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negative energy at poker table

rinkers2003 Posts: 85Member
edited October 2017 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
A little background on myself. I have played semi-pro the last 5 years or so. I have played professionally between jobs twice in this period for about 4/5 months each before starting a new full-time job. When I have a job I primarily play about 15-20 hours a week and when I was playing full-time I played 30-40 hours a week. I play primarily 3/5 NL

Recently I have just been down on poker. I am having my best year in poker this year, however when I win it just doesn't feel good anymore and when I beat a recreational player I kinda feel guilty about it. When I have a losing session I feel 100 times worse than the good feeling I get from a winning session. Also when I get to the table I feel like the other players know I am a winning player and I can tell they are not happy to see me sit down. It just gives me a negative vibe and no one wants any part of me for the most part. I am tired of seeing the same faces all the time and spending time with people who dislike me. There have been people at the table who I got along with and had a great conversation with but I once won a big pot vs one of those guys and then they stopped talking to me and give me a dirty look every time I sit in a game with them.

Does anyone else who plays a lot ever feel like this and is there any advice in what I should do. I still enjoy playing the game most the time but I am a fun and social guy and I am not feeling that way anymore at my local casino which is basically the only poker room in town.


  • iamallin Posts: 1,173SubscriberProfessional
    edited October 2017
    Yeah, this is the dark side of the game.

    After a while, winning doesn't feel as good as losing hurts.

    Players around you envy you, are jealous of you and do not have your best interests in mind. It's an antagonistic environment. Just like practising law.

    To a certain extent, you can look at this as an opportunity to increase your social callus. But it will wear on you in the long run. Take a little break if poker stops being fun. DGAF mentioned this in his legendary thread a lot.

  • ohsnapzbrah Posts: 632Subscriber
    It's the competitive nature of the game. When you beat someone in a business deal or in a game of chess or FIFA or whatever, is that person happy? No!

    Why does a small school hate the nationally ranked opponent that is about to come to town? They win a lot, and they may be pumped to play them but they know they're going to lose. It's like why people hate Golden State in the NBA or Alabama in college football. They win most of the time.

    When you play, say, a game of chess. You're favored to win, but you lose. When you lose, you suck it up, shake their hand, and absolutely hate it. When you win? Big deal, you were supposed to win anyways. If you look at poker as a competition, you can get past this part.
  • AJoff Posts: 546Subscriber
    Some of these problems are just the reality of poker. It’s a negative sum game (rake) that doesn’t really lend itself to collaborative environments. Loss aversion is a known psychological phenomenon. Winning will never feel as good as losing feels bad. Often times in these good live games our wwsf percentage is significantly below 50%. Even though we are winning money, we lose more pots then we win.

    For me meditation helps a lot with maintaining a base emotional state and keeping me out of that constant fight or flight response. I think maintaining a fulfilling life outside of poker helps as well.

    Choosing to be nice and polite to people (regardless of how you are running) makes a big difference in how people treat you. The casino is a poor place to develop lasting friendships (scumbags gonna scumbag), but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat people like humans or you have to sit in silence all day.
  • FreeLunch Posts: 1,308Pro
    Being social enough to have people like you while you take their money is probably something that cant be taught, but its worth trying things like finding ways to get real non poker conversations with other players where you take an active interest in their lives or something they are interested in.

    But yeah, long run you need to be able to tune a lot of stuff out and if you cant, and long breaks dont work, it may just not be the life for you. Nothing wrong with that.

    Learn and play other games? Play at other rooms?
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,302Subscriber
    100% agree with Freelunch. I am an incredibly kind and giving person. At the poker table I feel zero guilt for taking anyone's money and I never get upset at a player taking mine even if he does something incredibly stupid that costs me a pot. I might get irritated but I don't get mad at them or even let them know. At worst I get mad at myself for bad play.

    Almost everyone I play with likes me. I adapt to them. I take one from Greenstein's book. You are there to make money, recreational players are there to be entertained, so entertain them. So that's how I look at it.

    They know the rules, they know people are skilled. Shit they even tell me how good I play. I am not a bank with small terms of agreement. I won't foreclose on their house. I am not stealing from them. They are paying a ticket to be at a social event just like playing blackjack and getting free drinks.

    I always try to make the players feel welcome. Old person sits down I chat with them if it seems they don't have anyone to talk too. I know I will be like that one day and I am sure they are lonely. I like making people happy so I have zero issues taking their money.

    Even sometimes I give it back. Like this woman that I played vs and she had me beat preflop based on range, yadda, yadda, yadda on a 3b pot but she was super short..... like $15 left. My QQ beat her KK. I just gave her back her money. She had been really unlucky. Felt good about being nice and it improved my image to where I could bluff more because people saw I was a nice guy.

    Try and find out why things are upsetting you. Why people don't like you. I dress like a tourist when I play. All ready for fun. I don't have a backpack and instead bring a light jacket with pockets. I don't look threatening.

    If you go in there with your Boze $300 head set, a backpack, all prepared for a zombie apocalypse then yea people will look at you with some contempt. Especially if you are young and they are older like middle aged.

    I often find very young pro players simply do not get the huge social aspect of the game. I play my part and people show me their hands, they cards, ask for advise, fold and show to me. I show only what is obvious or inconsequential.

    All these little things in a game of bad players keeps the action going and them happy. It gives me information and impacts my winnings.

    And I am not some fantastic player either. But you don't have to be. You just have to be the best at your table.
    Hope this helps
  • CycleV Posts: 923Subscriber
    OP you mentioned two kinda separate problems:

    1. Winning doesn't feel as good as losing feels bad.
    2. Being at the table feels negative.

    I think you've got lots of good advice itt, I can only add that it will probably be easier to deal with each specific problem individually, rather than lump it all into one big (seemingly insurmountable) problem.

    FWIW I have struggled with both of these things in the past year. I've had to take 2 separate month-long breaks to deal in part with problem #1, so I will not end up anywhere near my hours goal for the year despite having my best hourly ever.
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