Bankroll Building Skills – Discipline

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Anders | Poker Articles, Poker Bankroll Building, Poker Bankroll Management

This article is a part of the Poker Bankroll Management series.

The personal skill – discipline – will be the first skill I will go into more depth with in the coming series of articles describing necessary skills required for good Bankroll Management. Before going into why discipline is important in bankroll management and how it is developed a clear definition of discipline is needed:

…..persistently act in the direction of a goal regardless of external adversity or internal state.

Many associate discipline with pushing yourself hard to achieve a certain goal. But this is not the way to succeed in the long run with any challenge especially Bankroll Management. To succeed it is essential to maintain the joy of playing poker. Discipline in this context is the ability to persistently act in the direction of a goal regardless of adversity and the emotional state while keeping in mind that you are doing it because it’s fun.

Why is discipline important in Bankroll Management?

I think that all poker players have experienced varying degrees of tilt. With undisciplined behaviour these periods can have dramatic consequences on your poker bankroll. It is here the mental fight with your inner compulsive gambler starts…..quite fun when you look at it from above :) But very dramatic when you are in the situation.

It is a fact that even the greatest poker players experience periods with adversity which can set them of track. Discipline lies in the choice to get back on the bankroll management track and its explicit stated buy-in rules. Discipline helps you follow through on your best long term intentions no matter what.

How is discipline developed?

First it is important to make one point clear – it is possible to become more disciplined with practice. In my experience the level of discipline will still fluctuate over time depending on the dedication to the project and the internal state of mind at any specific time.

I have seen many views on how to increase the level of discipline but in my experience two elements are central for tight discipline. The first element and step is setting a goal which is visionary and high enough for me to feel 100% dedicated to achieving that goal. In bankroll management this should be followed by explicitely stating a clear set of rules that will lead you to that goal. Discipline in the context of bankroll management is about managing and acting according to these rules. The rules were discussed in the article “Bankroll Management” and dealed with continuous choice of the right table to enter.

The second element that helps is keeping a metaphor in mind during the process – a clear understanding of the process involved with self-discipline helps keeping the right direction of my actions. A good metaphor is a field/thicket you will continuous have to cross. At first it’s a bit difficult to cross because the way over to the other side is not very clear. But as I keep crossing this field/thicket a pathway is made and it is easy and obvious which way to go. Discipline in bankroll management is much the same when you keep making the same choices according to your rules they become obvious – much like a routine – and you won’t have to think much about the rules or discipline when the pathway is made.

Other articles in this series:


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Anders June 12th, 2008

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