Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby talbot49 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:55 pm

Hi,

I'm a 19 years old french canadian(sorry for my bad english) poker player and I have questions related to vipassana. I saw a similar topic where a poker player kinda ruined our reputation by asking idiot questions, saying he was making millions and ended up saying he was broke. I am really serious about poker, I never went broke at all, I am talented and always had some good bankroll management. I started playing poker when I was 18 and I made 20k of profit that year by playing part-time while being at highschool. So, I decided to play full time this year before I go to UNI, in order to save the more money I can. The thing is I never had the attitude that a poker player should have when he is playing, by that I mean only focus on the things you can control (always take the better decisions you can), and don't mind about the rest (luck side of poker).. It always end up being in your way anyway (if you are a good winning player, obviously). I was kinda getting pissed off when I was losing and being really happy when I won, and kept that attitude for thousands of hours of play. As a result, I am not really comfortable when I sit in front of my computer to play poker now, like I was before. I should be playing ALOT this year but I feel really bad when I play and I try to have a good attitude but it doesnt change much.

So, my hypothesis is the following: I have accumulated alot of sankharas in the last 2 years and now I have so much sankharas that my body is revolting when I play, and that's why I am not able to play for a long time like I was before.

I did a vipassana retreat this summer and altough it was a really tough retreat, I did it correctly and I think in the last days some sankharas were dissolving, I was really equanimous and at the end of a couple of a couple of meditations I really felt like ive got rid of alot of bad stuff, and was feeling really good. But I didnt keep practicing vipassana after that.

My question is: Do you think it would be a good idea to go on another vipassana retreat, and keep practicing 2 hours a day, while before I play poker and after? I think that by doing that I could get rid of alot of the sankharas that are coming the the surface while a play poker.

When I was doing vipassana, at the end of the day there was speeches and in one of them there was a story of a guy who was a scientist who was making nuclear bombs or something like that and he wasnt able to do his job anymore because he was feeling too bad. He discovered vipassanna, kept doing it and finally was able to work in peace again. I tought it was kind of the same problem I have, in much bigger obviously :D

Anyway thanks for reading guys and thanks for giving me your thoughts on that !
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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby talbot49 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:03 pm

There is my graph since I am playing "professionnaly"

[img][IMG]http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/4123/talbot49.png[/img]

Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/img]

If I was feeling better while playing I could play those 2000 games in like 20 days, like alot of players I know do, or even faster.

But I actually made those in like 2-3 months...
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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby talbot49 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:46 pm

The reason why I think vipassana could help me with poker is because I tried to be aware of my sensations while I was playing and I gotta admit I felt good playing while doing this. The thing is after like one hour, since I didnt pratice vipassana for months now, i begin to worry more about the poker and I lost my equanimity. The sensations become to hurtfull for me to be equanimous so I just stop being aware of them and obviously from that point it's just getting worst and worst. I do practice something which is pretty similar to vipassana though in the evening, a body scan my jon kabba-zin. It's like a mix of anapana and vipassana and after a couple of hours I succeed in being equanimous to my sensations and feel good again. If I don't do that after a poker day, I am not feeling really good and I don't sleep well.
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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby Ben » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:19 pm

talbot49 wrote:My question is: Do you think it would be a good idea to go on another vipassana retreat, and keep practicing 2 hours a day, while before I play poker and after? I think that by doing that I could get rid of alot of the sankharas that are coming the the surface while a play poker.


Yes - in answer to your question regarding another retreat. Anything to help you get established is good. I also recommend that you look at doing some service as well. Keep in mind that the path is not just meditation. You need to maintain the precepts and live a Dhammic life in as much as possible.

At some point you will need to look at your livelihood. While poker playing isn't one of the proscribed livelihoods, you will find that being involved in an occupation that is so deeply enmeshed with intense craving - that it is incompatable with the Path. However - don't take my word for it. Its something you need to discover for yourself.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby talbot49 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:47 pm

Ben wrote:Yes - in answer to your question regarding another retreat. Anything to help you get established is good. I also recommend that you look at doing some service as well. Keep in mind that the path is not just meditation. You need to maintain the precepts and live a Dhammic life in as much as possible.

At some point you will need to look at your livelihood. While poker playing isn't one of the proscribed livelihoods, you will find that being involved in an occupation that is so deeply enmeshed with intense craving - that it is incompatable with the Path. However - don't take my word for it. Its something you need to discover for yourself.
kind regards,

Ben


Thanks for your answer but do you think equanimity and vipassana can help me feel better with poker? Considering that I don't want to quit poker. I know that it is bad for the path and poker will be bad for my practice, but will a diligent practice be good for poker? Because for now that is what's important for me. I need be comfortable again with poker and make some money out of it to go at uni, it may not be the better way but it's my reality right now.
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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby Ben » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:13 pm

talbot49 wrote:
Ben wrote:Yes - in answer to your question regarding another retreat. Anything to help you get established is good. I also recommend that you look at doing some service as well. Keep in mind that the path is not just meditation. You need to maintain the precepts and live a Dhammic life in as much as possible.

At some point you will need to look at your livelihood. While poker playing isn't one of the proscribed livelihoods, you will find that being involved in an occupation that is so deeply enmeshed with intense craving - that it is incompatable with the Path. However - don't take my word for it. Its something you need to discover for yourself.
kind regards,

Ben


Thanks for your answer but do you think equanimity and vipassana can help me feel better with poker? Considering that I don't want to quit poker. I know that it is bad for the path and poker will be bad for my practice, but will a diligent practice be good for poker? Because for now that is what's important for me. I need be comfortable again with poker and make some money out of it to go at uni, it may not be the better way but it's my reality right now.


This is the sort of question that can only be answered by yourself, Talbot. Continue to do retreats, practice diligently in daily life, maintain your precepts, engage in pariyatti (study), do some service and see what happens or what conclusions you come to.
Keep in mind that the object of vipassana meditation is not to 'feel better'. We're not 'trading' up from unpleasant sensations to pleasant sensations. Developing equanimity to sensations means becoming completely impartial to whatever you experience as sensations.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby talbot49 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:43 pm

Ben wrote:
talbot49 wrote:
Ben wrote:Yes - in answer to your question regarding another retreat. Anything to help you get established is good. I also recommend that you look at doing some service as well. Keep in mind that the path is not just meditation. You need to maintain the precepts and live a Dhammic life in as much as possible.

At some point you will need to look at your livelihood. While poker playing isn't one of the proscribed livelihoods, you will find that being involved in an occupation that is so deeply enmeshed with intense craving - that it is incompatable with the Path. However - don't take my word for it. Its something you need to discover for yourself.
kind regards,

Ben


Thanks for your answer but do you think equanimity and vipassana can help me feel better with poker? Considering that I don't want to quit poker. I know that it is bad for the path and poker will be bad for my practice, but will a diligent practice be good for poker? Because for now that is what's important for me. I need be comfortable again with poker and make some money out of it to go at uni, it may not be the better way but it's my reality right now.


This is the sort of question that can only be answered by yourself, Talbot. Continue to do retreats, practice diligently in daily life, maintain your precepts, engage in pariyatti (study), do some service and see what happens or what conclusions you come to.
Keep in mind that the object of vipassana meditation is not to 'feel better'. We're not 'trading' up from unpleasant sensations to pleasant sensations. Developing equanimity to sensations means becoming completely impartial to whatever you experience as sensations.
kind regards,

Ben


Hi Ben,

I totally understand that Ben, that I am not trading unpleasant sensations for good sensations. If I wouldn't it would mean I didnt understand nothing about my last retreat. By feeling better I mean being aware of what's going on in me when I play, and not react to it. You gotta agree that as soon as you accept your sensations, you feel better right? Because what's going on when I play is that I kinda fight agaisnt those sensations unconsciously and as a result they keep getting stronger and I am feeling more and more bad. Kinda tough too explain but I noticed that as soon as I "feel" my sensations and accept them, they are unpleasant but "overall" I feel good. But as soon as I stop being aware of them, I don't have some unpleasant sensations but I feel bad overall.

Let me know what you know think if you understood anything in what I said lol
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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby chownah » Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:01 am

talbot49,
OK. You make money from playing poker. So, you want to know if vipassana is a good thing for you. I think it should be pretty clear that vipassana is good for anyone no matter where they get their money. Getting money from poker is not such an exceptional thing.....it is just one way to get money. Someone who gets money from grooming dogs might want to know if vipassana will help them to groom dogs....and the answer is yes it will.....some people get money from having sex with people and they might want to know if vipassana is a good thing for them...and the answer is yes it is.....some people get money from robbing banks and killing people and they might want to know if vipassana is good for them...and the answer is yes it is........etc. for every possible way of getting money....

The thing I notice about your posting is that you seem to be really obsessed about how you get your money......why is this such an important issue for you?

If you want to know if vipassana will make you better at playing poker or happier when playing poker then just try it and see........and the same goes for anyone who makes money in any way......I guess...

chownah
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Re: Being a poker player and practicing vipassana? Serious topic

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:02 am

talbot49 wrote:Let me know what you know think if you understood anything in what I said lol

Yes, I understand what you mean.
I wish you all the very best with your practice and decisions regarding your lifestyle/livelihood.
Feel free to keep us updated as to how you are going.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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