THE POKER MINDSET PDF

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The Poker Mindset Pdf

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If you are having issues with the mental side of your poker game, I .. game or mindset coach at the time, it was a great opportunity to expand my practice to. Editorial Reviews. From the Inside Flap. What "secret" separates top poker players from poker. the poker mindset: essential attitudes for poker success (pdf) by matthew hilger ( ebook). What "secret" separates top poker players from poker wannabes?.

But what if we toss the coin times? If we now calculate the chance of getting 70 or more heads the same proportion as before , we find it is now only 0. The more times you repeat a random event, the less likely it is that you will get an extreme result. All of this stems from the fact that winning poker players make money from their opponents' mistakes, which are generally small in nature. In poker, any hand can win, and it is rare to be betting when you have the absolute nuts.

As you play more and more hands of poker, the chances of you being extremely lucky or extremely unlucky decrease. Play enough hands, and the luck factor is virtually eliminated, leaving skill alone to determine results. Unfortunately, it can take a very long time for the effects of luck to be negated. We can say that after , hands a winning player will almost certainly turn a profit, but even this isn't certain, especially if he is only a very marginal winner.

Almost certainly in these , hands, there will be periods of a , 1,, or maybe even 10, hands when the player loses money, but these should be negated by similar periods when the player wins more than he would expect. The more hands you play, the less important luck is as a factor. More luck is involved in tournaments when the blinds increase quickly, because fewer hands will be played before the blinds reach a critical level.

Online players tend to measure win rate as big bets per hands. Chapter 2 - The Poker Mindset 23 22 The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success shouldn't, they still have a chance to win, especially if they know a little about poker and are not likely to put money into the pot with horrendous odds. These little mistakes add up over time, allowing the better players to win, but they will never win as much as it might seem they should given the average size of the pot.

A good player understands the Realities of Poker and accepts them, with the knowledge that it is the very nature of the game that helps him to be successful. Or to put it another way, if you don't like the rules, don't play the game. Poker is a game of high variance 2.

Play for the Long Term This is the effective conclusion of all the Realities of Poker outlined previously. Poker is a game of luck and skill, but in the short term, luck is king, so short-term results will be extremely erratic. Combine this with the fact that the good player's edge is very small, and the result is that winning players will have almost as many losing sessions as winning ones! In fact, a winning player may have even more losing sessions than winning ones, if the player is prone to ending his session once he loses a certain amount.

In the short term, pretty much anything can happen; bad players can win and good players can lose. If you are looking to make money from poker, you need to play for the long term and accept the short-term risks. It is not hard to see how the result of one or two pots can turn a winning session into a losing session or vice versa.

A few consecutive losing sessions, and suddenly you are on a downswing6 while a string of winning sessions signals an upswing. It is only after you have played thousands and thousands of hands that you can look at the aggregate results from all these upswings and downswings and see the long-term trend. The second attitude of the Poker Mindset is to play for the long term. First of all, it is important to note that we are not talking about playing differently.

In fact, you need to be mentally playing for the long term because concentrating on short-term results can leave you vulnerable to making plays that have a lower expected value. If you are playing for the long term, you will not really care about the results of one session, and especially not one hand. When you are playing for the long term, you are satisfied with making the plays that will make you a long-term winner regardless of your short-term results.

For example, there is no point in understanding the huge short-term luck element in poker but then complaining that you just dropped 40 big bets in a session. A player who puts too much emphasis on his short-term results will feel ecstatic after a good winning session and depressed after a losing one. He will also be prone to the following errors.

See chapter 5 for a complete discussion. This is also known as the play with the highest expected value. If they are stuck, they will be inclined to keep playing until they are at least even. This attitude can have catastrophic results. A player more concerned with results than with playing well is far more likely to go on tilt because he will be affected more when things go badly.

See chapter 6 for a more in-depth discussion on the types and triggers of tilt. First, they may continue to play when tired or bored, resulting in them not playing their best. Second, this attitude may cause them to go on tilt,9 especially if they slip even further into the red, making them doubly depressed. Of course, once they are on tilt, this is likely to cause them to lose even more, and they become more determined to get at least some of it back.

As you can see, the result is a rather dangerous and vicious circle. Getting mad at bad players Protecting a win The reverse is also true. Short-term players love to record a winning session and will tend to over-value them.

One of the worst possible scenarios for a short-term player is losing his winnings, even if he loses it playing good poker.

He will tend to quit while he is ahead, even if he is in a very good game and is playing well. Alternatively, a short-term player might do something that could be even worse. He might stay in the game but start to play very conservatively, turning down plays with positive expected value in order to make plays that give him the lowest chance of losing a large amount of money. He considers the results of his individual sessions important, and so any time he loses a pot he thinks he should have won, especially a large one, it hurts.

This may cause him to hold a grudge against the player who made the bad play and he might even begin to play hands he shouldn't when his nemesis is in the pot.

Alternatively, he may berate the weak player, which is always a bad idea, as the bad player may leave the table or at least start playing better. A player mad at losing a pot from an opponent's bad play is at risk of playing badly himself trying to recuperate the money he lost on the pot.

Making rash changes to his game By playing for the long term, you are acknowledging that you can lose money in the short term through no fault of your own. On the other hand, a player concerned with the short term will instinctively try to change things if results are not going his way While it is a good idea to continually review your play and make changes accordingly, it is a bad idea to make changes on the basis of short-term results.

Note that this is a common error among intermediate players. When they are experiencing a run of poor results, they will constantly tinker with their game in an attempt to improve their results, not understanding or not accepting that their losses are mainly due to short-term luck.

This didn't mean that he was playing it incorrectly,10 and naturally it didn't mean that AA was an unprofitable hand at that limit.

It simply meant that Ian had a run of bad luck when dealt aces in the hole over that comparatively short period. Had he tried to change the way he played aces after that period, the long-term result would almost certainly have been negative.

Action Point: Review the errors that players with a short-term focus might make. Note any that you have made in response to short-term results. Do you now see why they are poor responses?

Resolve not to make the same mistakes again. In summary, playing for the long term really is the only way to play poker successfully.

Players fixated on short-term results generally suffer unwarranted mental anguish that can result in bad decision making at the table. Emphasize Correct Decisions over Making Money The big advantage of playing poker for the long term is that you can focus on the only thing that is important: making correct decisions.

Every poker hand you play will present you with decisions. In limit Hold'em, you decide whether to fold, call, or raise at any given juncture.

Other games may contain different decisions. In pot-limit or no-limit games, you must decide how much to bet or raise, while in some games such as lowball and 5-card draw, you must also make a decision on how many cards to discard and which ones. Although there is the possibility that he was on a subtle form of tilt and had started to play it badly after a while.

Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose. This theorem gives an excellent and succinct explanation of how money is won and lost in poker, but it should not be used to determine whether a particular decision was a mistake or not. The problem is that Sklansky's theorem assumes that you have perfect information.

In reality, we almost never have perfect information, as our opponent's cards are hidden. Our definition focuses on the practical side of play rather than the theoretical. To illustrate the difference between the two, consider the following hand. Opponents will sometimes accidentally expose their cards, giving you perfect information. For the most part poker is a game of incomplete information. What do you do? You are holding an ace high flush while your opponent could have any number of hands inferior to yours, including a set, a straight, a smaller flush, or even two pair.

The obvious play here is to raise, and against the vast majority of opponents, this is certainly the correct play based on the information you have available. You are beaten by the straight flush and so the correct theoretical play by Sklansky's definition is to fold. You probably have no conceivable way of knowing he has the straight flush, and so a raise is considered correct for all practical purposes, and a fold would be terrible.

You would almost certainly call at least, even against an opponent who you have never seen bet on the river without the absolute nuts. So why should we emphasize making correct decisions over making money? After all, isn't the goal of poker to make money? The problem once again comes down to the dominance of luck in poker in the short term.

There is no way to guarantee making money in the short term; there are simply too many unknowns and random variables. A good player can virtually guarantee making money in the long term, but he can only do this by making correct decisions. A correct decision may end up losing the player money, but consistently making correct decisions is the only way to ensure long-term profitability.

Focusing on anything else is futile. For example, let's say you are playing no-limit Hold'em and are dealt A-T off-suit in late position. A solid early-position player raises a standard amount, and it is folded around to you. You recognize that A-T off-suit is a marginal hand that plays badly against early position raises and so you correctly fold.

The big blind calls, and the flop is A-T After two blanks on the turn and river, the dust settles and the big blind with T-9 suited wins a large pot from the pre-flop raiser who had A-K. Had you not folded pre-flop, you would have won a very large pot. This is the kind of hand that upsets some players because they are looking at the hand in isolation rather than as just a small incident in the vastness of their poker career. While their fold did indeed cost them money in this hand, Chapter 2 - The Poker Mindset 29 it was the correct decision by both our definition and the Sklansky definition that in the long term will save them money.

It is the same principle for any decision in poker. If you make the correct decision, then the actual result of the hand is irrelevant. Inevitably, there will be times when you lose money as a result of making the right play, while inevitably other players may win money by making the wrong play.

All you can do is console yourself with the knowledge that over time these players will lose their money, and if you keep playing well, you will be in the best position to win it. Don't worry about winning money; worry about making correct decisions, and let the money take care of itself.

Action Point: The next time you play, take measures to ensure you don't know how much money you have won or lost in a session. If you are a live player, arrange your chips in messy uncountable piles. If you play online, download in for a strange amount and keep randomly adding other strange amounts to your stack. If you don't know how much you are winning or losing, you should be able to concentrate on simply making good decisions.

The point it is trying to make is that if you are playing poker with money that you are afraid to lose, then you are less likely to win because you will be prone to making sub-optimal decisions. Remember, making the correct decision is making the choice that will earn you the most money in the long run.

If you focus on trying not to lose money, you are no longer trying to make the correct decision. Your decisions will now be made within the confines of damage control and decreased variance.

You are costing yourself money as soon as you start giving up hands with positive expectation in order to decrease your variance. Poker is a game of small edges, and giving up situations with positive expectation can be enough to turn a winning player into a losing player.

Hopefully you are smart enough not to sit down at the table with your entire bankroll or next month's rent money. However, you can be playing scared even when you are not risking it all. Two factors tend to contribute to how likely you are to play scared: First, how strong is your bankroll? Have you been losing recently and are now past or dangerously close to the mark where your bankroll is no longer sufficient for the limit you are playing?

Have you recently moved up a limit and so your bankroll is now much smaller in terms of big bets? If any of these are true, then you will be more prone than usual to play scared. If so, then you have a problem, as these are not good attributes in a poker player. If you are unable to take a risk-neutral13 attitude to poker, then you would be better off either quitting the game or playing with a bankroll so large or at limits so low that the cash amounts concerned no longer mean anything to you.

Potentially, you could fall into a number of traps by playing scared: Not protecting your hand properly If you are scared of losing, you often will not bet your weak made hands enough, leaving yourself vulnerable to being outdrawn. You will try to lose less when you are outdrawn but with the penalty that you will get outdrawn more often. Not value betting your good hands enough Value betting is one of the most important skills in poker.

It is a bet made that you hope will make money when your opponent calls with an inferior hand. Not value betting properly, because you are content to win a small pot rather than committing more money for a favorable return, is a huge leak. It is especially common on the river, where you no longer have the incentive to protect your hand. Playing too tight If you are scared of losing money, then you may be reluctant to enter the pot without a very good hand, even when the hand figures to make a small profit.

You effectively miss out on small profitable opportunities, which add up over time. Second, what is your attitude to money? Are you generally risk averse? Does your fear of losing money override your desire to win it?

Are you willing to accept lower value for lower variance? Do you fear losing money 13 Risk neutrality is defined as an attitude where a dollar lost has exactly the same value to you as a dollar gained.

See chapter 3 for a more detailed explanation. If your opponents catch onto this, then they will start stealing pots from you at every opportunity. Bluffing is, for the most part, an overrated skill. Beginners tend to believe that bluffing is what poker is all about, when in fact playing solid poker and bluffing very little, if at all, is generally a far more prudent strategy at the lower limits. However, if you never or at least very rarely bluff, then you will become very predictable to observant players at the middle-to-high limits.

If you are playing scared, then you will tend to avoid trying bluffs, as they tend to be low- percentage plays in limit games or high-risk plays in big bet games. In general, you should prefer to be in a position where you are able to handle a large loss with merely a shrug of the shoulders. Some players are able to do this, but most can't.

The best most of us can hope for is that we keep our losses in perspective, remembering that moderate losses are inevitable in the short term. Remember, making the correct decision is making the choice that will earn you the most money in the long run.

If you focus on trying not to lose money, you are no longer trying to make the correct decision. Your decisions will now be made within the confines of damage control and decreased variance. You are costing yourself money as soon as you start giving up hands with positive expectation in order to decrease your variance. Poker is a game of small edges, and giving up situations with positive expectation can be enough to turn a winning player into a losing player. Hopefully you are smart enough not to sit down at the table with your entire bankroll or next month's rent money.

However, you can be playing scared even when you are not risking it all. Two factors tend to contribute to how likely you are to play scared: First, how strong is your bankroll? Have you been losing recently and are now past or dangerously close to the mark where your bankroll is no longer sufficient for the limit you are playing?

Have you recently moved up a limit and so your bankroll is now much smaller in terms of big bets?

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If any of these are true, then you will be more prone than usual to play scared. If so, then you have a problem, as these are not good attributes in a poker player. If you are unable to take a risk-neutral13 attitude to poker, then you would be better off either quitting the game or playing with a bankroll so large or at limits so low that the cash amounts concerned no longer mean anything to you.

Potentially, you could fall into a number of traps by playing scared: Not protecting your hand properly If you are scared of losing, you often will not bet your weak made hands enough, leaving yourself vulnerable to being outdrawn.

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You will try to lose less when you are outdrawn but with the penalty that you will get outdrawn more often. Not value betting your good hands enough Value betting is one of the most important skills in poker. It is a bet made that you hope will make money when your opponent calls with an inferior hand. Not value betting properly, because you are content to win a small pot rather than committing more money for a favorable return, is a huge leak.

It is especially common on the river, where you no longer have the incentive to protect your hand. Playing too tight If you are scared of losing money, then you may be reluctant to enter the pot without a very good hand, even when the hand figures to make a small profit. You effectively miss out on small profitable opportunities, which add up over time.

Second, what is your attitude to money? Are you generally risk averse? Does your fear of losing money override your desire to win it?

Are you willing to accept lower value for lower variance? Do you fear losing money 13 Risk neutrality is defined as an attitude where a dollar lost has exactly the same value to you as a dollar gained. See chapter 3 for a more detailed explanation. If your opponents catch onto this, then they will start stealing pots from you at every opportunity. Bluffing is, for the most part, an overrated skill. Beginners tend to believe that bluffing is what poker is all about, when in fact playing solid poker and bluffing very little, if at all, is generally a far more prudent strategy at the lower limits.

However, if you never or at least very rarely bluff, then you will become very predictable to observant players at the middle-to-high limits. If you are playing scared, then you will tend to avoid trying bluffs, as they tend to be low- percentage plays in limit games or high-risk plays in big bet games. In general, you should prefer to be in a position where you are able to handle a large loss with merely a shrug of the shoulders.

Some players are able to do this, but most can't. The best most of us can hope for is that we keep our losses in perspective, remembering that moderate losses are inevitable in the short term. The important thing is that you don't let fear of losing adversely affect your play. Obviously, as you move through the limits, it gets harder and harder to take some of the cash amounts you can lose in stride.

This is equivalent to a couple of months' rent or maybe even a month's wages for some people.

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You can't really teach someone how to be insensitive to money. This is something you have to learn by yourself.

As previously stated, some people are just too risk averse by nature to ever be able to achieve this. Regardless, there are three things that will help you desensitize yourself to money.

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Chapter 2 - The Poker Mindset 33 Experience - The more you play, the more you will get used to the cash amounts involved and the less they will affect you. Always be sure to play within your risk-tolerance limit and bankroll.

As you build a bankroll to try and move up limits, work on your risk-tolerance also. Remember, you are never required to move up limits if it is too uncomfortable for you to do so.

Leave Your Ego at the Door Watch poker on TV, play in your local card room, or even play online, and you will be amazed at the number of poker players who have seemingly huge egos.

You will see players boasting about their skills, berating the play of others, boasting about their jobs or salary, and taking the most innocuous action as a personal insult.

If you are serious about winning money, you should leave your ego at the door when you sit down to play poker. Your ego can lead you into all kinds of trouble at the poker table. Remember that the goal in poker is to make the correct decision at the table, the one that will win you the most money on average. You introduce a new goal when you bring your ego to the table. You now want to make the most money you can while keeping your ego intact.

This new goal might result in you making a different decision than you would have made otherwise, nearly always a worse one. In effect, your ego is eating into or possibly even negating your winnings. Your ego may lead you into several traps at the table, the following eight being the most common: 1. You might call bets that you shouldn't. Psychologically, folding is like surrendering, which is equated with defeat. In an ego-fueled game, folding can seem extremely unattractive, especially if the pot is big and especially if you think there is a chance you have the best hand.

When contemplating calling a bet, the questions going through your mind should be things like: What is the probability I am ahead? If I am behind, what are the chances of drawing out? Am I getting the correct pot odds to make the call? What is the likelihood that my opponent is bluffing? Undue influence from your ego may lead you to consider irrelevant factors and think irrelevant thoughts such as: Will I look like a coward if I fold?

Will I look stupid if I fold and he shows a bluff? I don't want to let him get one up on me! The result is that you will often call when analysis and probabilities dictate you should fold. Chapter 2 - The Poker Mindset 33 2. You might allow a personal feud to cloud or override your judgment.

Poker is by nature a confrontational game. Every dollar you win comes out of the pocket of one of your opponents and vice-versa. It is only natural that conflicts arise and players start to hold a grudge ugainst one or more of their opponents. This usually occurs when one player has lost a large sum of money to another player, especially if some or all of that was due to bad beats. The losing player wants to get the winner back, show him who's boss, or make him look bad.

The unfortunate result is that you might let a grudge lead you into bad decisions. You may also be paying so much attention to one opponent that you are giving insufficient attention to the other players at the table.

You are likely to try too hard to get even. One of the reasons you might try to do this is because of ego. Nothing hurts a player's ego like leaving a game with less money than he sat down with.

It can seem like an admission that the game has beaten him, and that he would have been better off not playing. In a live game especially, it can be a bad feeling to have to stand up in front of the other eight or nine players, shove what remains of your stack into a rack, and leave — an admission of defeat of sorts.

So some players don't. They will stubbornly keep playing in the hope that they can at least get back to even and salvage some pride. Unfortunately, their play may deteriorate as they try to make more and more speculative plays in order to get their money back, and their concentration falls as they get tired or bored. The more they lose, the more they will want to try to win at least some of their money back.

It is a vicious circle that could have been 32 The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success avoided if their ego had allowed them to walk away after losing a comparatively small amount. Action Point: Set a fixed amount that would represent a moderate loss in the game you play. This might be 25 big bets for a limit player or two download-ins for a no-limit player.

The next few times you lose that amount at the table, stop playing. This achieves little from a poker perspective but will get you Chapter 2 - The Poker Mindset 33 The reverse is also true. Sometimes players will be embarrassed when they misplay a hand or try something that doesn't work.

To try to minimize their embarrassment, they will do everything not to have to show down their hand. This may include folding to bets they should call or even folding to no bet on the end. Some players go even further and are reluctant to bluff in the first place because they are afraid that it might look like a stupid play if they're caught.

Embarrassment is the flip side of ego, and it also needs to be eliminated from your game.

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Hesides, your bonehead play might have great advertising value! You might play in games you can't beat. Poker is only profitable in the long term when you play against players who are worse than you.

As the popular poker saying goes, even the 10 th best player in the world will lose money in the long term if he insists on playing with the nine who are better. Players with big egos do not like admitting that they are outclassed, even to themselves. As a result, they may play in games that they simply can't beat. In the same way, if a game they are playing in suddenly gets bad due to the weak players leaving, for example , they will stick around convinced that they can still beat the game, even if a better game is available elsewhere.

You might make plays to impress your opponents. Sometimes you will be tempted to make plays that look good even if they have little chance of working. For example, you might try a raise on the river as a bluff or a check-raise on the flop with a weak hand.

That is not to say that these plays don't have their place, but you should only make them for the right reasons. You might not drop down a limit when you should. One of the most humbling things a poker player will have to do is to drop down limits. It is something nearly all players hate to do because it is an indication of failure to beat the level you are at, at least in the short term. Nobody likes to play in a game that they consider beneath them, especially in a live casino where their peers may see them at that game and realize they are running bad.

The fact is that you must drop down limits when you are no longer bankrolled to play at higher limits. Otherwise, you might be risking your entire bankroll to pander to your ego.

There should be no shame in making a move that will protect your bankroll and ensure your long-term profitability. You could inadvertently give away Information to your opponents.

You will repeatedly see players demonstrating their knowledge of the game at the poker table. If your opponents are weak, then it doesn't pay to advertise yourself as the table predator.

On the other hand, if your opponents are strong players, you would like them to view you as a weak player in the hope they play incorrectly against you as a result. So why do players feel the need to demonstrate their knowledge?

Part of it might be to fill the silence between hands and to be social, but a large proportion of it is ego.

Subconsciously or otherwise, poker players want their fellow players to look up to them as a good player. Most think they are good players, and they want everyone else to think so, too, even if it affects their win rate in the long term. If you give away information about how you play particular hands, then that is even worse! Do you want to broadcast to the better players at the table that you will lay down top pair to a raise on the turn, or that you will raise a flush draw on the flop?

Unknown to them, players who bring their ego to the table may be giving their opponents the tools to beat them. You might scare away players who you would rather stay.

Of course, the nasty end of this verbal posturing is when decent but egotistical players berate and belittle other players for what they perceive as bad play. This is not only unpleasant, but is also completely asinine from a poker point of view. Poor players should be nurtured and cherished. Poor players make poker profitable for winning players and less costly for average players.

When players are chastised, it is quite common to see them simply leave the game. Weak players generally play the game for fun, and it is no longer fun when they are being publicly embarrassed and ridiculed. Obviously, it is a bad situation when a poor player leaves the table, because the average strength of your opponents increases, especially at the higher limits where weak players are harder to come by.

However, this is the risk that some people take just to satisfy their ego. Chapter 2 - The Poker Mindset 33 I. Possessing and even flaunting your ego will not preclude you from being a winning player, provided you don't let it influence your decisions. In fact, some quite well-known players arc renowned for the size of their egos.

However, for the cash game player especially, your ego may be eating into your win rate. You have probably not heard of many of the very best cash game players.

They play in high-limit games in casinos and on the Internet, quietly winning huge amounts of money. If you spoke to one of these players, he would probably be very modest about his success and might even deny he wins at all. These players understand that their win rate is far more important than their ego. Forget about what other players think of you, because it simply isn't important.

Online players especially can be fairly secure in the knowledge that they will never meet their opponents except at the table. Use the effort you would put into bolstering your ego in more productive ventures. Focus on your own game and on making the best decisions rather than worrying about what your opponents think of you. If an opponent puts a bad beat on you, instead of trying to get even, make a note of how he played the hand and use that knowledge to your advantage later. If you are stuck for the session and are getting tired, leave and come back tomorrow.

After all, does it really matter when you get even, provided you are a winner in the long run?Setting Goals 59 3. Leave Your Ego at the Door Watch poker on TV, play in your local card room, or even play online, and you will be amazed at the number of poker players who have seemingly huge egos. You are costing yourself money as soon as you start giving up hands with positive expectation in order to decrease your variance.

In the short term, pretty much anything can happen; bad players can win and good players can lose. Cryptocurrency missionary. This includes any: non-relevant posts to poker, shilling your news site, shilling your YouTube channel,excessive shit-posting, and continuing to post content after you've been specifically warned not to by the mod team. As you play more and more hands of poker, the chances of you being extremely lucky or extremely unlucky decrease. Although there is the possibility that he was on a subtle form of tilt and had started to play it badly after a while.

One of the worst possible scenarios for a short-term player is losing his winnings, even if he loses it playing good poker.

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