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September 24th, 2009 at 01:43

The Power Of Patience In Poker

Have you ever watched great poker players in action and noticed how they seem to have limitless patience? Patience is one of the most powerful skills you can develop if you want to become a great player yourself.

You may be surprised to note that impatience is most often caused by a feeling of dissatisfaction with the current situation. For example, if you’re bored with the game or if it’s not moving in your favor, you might feel a surge of impatience to hurry up and finish it. Or you might struggle to stay patient during tense moments because the suspense is almost unbearable.

Developing patience is largely a matter of learning how to keep yourself rooted firmly in the present moment, rather than allowing your mind to drift to the way you wish things could be.

Here are three easy ways to do so:

1) Emotional detachment.

Your emotional state at any given moment can wreak havoc on your level of patience. For example, imagine that the game suddenly takes a bad turn and you begin worrying that you might lose a hand. The threat of failure will get your emotions all in an uproar and cause you to start fidgeting and squirming (if only mentally).

To combat this possibility, learn how to consciously detach from errant emotions. You can always tell when your emotions are becoming turbulent because of how you feel. You’ll suddenly become aware that your heart is pounding, or you may start sweating or feeling sick to your stomach. When this happens, you’ll want to mentally shift yourself away from these turbulent feelings. Imagine that your emotions and yourself are two separate entities and you can simply mentally sidestep away from them. They will still be there, but you won’t be under their power any longer.

2) Ground yourself physically.

Another effective technique to increase your patience is to shift your body in a way that enhances your awareness of the present moment. When you notice your attention starting to drift and you begin to feel restless and impatient, make a point of sitting straight in your chair and planting your feet flat on the floor. Imagine that your feet are “rooted” to the floor, thereby rooting you in the present moment. This subtle physical shift can also create a powerful mental shift that casts impatience away.

3) Become mindful.

The term “mindfulness” is commonly used to describe the Buddhist spiritual practice of engaging deeply with the present moment – but it’s not just for spiritual seekers! Mindfulness is a powerful way to strengthen your patience too. Remember, impatience is often the result of wishing things to be different than they are right now. If you make a conscious choice to focus all of your attention on accepting and embracing the present moment exactly as it is, you’ll find that your impatience fades away easily. This mind-set helps you see that there’s nothing to rush toward or hurry away from – there is only right NOW to be concerned with.

Finally, remember that developing patience is a habit more than anything else. You can train yourself to stay focused and endlessly patient simply by choosing to do so as often as possible. Over time, this becomes your default state of mind and impatience will be a rare occurrence.

The Samurai Poker Blog has many more great articles like this, including one MUST READ on Poker Felt!

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