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This Will Happen
I found a great profile of 2005 WSOP Main Event finalist Andy Black in a most unusual place: The Wildmind Buddhist Meditation blog. I guess it’s not that unusual a place to see Andy show up, considering the man once took 5 years off of the game to go live in a Buddhist Order.
The profile tries reconcile two sides of Andy’s life: his Buddhist nature, which preaches the abandonment of worldly attachments, and his Poker nature, which preaches deception and manipulation in the pursuit of those same attachments. Black, as is expected from such an outwardly complex personality, seems at peace with his pursuits. ”Returning to poker,” he says, “I feel that this is really my life. I’ll be honest: I’m obsessed by it, but that obsession brings a lot of focus, which you need in order to excel at anything. If I bring my spiritual training, I believe this can be a powerful arena for practice.”
There’s also a great bit here which offers anyone so caught up in the competition of the game that they let their anger out a bit of advice on how to deal with your opponents:
Sometimes people try to upset you by being aggressive and insulting. I will say, ’There’s no need for that.’ The next stage is to say, ‘Is this doing you any good?’ If there is the slightest element of judgment in me, it doesn’t work. I have to connect with the person, and not come from a higher position. I have to genuinely feel ‘I’m concerned that this is doing you no good.’ when I do connect with people in that way, i see their relief that they don’t have to be like this.
It occurs to me that there are many poker players I know — myself included — who could do worse than to read that last paragraph before every time they sit down at a poker table.