Bodog Ari

I'm Ari Engel and am also known as BodogAri online. I've played poker for a living for virtually my entire post-college life. In the last few years I have started teaching people my style and philosophy on poker tournaments. Many of them have done very well. If you are interested in getting my help, email:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dealing with pain in Poker

The nature of proper tournament strategy is such that you should be experiencing the "pains" of poker, much more often than the joys. (Playing a 500 person tournament, even if you are double as good as the average player, you should only win it 1/250.) Even highly successful players are not immune to this, so the sooner you/I realize the daily fustrations of tournament play will never go away the better it is. In my 1500+ tourneys on Stars, (where I have been highly succesful) I have suffered streaks of 15 or more straight out of the money finishes on 20 occasions. I once went 38 straight tournaments without cashing. On the flip side, I have never cashed in 4 tournaments in a row.

Getting used to all this losing is very very very very very hard. In fact, I'm not sure I ever will. And there is no doubt that negatively effects my other results. I have gotten better, but am always looking for new tips in dealing with the constant losing- while winning.


Blogger Benjamin said...

well we both know the simplest solution for that :)

But otherwise I'll usually play just 1 or 2 low-stakes SNG at a time, and immediately cash out the profit from them - usually makes me feel better.

On an unrelated note, man do I miss the summer in vegas. :)

2:38 PM  
Blogger eliahu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:37 PM  
Blogger IC_BrokePPL said...

Bro don't worry about the pain. Pain is good. Pain lets us know we're human. Pain should remind you of how much you adore poker. Pain shows our passion for this fantastic game.

If you were some hoser, that felt the pain, and let it effect your game on a consistent basis and were hemorrhaging money every day at the tables, and had become a losing player because of it, this might be a different conversation.

The fact is, though, you're a dynamo at the table, and losing for you generally doesn't mean you donked off, or tilted off your chips. (I'm sure it happens sometimes) You usually get your money in good, and play fantastic poker, and THAT'S what's important as you know.

The point is, that the pain doesn't effect your game to the point where you're suddenly playing like a mule every time you sit down. If it did, your pokerdb would NOT look like it does, trust me.

Therefore, I say embrace the pain, use it, and understand that many times, "poker pain" is your brain saying "what can I learn from this?"

Pain means something went wrong in a hand, a tournament, etc. Whether it was your fault or the other guys good play, or just a bad beat, you can always learn from it. So when you feel the pain. use it, learn from it.

Chan, Daniel, Ivey, Brunson, Unger, Flack, The Grinder etc etc, ALL feel/felt poker pain, and those guys have a blatant disregard for money! They're some of the best players since the playing card was invented. They feel pain cause the are competitive and passionate not to mention human.

I grew up in the suberbe of Chicago, and lived 2 miles from Michael Jordan. I watched every game the guy ever played. I'm here to tell you, Michael Jordan felt more pain in his losses that anyone I've ever seen in sports, and that's not a coincidence. It's because he was the most passionate athlete to ever step on any playing surface. Pain is NOT a bad thing.

A long as you can control it. Pain is GOOD!

Oddly enough pain can make our victories taste sweeter too, because we have something to contrast our happiness with.

Pain, in my opinion, both in poker and in life, are all about our passion and love for the game bro. There's nothing wrong with it. Fighting it makes it worse.

If however, you do find someone, who can tell you that he/she never feels pain in poker, and NEVER lets it effect them, I beg you to tell me about him/her. But in my opinion, the only guy I've ever seen like that is Hannible Lectur from the Silence of the Lambs, and they don't allow poker at his mental institution.

Own it.


8:14 AM  
Blogger BodogAri said...

ty ic broke, very informative

9:53 AM  
Blogger IC_BrokePPL said...

No sweat Ari. A mutual friend told me to come to your blog because I too had been running bad and was getting a little frustrated. Now I saw you're into politics as well. Don't even get me started on politics as I could type all day about it.

Our president, who I call "Smirk" because of that little smile on his face every time he lies to the American public, has sickened me from the beginning. SMIRK literally, and illegally stole an election to get into office in the first place, and has done nothing but BS the public about this war for years.

Smirk's taken our constitutional rights away, by drafting the patriot act (which if you haven't read, you really should") Along with Rove and Chaney, Smirk took us to war based on lies, faked CIA intel, and greed. It makes me sick.

Nothing like fixing an election, destroying the environment, and starting a quagmire in the middle east to have as your legacy. But like I said, don't get me started on Smirk and politics.

By the way, what's going on in Darfur has become a big issue with me and is really kinda touching my soul lately. We need to get them more aid big time.


9:40 AM  
Blogger groosman said...

Great post Ari! Reminds me that I need to read your blog more.

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