At a live event I went to this week I was having a rant about something to another player in the break, (I’m always ranting about something) and I was no doubt claiming I was brilliant in some way because he interrupted my flow with:
“Well, you haven’t got a problem with self-esteem, have you?”

And he’s not wrong, I really haven’t.
And neither should you.

I guess I’ve been inspired to write a blog about self-esteem as much as poker because actually, my sense of worth has taken a bit of kick to the tits this week and it came from the boot of one of my all-time poker heroes, Daniel Negreanu.

Daniel Negreanu is poker to me.
He was the first famous face I truly associated with poker and I have learned a massive amount from him. I love the way he behaves at the poker table, he is a genius, a comic and, above all else, an absolute fucking gentleman.

If making heart shapes out of punctuation didn't offend me, I'd do one right now.
If making heart shapes out of punctuation didn’t offend me, I’d do one right now.

The best word I have for him is “sparkling”; one of my favourite things about him is how quickly he admits he could be wrong/played bad/was stupid.

There are so many big names that just don’t do that, but Negreanu never has a problem saying he made a mistake in a hand, immediately, in front of everyone.

This is a sign of high self-esteem; admitting you are wrong is easier when you are very confident in the times you have been right.

I massively respect Daniel Negreanu as person, and as a poker player; in short, I am super-gay for Kid Poker and I feel like he attacked me this week.

Of course, not personally, I’ve never met Daniel Negreanu, he doesn’t know I’m alive. If we did meet, he’d only afterwards know me as “the girl that got removed by security for licking Kid Poker’s face”.

When you have a massive ego, a self-awarded trophy means something.

I already have a trophy made up for the day I make that happen, it took ages to carve a scared looking Negreanu face into cheap perspex, but it was worth it.

As I don’t know Mr Negreanu, it would be reasonable to assume that I feel attacked by him because my own massive ego has somehow made something that is not about me, all about me. It’s quite a life skill, I assure you.

Negreanu wrote a blog post this week, and it’s predictably articulate and hard hitting. If you haven’t read it, here it is.

I feel like he’s attacking me because I’m a losing player who writes strategy/opinion articles for other players and I think he is clearly saying that I shouldn’t be.
He does use the phrase “elite coach”, and I am certainly not trying to be that, or propose to help “elite” players (he means high-stakes, right?), but he does say that if you can’t prove you’re a profitable player over a long time, then you shouldn’t be writing on “how to play the game”.

I disagree. I think it’s cool that I, a total-fucking nobody, micro-tard, -ROI player gets to write a bit about strategy because I might still stimulate a thought in somebody else who is even worse than me, or better than me. My own idiot wafflings may make a better player think “woah, now I see my leak, she’s terrible!”.

You can learn from an idiot how not to behave.
You can learn from an idiot how not to behave.

My game is getting better, something changed in me and I’m FINALLY on a good poker path: I can see others who are not yet there, I want to help them.

And I want them to help me too.

I want to be argued with by people below/at/above my level. I want people to tell me I’m wrong to make me see it, or make me sure I’m right. I want to be forced to think about things from many different angles, consider as many opinions as I can, and then boldly fuck them all off and do my own thing anyway.

This is the glory of huge self-esteem, I feel qualified to argue with The Greats.
And so should you.

There is not a “right” way to do anything, including “playing AQ under the gun”. If you are looking for a foolproof, fixed answer to how to play any hand, anywhere, you’re going to be disappointed. A fixed system for winning at poker doesn’t exist, even a lifelong, high-stakes winner doesn’t have a set of rules you can follow like a rainbow to a pot of gold.
If you do not believe you can be adaptable and creative and form your own lines and opinions from an ever growing understanding of your specific playing environment, you are already fucked; it’s pointless you buying anyone’s book.

I’m going to be honest with you, I have no special life-achievements that give me the right to be this cocky. I was very lucky, I was born with rich parents, they sent me to the best schools and I have had a fantastic education.
When my parents’ money went camping on the Recession Bus in the 90s, the best present they ever bought me was the most valuable thing I had, and something the bank could never touch: My Education.

canstockphoto1176198A good education gives a person a strong sense of self-worth. Even if they’re not very clever, and they don’t learn many “facts”, they come through it believing their opinions are valid and, most importantly, equal to anyone else’s.
You don’t need someone to buy you that, like they did for me, you can just realise it.

In my adult years, I have worked with people who are far more intelligent than I am, and yet because they have not had the luck of a bought and paid for sense-of-worth, handed to them on a shiny gold plate, I have outstripped them professionally, when they would have done better than me, given half my start in life.

I can out talk and apparently out-think people who, if they were more confident, would destroy me on many levels, but my inflated self-esteem can be so overpoweringly present, it squeezes them further into a box. I can be a bit of bully really.

Am I proud of that? I guess we all play the hand we’re dealt.

So why should you listen to me? I’m not describing myself in a very positive way for delivering any kind of advice on poker (openly admitting I’m a losing fishcake) or how to be a person (I am a bit of a bell-end tbh).

It’s because I’m saying those things are my credentials.
Providing I never lie about who/what I am, then your brain is perfectly capable of making an assessment on how useful what I have to say is in terms of its relevance to you.

I've been hitting the books, I present what I've learned. Yours, to take or leave.
I’ve been hitting the books, I present what I’ve learned. Yours, to take or leave.

I can now tell you I’m a losing player and I can even start to tell you exactly why. Two years ago, I was chirping about “possibly being a winning player, break-even at worst”- and that was absolute bollocks.

I can look at my graphs, and after two years of studying everyone I can get my greedy, learning eyes on, I have independent ideas about them.

I am thinking more about why I’m so shit, and now making connections to all sorts of strategy media, and arguing with it too. I believe I have a right to have an opinion about the game I love, and to share that opinion. I believe you have the right to tell me that my opinion is wrong.

I believe it is my right to always believe I am right.
I will also defend to the death your equal right to that feeling.

Daniel Negreanu isn’t only an “elite” coach/strategy writer, because he’s released books that he must want to sell to a wider poker market. I, a micro-stakes numpty, have read one of his books, I ate it up, but I also argued with some of it.

How very dare I?

When I repost a strategy video, it will be one out of five that I watched. There is a lot of what I think is crap, and I feel qualified to decide what is crap and what is interesting, for no other reason than if it makes me think, it might make other players like me think too.

I’m not claiming I came up with these ideas, or that you should see any truth in them at all, only that they stimulated thoughts about poker that I found useful.
This is true if I repost a Daniel Negreanu video or a Random Dood video. Great learning is not only to be found from The Greats; nobody started as A Great, but they were still brilliant, even before they, or anyone else, realised it.

Socrates started as a schoolboy who probably wet the bed.
Socrates started as a schoolboy who probably wet the bed.

When I write strategy articles, it is supported with the research and analytical skills that I learned in the course of my education. When I write them, it’s as much a tool and product of my own learnings as a demonstration of what I claim to ‘know’.
We all grow out of our own, and others’, previous learnings.

I know what it’s like to not be the cleverest, to not have the best brain at most poker tables I sit at, to find it a massive struggle to accept I need to study maths, a subject that terrifies me. I understand the realities of being an undisciplined fool, incapable of staying on top of my own bankroll, or the changing nature of the game. I know what it’s like to have a hobby that took over 40 hours a week, and still do 40 hours a week in a ‘normal’ job.

I know what it’s like to read the written strategy of a high-stakes player about action NL$500 and think “This is not a game I recognise, my opponents don’t do that!”.

Daniel Negreanu does not know what it feels like to sit at a poker table and not be Daniel Negreanu.

I do.

I wish I was Daniel Negreanu, but I’m not; I’m a learning micro-tard with a keyboard, who is showing you what I’m learning as I go, and that’s all I’ve got.

"Nothing's wrong. I'm fine. Absolutely fine. I said it's fine."
“Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine. Absolutely fine. I said it’s fine.”

This blog-post is clearly just the whining of a woman who has had her feelings hurt by a man.
Fame sucks. Negreanu’s getting moaned at for “hurting feelings” and he’s not even getting a shag out of it. That said, I really hope you can take three things from this meandering moan:

  1. It does not require Dr Albert Einstein to teach a Key Stage One maths class.

  2. If something makes your brain tick, because you agree or disagree, it’s worth your time, whatever the source, whether written by an idiot or a genius.
  3. If you have an idea, and it burns in you, listen to everyone when they tell you you’re wrong, but if you still think you’re right, then believe in your right to be right in the face of every argument. It may well lead to crashing failure, but it’s also how The Greats are made.