“Delayed gratification describes the process that the subject undergoes when the subject resists the temptation of an immediate reward in preference for a later reward”.
When poker players, or better said people in general, start doing well and earn more money they have the tendency to up their standards of living and therefore spend more money, this is a never-ending cycle. Now especially in poker there are a couple of problems with this behavior.
Firstly, money that you made this week, this month or even this quarter is not really yours yet, and not guaranteed the months after. You should see short term winnings as credit, you’re just holding on to it and chances are you’re going to lose at least a part of it back. Unlike a regular job which guarantees you a salary, in poker things might turn around for various reasons not guaranteeing the same income in the future as you had the months before. Especially if you play tournaments and you bink one early, you might buy in to this being the new reality while chances are that your long term EV is actually way lower then you might think it is at that moment, losing sight of reality.
Second, in poker you need money to play, the more money and skill you have the higher you can play and assuming your beating the higher stakes, more EV is generated. If you up the amount of money you spend early in your career because you have been doing well, or binked a nice one, this means it will take your bankroll longer to get to a point where you can play a higher stake and convert your knowledge into higher EV.
Third, financial pressure is the nr 1 reason people lose joy, tilt, burnout, and fail in their poker careers. It’s very hard to focus on the process, improving, be curious towards the game if you have a small bankroll, bills to pay, or a certain standard of living to maintain. Spending money to soon will make it more likely for you to get in this situation and once you’re in it, it’s very hard to get out of it.
I get it, you’re young, suddenly are in the possession of a nice sum of money, but focus on the long term! Don’t think about what you can do with this money now, but what you can do with that money later if you delay the gratification, reinvest in yourself and your bankroll and enjoy the compound effect this has on your career.
So, are you cashing out too early? Investing in your status with an extravagant lifestyle?
Or are you focused on the long run?
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