By: Kent Anderson


You're lucky seat six. If I'd have played my hand I would have flopped the nuts. Damn! I knew I should have played. Yep, I would have flopped the boat. We've all said it and have definitely heard it. Yesterday I heard something like this four times in an hour; folks lamenting their failure to play some long shot hand, out of position that would have been the nuts.


The father of a good friend of mine used to say, "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, everyday would be Christmas." In life and at the table it is counterproductive to look in the rearview mirror. Whatever happened or didn't happen can't be changed. Looking back distracts you from concentrating on the present, which is all anyone can affect. I know it's human nature and instinctual on some level, fine, but we can control our thoughts and focus with a little discipline . Try thinking about what you can do. Regardless of the flop, turn or river, once you fold the hand is over.


The water has passed beneath the bridge. Instead of thinking about what would have been; go to school on your opponents. Use your energy to observe the game. What kind of raises are players making? What hands do you think they're on? What are they saying? This is one of the most valuable opportunities to gather information and a lot of people squander it worrying about things that can't be changed.


Royal FlushThe eastern philosopher and guru Ram Das was referring to life in general when he said, "Be here now, be now here." This advice however, will never lead you astray at the table. The goal is to be present and fully engaged each moment. If you can tune out the distractions, like that abhorrent suck out just perpetrated against you or that missed opportunity when you passively checked instead of bet, you will be more likely to make good decisions and play well. We've all seen the player who goes on tilt following a big beat and ends up losing even more chips. Let it go my friends. Conversely I believe the same holds true for big hands that you win. Your successes can be just as big a distraction and debilitating. Don't let your big hands inflate your ego and take you out of the game. Blowing it there can be even worse as there is more loot at stake.


All any of us have at the table is right now. What's past is finished and the future is unknown. An entire session can come down to a singular moment where you utilize the information you've gathered to pick off a bluff or set an elegant trap. The bad beats and good fortune will offset one another. Over time your edge will come from being present. Until next time...

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