Cheerful, Defensible

Cheerful – The attitude I strive for when I play. Some people try to be “robotic,” but I think I play better if I can stay slightly playful. It’s easier to be creative and see opportunities that way. At the same time, you want to keep a pretty even keel, not get too happy when you win or too upset when you lose. And if you can’t enjoy playing it’s a pretty terrible job.

Defensible – I want to be able to characterize all my plays this way. You could, like Phil Galfond, see every time it’s your turn as an “opportunity to make the best play.” But that’s a high standard for most of us. Poker tends to be pretty murky. Often, even after extensive analysis, it’s unclear what the best play would have been. Defensible means your play was based on reasonable assumptions, didn’t contradict itself, and wasn’t clearly worse than another alternative. If I can manage that I’m pretty happy.

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