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Playing in the Light - 2

by: Cyndy Violette

“I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone, PEOPLE LIKE ME!”

Whenever I mention that I use positive affirmations to improve my poker play, people usually think of Al Franken's Stuart Smalley character from a sketch on Saturday Night Live.

But positive affirmations can get you the results that you're looking for. A positive affirmation is a great tool to bring into reality what we envision and want to create. A strong positive statement that something is already so, is a way of making firm that which you imagining.

Let me tell you a little story.

The first time I started learning about positive self-talk was in 1986 when I ordered a set of tapes from Shad Helmstetter. I listened to them a lot right before I won my first major tournament, the Gold Nugget, Grand Prix of Poker, with a first place prize of $74,000. When I won the tournament I told the reporter that these tapes had a lot to do with keeping me in a positive flow. Listening to positive talk re-programs your subconscious mind.

Lets face it, words are power. Every thought you think is creating your future whether you say them out loud or not. Writing affirmations is very powerful too. You can write down what you create.

I have heard so much negative self-talk at the table. Leave the self-deprecating humor to the comedians. There is no room in a poker players life for negative thoughts or words. Your subconscious mind doesn't know if you are joking or not. Choose your thoughts and words wisely.

Even when you say something to another player at the table like, “I can never seem to beat you” or “When you're at the table, I never win”. That just gives away your power. Don't give any opponent your power, by saying something like that, either out loud or in your head.

Here is another one that I have seen many times. After someone draws lucky, a player will actually say to the player that drew lucky. “ Wow, you are so lucky I can't believe it!”

Don't ever tell another player that they are lucky. They might actually believe you.

Words can create a self-fulfilling prophecy at the poker table and in life. Words have the power to destroy.

And create.

As you put it out there, you are creating it. Some things to remember about affirmations are they should be in the here and now and not in the future. Phrase what you want to create as if it already exists as a “right now reality”. Our subconscious mind accepts whatever we think and say. By making your affirmations positive and in the present tense they can manifest in your external reality.

Before every tournament, I spend some time in my room going over my poker journal that is filled with positive affirmations. Some of the things I read:

  • I am playing well
  • I am prosperous
  • I am making good decisions
  • I deserve to win
  • I give myself permission to win
  • I am focused
  • I feel very lucky
  • I am flowing and positive

I hope you notices something about those affirmations. The power of “I AM” is a very powerful thing. The majority of the affirmations I use all begin with those two simple words that carry so much power: “I AM” Ignoring the obvious biblical reference, “I AM” carries so much power because it is an affirming statement. You are not saying, “I hope I'm focused,” Or “I wish I will make good decisions.” By saying “I AM” your calling “it” into being, whatever “it” is that your are affirming. The simple act of saying, “I AM focused” makes me so focused I can't even begin to tell you. Keep in mind the power of “I AM” when you are applying positive self-talk to your poker game.

Before I wrap up, I want to address one last thing. As odd as it sounds, many players don't give themselves PERMISSION to win.

Inside of all of us, is a little self-doubt. All of the negative words about ourselves that we hear all through our lives seems to be stored in a “little vault” in the back of our minds. Whenever adversity strikes, that “little vault” has a tendency to pop open and some negative thoughts and words may spill out affecting your play.

Keep it locked! Better yet fill all those shelves in your vault with positive thoughts and comments that you hear about yourself. It isn't easy. It reminds me of that scene from the movie Pretty Woman.

Julia Roberts is in bed with Richard Gere and she says, “You hear something enough times and you start to believe it. The bad stuff is always easier to believe..”


Getting sucked out on the river: I am still playing great. (Look at the big picture. It's only one hand)

A tough player sits at your table: I am ready for any challenge. I love challenges. I love playing tough players.

Misplaying a hand or making a mistake: I learn from my mistakes. What I've learned her is..... What I' do differently is..... (Don't beat yourself up. It's part of learning to make mistakes. It's key to remember this because this is where a lot of players get tripped up. If you beat yourself up you'll lose your positive energy.)

Someone says or does something annoying: I am focused on why I'm here. (Don't give it too much energy.) You get moved to a different table: I'm always in the perfect place at the perfect time. (Don't automatically think this table is wrong or I'm at a disadvantage. You've been moved and there's a good reason. Maybe the new players are easier to beat at this table.)

It doesn't have to be that way, but it will require a little work on your part. Give yourself permission to win. Say to yourself over and over, “I deserve to win!”

Even if you make a bad play or a bad read, follow it up with “ I STILL deserve to win.” Put it behind you and focus on the now.

What I just described above is what I will call a “Knee-Jerk Affirmation.” You need to develop some Knee-Jerk Affirmations at the poker table so when certain potentially damaging things happen, you can respond automatically with positive self-talk.

Practicing some of these Knee-Jerk Affirmations will go a long way to improving our game.

Positive self talk can energize and lift you to incredible heights. If you are constantly filing your mind with positive thoughts, you stand a better chance of having positive things happen to you so that you are always “Playing in the Light”

Peace --- Cyndy Violette

Read More Articles on Cyndy's Healthy Perspective:   
Health is in Your Hands | Playing in the Light #1

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