least this would allow me to have a technical superiority against more players.

The problem was that at that time I had never really properly multi-tabled but I knew that I had a good technical game so there really shouldn’t have been any problem…..or so I thought.

But I wasn’t making money when I played six tables. At first I thought that the reason was variance but that quickly wore off as I can tend to feel when something is not right. I was spewing money in situations out of the blue and I then put this down to not concentrating as much per table.

This had to be the solution so I embarked on a course to strengthen my levels of concentration. I managed to pull this off which was a decent achievement for me seeing as my levels of concentration have always been poor ever since I was a kid. But I was still spewing money stupidly every now and again. I continued to do this until I finally found out what the problem really was.

It came from an unusual source as I was reading an interview by a Wall Street trader who talked about how he could easily become hypnotised by his screens and end up just gazing at them in a sort of hypnotic trance. This was backed up when I read another interview by an electronic day trader who said the same thing.

I was aware of this in online poker but had never really experienced it until I multi-tabled. The speed of the action left my eyes glued to the screen and after a while, I was finding that I had done things that I simply couldn’t remember doing. This can sometimes be a positive as this can often indicate that your sub-conscious mind is taking over.

But it can also be a negative too of course and if your level of performance is starting to suffer based on this hypnotic brain freeze then you really need to do something about it. Once I had made the connection then it was obvious that trying to concentrate even harder wasn’t helping the situation but actually making it worse.

So I decided to take a quite unusual step and tried not looking at the screen at all until the audio prompts requested me to do so.

I kept myself from getting too distracted by looking at my other computer or by reading some poker theory and it worked. I actually stopped spewing silly money by evading this self induced hypnosis. It meant that I wasn’t concentrating on the game as much but what good is that if you are spewing money?

Now I don’t recommend this tactic generally but I wrote about it simply because I would be interested to hear from other players who have found that they suffer from something similar.

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