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Negative Reinforcement


by dtools22  |  Published Oct 21, 2013


It’s just as important to discover what types of people you don’t want to be as it is to find role models to emulate.

I’ll talk more about the Borgata another time. Right now there is a hair across my ass and I’d rather spend this time acknowledging it.

Inspiration is everywhere. We live in an age where we have access to information wherever we go. Almost all of us have smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices to help us research any topic that might tickle our fancy in that particular moment. We also have the ability to share the bits and pieces of information we really enjoy to others using any one of the several social media platforms available to us. This is an age where it is easier to find people who inspire us than it has ever been before. We can seek out men and women whose work strikes us as grand or admirable, and do our best to showcase that work in an effort to support their causes. We can follow alongside our heroes more intimately than ever before, and we can also see the negatives just a brightly. Our modern world allows us to see not only the good in greater detail, but also prevents us from evading the ugliness of humanity. This too can be inspiring and can enlighten us to see not only those who we wish to become, but also enable us to avoid following those who are of a lesser substance than we seek to be.

In poker this is pretty easy to spot. There are a number of players who have achieved notoriety in this industry that is more infamy than it is fame. I’m not looking to name names here so people can decide for themselves who the “rotten apples” are in the poker community’s orchard. I’m talking about more general problems that surround us. Whether you label yourself as a Professional or not, being a poker player carries a bit of a stigma with it. You are either playing in casinos where, “nothing good will ever happen” or your finding “underground games” where the small possibility of foul play gets hyper exaggerated to turn a friendly game of cards with your friends into an event a kin to a meeting of drug kingpins in the social eye. For better or worse, the public at large knows very little about the poker industry and fills in the blanks with some overtly grotesque overstatements of the game and the people associated with it.

What drives me nuts is when people who seek out serious reputations in this industry live up to those stereotypes. The same people who want us as the lower stakes grinders and more casual players to look at them with reverence use the airtime and publicity they do get to talk about their last baller vacation. It’s those same people that then forget the public eye is on them now, albeit not terribly brightly, and go on making poor personal decisions that reflect negatively on the game itself and those who play it. Those decisions lead to more sensationalism from society and make playing the game in piece that much harder. I’m not for an instant trying to be judge and jury here. Live your own life and don’t let anyone try to lead you down a path you don’t want to tread. My problem is when people don’t understand the context of their decisions. If you want to be famous, whether that’s within your line of work, as a part of a social organization of some kind, or you’re looking to be the next Dwayne Johnson you need to understand that it’s the whole you that’s being judged. You need to grasp that it’s not just about how well you perform.

Any judgment we make today is about more than the substance of someone’s work. The decision is also about the type of character that person has. If you want to be respected, understand the every goofy photo you taken at a party when you were black out drunk and tried licking the salt off your buddy’s hairy stomach gets immortalized on someone’s Facebook page and then sent to everyone they know. It’s the moments when you are at your weakest that will determine the level of respect you’ll get. How good you are at what you do is only part of the equation. This stems well beyond the poker world. Whether you’re running for political office or just sitting around with a group of friends we all want to be respected. The level of respect you get is directly related to how much self-respect you give away when making choices in your life. This goes back to a very old and overused cliché, every decision you make has consequences. If you get caught in a drug bust, you have no one else to blame.

My point here is that I have found out in my years around the poker world what I don’t want to be. I don’t want people to see me as some kid in his mid-20s that didn’t have the skills to amount to anything more dignified than a professional gambler. I don’t want to be the guy berating a terrible player for his poor play on national television. I don’t want to be the guy everyone looks at and says he was a one hit wonder. I want to be credible, above all else. This is a greater pursuit than just seeking out the positive judgment of others. This career gives you the flexibility of schedule to do things other people can’t do. I can make it a priority to exercise, eat healthy, and continue my personal education not just in poker but in general human knowledge. I can always get better, speak better, look better, act more appropriately, and should I attain the success I desire in this industry I will look, sounds, and act like I’m more than just some stereotype.



1 year ago

Do what I do to start off clean. I don't hang with these people except when I see them at a tournament. I know many players are good guys and play recreational but so many that get looked up at are actually scumbags of the world or at least in poker circles. Have something going for you outside of poker and that makes you 100% better in my book. I see these guys always hanging around tournaments or card rooms like it is the only place they are found. So sad and pathetic.

Good for you...don't be the stereotype.


1 year ago

Thanks man, I appreciate it