Only optimists play poker. Why would a pessimist even bother? There would be no point in even trying. After all, poker is a game that’s all about winning. Gambling is all about winning. And a serious gambler (or an amateur who takes the game seriously) is always on the lookout for a new technique which could stack the odds in their favor.
Now I had a funny experience a few weeks back. I’m a hypnotherapist and I sell a lot of mp3 downloads from my website. I had an e-mail from a would-be customer asking why I sold cds for winning poker and not for winning at the dog races…Interesting concept.
Now my mind began to work overtime on this one. The initial image which sprang to mind was all these dogs being hypnotized to win their race!! Or perhaps I was to hypnotize our would-be gambler so that he could cast spells upon the dogs to ensure a particular one did in fact win.Unable to see the feasibility in either of these, my next thought was to re-read the e-mail to check I’d read it correctly. Perhaps, I thought, he was asking why I had a cd designed to assist in stopping playing poker, and not to stop other forms of gambling; Which made me check the title of the cd in question – it is “stop gambling”, so no, this latest interpretation of the e-mail wasn’t possible, and in any case he had clearly asked the question as I had first read it.
Back to square one. What could he be getting at? In what way could you use hypnosis to assist someone in winning at the dog races? You could help someone stay calm and think clearly and therefore make better decisions. That’s more than possible. But would this be relevant? Perhaps. You could help someone to have a cutoff point at which they stopped once they reached that circumstance, thereby assisting in either quitting whilst ahead, or quitting before losing too much.
We got into a bit of an e-mail exchange, and this person’s query seemed to stem from the belief that you could learn to have a better “feel” for picking the winner. I have to admit that I wasn’t completely sold on the concept, although I’m open to being proven wrong. I still don’t quite know how you could hypnotize someone to get such a feel.
Now, with poker, it’s very different. It’s a very mental and emotional game, and assistance can be given in terms of increased concentration, better focus, remaining calm, making good reads and therefore good decisions, in picking up the unconscious cues of the other players whilst controlling your own unconscious behavior, and so on. And so for serious poker players, hypnosis can do more than just a little to help you. You might have seen Derren Brown on UK TV where in one week he assisted a non poker playing lady of fairly “advanced “ years (i.e. the most unlikely subject he could find) with hypnosis, and she subsequently beat several seasoned pros!
Returning to this e-mail exchange, I came to the conclusion that he was simply looking for every possible edge, be it credible or otherwise….and simply displaying the ever present optimistic nature of a gambler.