In this week’s episode of Pokerography, Lee Davy pulls five little nuggets out of the Paul Arden Classic: It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be
This is a gem of a book.
You will read it by the time you have finished the morning poo.
It carries more excitement than a miniskirt on a blustery day.
What follows is Part 1 of a multi-part look at what Paul Arden’s little book of booty can teach you about poker.
You get this one for free:
“Nearly all rich and powerful people are not notably talented, educated, charming or good looking. They become rich and powerful by wanting to be rich and powerful.” – Paul Arden
1. So How Good Do You Want to Be?
People often talk about the talents of Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, or Phil Hellmuth, but rarely mention ambition.
“Talent helps, but it won’t take you as far as ambition.” Paul Arden
When you discover you have a talent for poker, it can quickly go to your head. You win more money in a night than your mate does in a month. Suddenly, you see a life where you don’t have to work. If you live in the UK, you don’t even have to pay tax.
What a life!
So you dive head first into it, and you win, and win, and win, and then the wheels on the bus stop going round and round all day long. There are no wheels on the bus. The bus is sitting on top of four sets of breeze blocks.
Everyone wants to be the best, but very few have the balls to make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. Ivey, Negreanu, Hellmuth – they all made those sacrifices. They wanted it so badly that it possessed their soul through the night and day until poker was a part of their DNA.
In the book, Paul Arden points to Victoria Beckham as an example. When she was younger, the future wife of David said she wanted to be bigger than Persil Automatic. It didn’t matter how good she was. All that mattered was how good she wanted to be. She didn’t want to be bigger than Tina Turner. She wanted to be bigger than washing up detergent.
Talent or ambition?
“You will become whoever you want to become.” Paul Arden.
2. Don’t Seek Praise; Seek Criticism
Professional poker players will always tell you they got lucky. But deep down they think they are the best thing since Doctors learned that germs killed people and not the smell of posies.
Getting approval is easy. We all know who to go to for a little Swedish head massage for the ego. We sit down with our coach and pull out our winning hands. We talk about bad beats, suck outs, and the fish who we should have fried but got lucky.
But that’s not going to make us get any better.
Try this out for size.
Find someone better than you and ask them how you can improve. Ask them how to make your game better? Ask them to poke you in the eye with the white glove of truth.
“Ask, What’s wrong with it?” Paul Arden.
3. It’s All my Fault
Jack Canfield said: always take 100% responsibility for your actions.
Paul Arden goes one step further. He believes if you have touched anything then take 100% responsibility for it. In poker, this means the game. The deck, the dealer, the other nine players, the chairs, the dirty table top resplendent with nail clippings and pubes.
Never blame anybody else for what happens at the poker table. If you start getting involved in that shit, you will never be in a position to do something about it now, will you?
4. Do Not Covet Your Ideas
I learned to be a Roster Clerk under the tutelage of a man they called The Godfather. I will always remember the one piece of advice that he gave me:
“Never teach someone 100% of what you know. Always keep something back to give you an edge.”
Paul Arden takes a different approach.
“Give everything you know, and more will come back to you.” Paul Arden.
Charity and poker are striking a pose, lately. Poker players are doing a lot of good donating a percentage of their income to reduce suffering in the world.
But what about a different form of service?
Why not focus on giving away your poker knowledge? It seems insane to give away all of your secrets, but once you empty the tank, you can now fill it.
“Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership.” Paul Arden.
5. Don’t Look For The Next Opportunity
James Altucher calls it time travelling; the times when we place mindfulness and Eckhart Tolle into the trash next to our cynical attitude.
Paul Arden wants you to focus on the thing that’s in front of you.
“Whatever is on your desk right now, that’s the one. Make it the best you possibly can.” Paul Arden
Your desk is the poker table.
Small stakes? Who cares? You should. If that’s the game you are sitting in, then that’s all that matters. Do not think about the World Series of Poker (WSOP), bracelet bets, and the high stakes games.
It may not be the best game in the world, but at least you will leave knowing you did the best you could. You have threaded more myelin around the learning gear. You have moved one step closer to being interviewed by Sarah Herring while standing on a shoebox.
You can buy a copy of Paul Arden’s fab book, right here: