I'm going to steal a bit of my own work. This is something I wrote for another site, but I'd like to incorporate these thoughts here, as they seem to fit with the previous theme. Then once I've rounded out some of the mental game move into some theory.
While posting here and there I recently commented on the mental state of some players and my furry friend Leroy Jenkins decided to prompt me for a new thread on the topic.
FYI - tl;dr (cliffs may be at the end, no promises)
Topic - Frustration
Firstly, I think it is important to define frustration. It is such a huge part of our daily lives and we use many different coping mechanisms in our lives to maneuver our way around our own feelings in life, that we do not see how it applies microscopically to some pursuits.
Frustration in my mind is a level of angst which leaves you uneasy about a situation or experience you did not want to happen, and can not avoid, ignore, or change. While you may be able to alter the future, you can not change the source of your frustration.
Recently I purchased a Dodge Dakota. I love the thing, but the most important reason I purchased the truck was that it contained all of the functions I wanted (quad cab, tow package, 4wd, V8, and in my price range). Four months later I'm sitting here in January (in Buffalo, NY) and we got our first snow that I could test out the 4wd. Well, it didn't engage. Longest story short, I was pissed off.
Frustration is not avoided because the option of the truck I wanted most can be fixed. Frustration was present because it is a function of a moment in time I didn't expect or want to be in.
What is the Root Cause of Frustration?
This is what I think the most important question I have ever asked myself, "What is the root cause of frustration?"
I have a deterministic view for the most part. I have a need to find links of causality when I don't like a path I'm taking or an event which occurred. In my search for the cause of all my frustrations I have learned that it is based in the invalid expectations I had of reality, or future predictions.
Take a moment to think of something frustrating which not a separation of reality and expectation. Sure some might say, that they are frustrated by stupid people, and expect most people to be stupid. However, the same people will say that they can not comprehend how someone would do such a thing. Expecting the unexpected is a difficult goal to take on, unless you love paranoia.
How does this apply?
This applies in many situations. From the combination of all of the bad beat stories we love to post, to someone sitting behind their computer feeling helpless to advance their bankroll (despite years of reading, posting, watching videos etc.).
Many of us can see that there are an exceptional number of posts in here in a week in the micro forums. Many of these names are the same over and over, and people tend to do as I have so far and live their poker lives in the micros. No one begins playing hoping that they are playing 10c poker for years. No one reads a book, or signs up on this forum with the hopes of moving down a limit to utilize proper bankroll management.
These are the things we do because of the situation we are in, not a because of desire. Frustration impacts us all, and the ability to post and receive help from a community of like minded people helps us substantially endure the beatings we take at the tables.
At this point, a simple thank you to all of you who I've invaded your posts, and received responses from is in order. You guys keep me plugging away and hopefully with your help I'll overcome my own hurdles.
Where Does This Leave Us?
For me, I think that this knowledge helps alleviate frustration more quickly. I know that when a river hits and a person 3 outs me, my frustration level is much lower than it was before this epiphany. Now, like one of Pavlov's dog I have conditioned myself to trigger the thought that my expectation didn't match reality when frustration sets in. I immediately remember that 6% means that I can not expect to win that hand 100% of the time on the turn.
This forums is good in that when people make a "standard play" and some unconventional player is in the hand, or some card hits, we can bounce off our frustration into an expressive form of a post where we can re-calibrate our expectations with others in the community. This is essential in an endeavor to sustain a poker mindset with clarity.
In poker, realty exists in a brutal way, we can not control the cards. We can only control our actions. One other take I've beaten into my head was that I can control my action, and my frustration with poker needs to turn toward my actions. If I believe my actions were correct for the situation, I need to allow myself the loss. This is key, you need to allow yourself to lose pots. Once you've permitted yourself the affordability to losing pots, you can regain control by reminding yourself this affordability is only allowed because you will study the game to minimize the size of pots you lose.
Frustration is a result of believing one event or prediction will happen, and realizing a different outcome has. Controlling our reactions to this will help to limit the length and depth of tilt.
We all need some self reflection and a mirror or two to bounce off our mindsets and get a good evaluation. This forum, Skype, Ventrilo, email, verbal conversations, reading books, and watching videos all help us to re-calibrate and lessen the impact of our frustrations.
If you consider that your genetic makeup will give you on a scale of 1-10 an ability to be frustrated between x-y (where x & y are both values from 1-10) then where you are at any moment between x-y are a result of the event/occurrence which is frustrating and your level of preparedness with your own reactions to your emotional state.
Become more prepared, and let's all make some bank