It seems that when Phil Galfond speaks the entire poker world listens. Over the past year Galfond, one of the absolute legends in the online poker world, has been posting lengthy blogs regarding different aspects of the poker world. All of these posts have been well thought-out and enlightening, and perhaps none more so than his most recent entry on Poker and Life, where he talks about a variety of different issues ranging from happiness, to goals, to the future of poker as a career.
Galfond’s post was designed to answer reader’ questions he had received, and as Galfond put it: “Many of the stories I got made [me] so glad that I asked for questions because there are people who I feel are poised to make a poor decision that will have a major effect on their life.”
The blog post has been well-received around the poker world, and has been retweeted by the likes of Daniel Negreanu and other top-names in the poker world, and as always Galfond is open and honest in his assessment making the blog a powerful tale of both hope and warning for aspiring poker players.
Galfond’s blog begins with talk of how to mull-over decisions, and not look at decisions as right or wrong (especially based on the result):
“I think it’s important, when making big decisions, that you first realize that there is often no “right” answer (in my opinion). Or there is one, but it may not end up turning out “right.” What I mean is, all you can hope to do is to make the best decision you can given the information you have right now. I say this for no reason other than to remind you that you can’t beat yourself up later on if you feel you made the “wrong” decision, and you can’t hesitate to make a decision out of fear of it being the “wrong” one.”
But perhaps the most poignant part of the blog was when the topic turned to happiness, or perceived happiness. Galfond explains how he has rethought the way he views happiness, and how to weigh happiness with… Happiness! As Galfond explains it:
“What I used to think I was doing was sacrificing happiness/contentment/peace of mind for EV (aka money).
“What I now realize is that I’m sacrificing happiness for… happiness! Once I made this realization (recently), I started seeing how much happier I could be in my day to day life by sacrificing some EV. I used to feel like I HAD to work hard, and I was doing the “right” thing by maximizing my earn rate rather than being my happiest. It almost felt like a duty… like it was honorable. But now when faced with a decision of making a sacrifice in happiness for more $EV in poker, I’m no longer comparing apples to oranges. I’m choosing apples (happiness) or apples (happiness). So really, all I need to do is decide what (which apple) will make me more happy (apple).
“Recently, I’ve realized that a lot of stress is the worst thing for my happiness, so I’m making efforts to minimize stress, even at the cost of $EV. (Playing while in better moods will probably gain me some EV back anyways)”
These are just two snippets from a very lengthy post (tl;dr in poker forum parlance), but despite the length of the post this is one that anyone who is struggling with a poker decision, or even just a difficult life decision should read.
You can read the entire blog post at Phil Galfond’s personal website: http://www.philgalfond.com/poker-and-your-life/
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