“They’d be even greater.”

Dear reader,

In this excerpt from Painless Poker, I am lecturing about good posture at poker.


“Hey!” said Charlie. “I think I might have just toggled myself. In Elements of Poker you said something like, If your hands are on your face, you should lower your hands, or raise your face, or both. I just caught myself leaning my head on my hand. That’s a mindfulness toggle, right?”

“Big time,” I said. “I go over this with every client, even online-only players. I ask them to sit with an elbow on the table and lean their face on their hand, and I take their picture. Then I ask them to sit up, with both hands on the table, and their torso exposed, and I take another picture. We look at the pictures and I ask, Which one of these guys would you rather play against?”

Mr. Lee did both things. He leaned his head on his hand, then sat back up.

“The players who look the most fearless,” I said, “are the ones with their hands low, like Mohammed Ali. But this isn’t just about looking good. It’s also about efficiency. When your hands are on the table, you are in position to bet or check with minimum motion.”

Mr. Lee and Charlie assumed their positions to test this out.

“This practice also serves as training for better focus, stamina, and presence, because you are noticing what you are doing, and consciously changing it.”

Alf said, “On television, one sees expert players demonstrating what you would call losing posture. How do you explain their success?”

“I didn’t call it losing posture, Alfonzo. I mean, if everybody plays bad, somebody still has to win, right?”

It took a second for that to register with Charlie. “To Alf’s point, Tommy, these guys on TV have won tens of millions. They’re the greatest there is!”

“And if they sat up straight more often, they’d be even greater.”
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