I played cards for a few years, and I quite enjoyed it. I don't play any more, but sometimes a lesson I learned comes back to me.
There's one writer on poker I learned a tremendous amount from. His name's Mike Caro, and he was one of the first people taking serious interest in the psychology of poker. He wrote a famous book called "Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells", which is excellent and highly recommended. The basic premise is that people act strong when weak and weak when strong. So if you hear a very little sigh when someone is betting, almost like they're sad, then they've probably got a strong hand. If they're pushing the chips forwards with a little extra force when betting, they're probably bluffing.
This was all very fascinating to me, I loved learning that kind of thing. I'd recommend Caro's Book of Tells to anyone, regardless if you play cards or not. But he also has written quite a bit on self-psychology and discipline in poker. Today I recalled one of Caro's general principles:
Caro’s Threshold of Misery suggests that once you move beyond the maximum you expected you could lose, you stop feeling any more pain, and you’re in danger of damaging yourself further by making weak decisions.
I teach that you’re supposed to keep right on playing well, even after you cross that threshold. You’ve got to remind yourself that even though things don’t seem to matter now, there will come a time when they do matter. So, make good decisions. Maybe right now it doesn’t seem to matter a lick whether you lose $4,495 or $4,125, but there will come a time when that $370 matters again. Always play poker as if that time is now. That’s important and I’ll repeat it. There will come a time when that $370 matters again and you should play poker as if that time is now. - Poker1.com
The Threshold of Misery is when things are so bad, you don't care if they get gradually worse. Dangerous place to be.
I overslept twice this morning. I was set up to get up after 4 hours and jump all over the day, but then overslept... when I got up the second time, I was disappointed, I said, "Ah, screw it, I already missed my schedule" - and went back to sleep again. Similar to the threshold of misery. I try to remember - it might not matter now, but it will matter later.
Anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend Caro's Book of Tells - even if you don't play cards, it has huge value for understanding other people and yourself. It's a fast, enjoyable read too. Highly recommended: