How Envy Rots the Bones (And Also Makes You a Terrible Poker Player)

TAGs: poker player

Lee Davy talks about a cash game hand that made him realize that his life contains too much envy, and how that affects, not only his poker game, but also his life in a general sense. 

How Envy Rots the Bones (And Also Makes You a Terrible Poker Player)I played my first cash game session last night. It was a $1/3 No-Limit Hold’em game in the Rio. I only had $300 in my pocket, meaning only one opportunity to make a bit of money.

I don’t have a very good cash game mindset. I always sit down with the belief that I am going to lose. There are other thoughts that infiltrate my mind that affects my game. Only having $300 in my pocket is one, wanting to win for my backer is another, and a desperate urge to win completes the trio of terrible thoughts.

I played a total of four hands. I was in and out quicker than a teenage boy facing his first hymen. I was staring at a KK9 flop, in a single raised pot, and I was holding KQ. There was $15 in the pot pre flop. For some reason I thought I could get $600 in it by the river. My plan worked, but I didn’t leave with any money. My opponent held K9.

I sent a text to my wife to tell her that I was done. This created a sense of shame. It’s important to me that my wife views me as a winner. Then I sent a text to my friend. I needed reassurance that I hadn’t done anything wrong, and it was just bad luck. I got exactly what I needed.

But the hand bothered me. I sent a text to another friend, who is a professional poker player, and he told me that I had butchered the hand. Inadequacy joined shame. By now I was feeling pretty shitty.

My mind whirred.

“Why do I always lose?”

“Why do I always flop the KQ, and someone else always flops the K9?”

“Why did he win that hand and not me? I am better than him.”

“Why does everyone else win money playing cash, and I don’t?”

“Why do I see so many people getting lucky? Why aren’t I ever lucky?”

“I do all of the right things, why is the universe punishing me this way?”

I went home watched the season finale of Game of Thrones, and woke up this morning with a fresh perspective.


It was all about envy.

I envied the man who held K9. I wanted to be him. I envy writers when they get to interview people who turn me down. I envy articles that are celebrated, when mine are ignored. I envy poker players when I am stood by their side recording their hands. In short, I envy quite a lot of people.

What happens next is very important. Now I have recognized that envy is a part of my make up, do I continue unabated, or do I change? I choose the latter option. I don’t want a life of envy. I want a life of gratitude. I don’t think I’m alone.

During a recent interview with Patrick Leonard. We discussed a blog post that he wrote after losing a crucial hand to Dan Smith in the €25k High Roller at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Leonard was so affected by his emotional state after the hand, that he immediately wrote about it. He poured his raw emotions out on paper, and it contained elements of envy.

For a brief moment in Leonard’s life, he wanted to be like his peers. He wanted to be as good as them, as lucky as them, and as respected as them. For a brief moment in Leonard’s life he experienced envy, and he didn’t like the taste. That’s why he wrote what he did. Some people will view it as weakness. I view it as a cry for help. An internal kick up the ass that propelled him into action. By writing about his thoughts, he laid bare his envious roots, and he would now feel compelled to take action to cut those fuckers to ribbons.

Here’s the rub.

If you are going to live a fulfilled life, then you are going to have to learn what your purpose is. Why were you born? What do you exist for? What is it that you are on this earth to accomplish?

My life purpose is to help people find happiness and freedom through affordable and accessible help, support and advice; gifts that I will help them pass to others.

This is very important to me.

If I envy others then I will not be able to achieve this purpose. My purpose is my GPS system, and when envy appears in my life, it throws me off course. I always end up with a bloodied nose crashing into an air bag.

Everyone in this world is unique. The saying: ‘they broke the mould with you’ is nonsense. There are over 7 billion different moulds. There are over 7 billion different life purposes. If you believe that you have a life purpose then why the fuck does it matter what someone else is doing? That’s their life purpose, not yours. You cannot live someone else’s life for them. I have tried that. It ended in divorce, and a lot of tears.

The advent of social media means we are privy to the lives of others like never before. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram create biased views of fairytale existences. We stare like a zombie as our finger trawls through the private lives of another. The women want to be the woman at the top of the castle, and the guys want to be the guy who climbs up her hair, and gives her one for the team.

Social media is a celebration of the good side of life. It’s rare that someone bares their soul, and shares their sadness, and deep inner thoughts. Social media is more lipstick and eyeliner. When we see, we don’t know what we really see.

I have a friend who is a fixture in my local home game. Some of the other players in the game envy him. He doesn’t have to work, he has plenty of money, and he always seems to win whether it be poker or roulette.

What they don’t care to notice is that my friend has plenty of money because he lost his wife through cancer, that he has to live with that loss every day of his life, and that he is in constant back and neck pain, reducing his ability to do anything he wants.

Envy is a biased bitch.

When you fall into the envy trap, you are telling yourself that you are not good enough. This is not a road you want to tread. It’s one that is covered in dog shit. There will be no way of walking down that route without getting the knife out and picking it out over the kitchen sink.

If you believe that someone’s life is better than yours, then you are saying yours is not good enough. This can have a devastating affect in your ability to function in society. It can create sadness, a lack of belief and depression.

Envy is also an eater of time. It devours it. Whilst you are spending your life hoping that you can be someone else, you are way of course. It will stop you achieving your dreams, and before you know it, you will be 80-years old, receiving visits from kids who don’t want to be there, and shitting into a plastic bag attached to your hip.

So this is what I told myself this morning, and I hope you can do the same.

Stop comparing yourself to others!

I know this is tough. We have been conditioned from birth to envy others. Brothers want more love than their sisters, friends want better Christmas presents that friends, teenagers want to taste the juices of their other friends conquests.

But we have a choice. We can choose to act differently. We can choose to rejoice in our achievements, celebrate our success, and be comfortable with who we are and what we have. Being the best that you can be is tough enough. Trying to be someone else is insane.

When I cashed in the Colossus the other day I celebrated my success with my friends through social media. Try and learn to celebrate the success of others through the same forum. Instead of asking the universe to give you the K9 hand, ask the universe to send some love and support to someone else in the world.

We often envy those closest to us: friends will envy friends, siblings envy siblings, writers envy writers and poker players envy poker players. Raise awareness of this. Turn envy into gratitude. Be grateful that you are who you are, and that the people who surround you are who they are.

Thinking that having more will create greater happiness is a crock of shit. Unfortunately, not many people realize this until they experience more. For the rest of us we only have the experience of others. Listen to them. Learn from them. Happiness is a choice. If you can’t be happy with what you have, then you will never be happy by having more. Life doesn’t work that way.

A wise person once said: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

I don’t want my bones to rot.

Do you?


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