Using a Prop Bet to Increase Motivation

  • By Jared Tendler
  • April 20, 2014
  • Comments Off on Using a Prop Bet to Increase Motivation


Poker players often resort to making prop bets to spark their motivation. Browse any poker forum, and you are likely to see a bunch of threads where players are proposing prop bets that they can lose a certain amount of weight, play a certain number of hands, make SuperNova Elite, top a tournament leaderboard, or make a certain amount of profit.
The nature of these prop bets is essentially players trying to use money as a source of inspiration to do something they want to be able to do normally, but don’t have the motivation to see through. You might want to make SuperNova Elite, but you don’t think you can do it unless you have money dangling in front of you.

“In these motivational bets you are the sucker”

Of course, there are many prop bets with the opposite intention in mind, where you are gambling on a perceived edge. If you are already a sick grinder, then a number of hands bet might be a very profitable proposition for you. But if you are using a prop bet to motivate you to do something you’re not motivated to do, you are actually wagering a lot of money while being a big underdog. It’s terrible game selection, and you are a prop bet fish.
There seems to be a distinct shift between the more old-school gamblers—who would only bet on propositions they thought were sure things—and the online generation, who want to bet on outcomes they wish would happen. You only need to hear about Amarillo Slim’s legendary exploits to know he only gambled on prospects where the sucker had no chance. In these motivational bets you are the sucker, though it doesn’t stop you from putting your money on the line.
In the long term, no amount of money is going to resolve the underlying issues that are causing your motivational problem(s). Only by resolving these problems can you get the motivation you so desperately crave.


A Simple Way to Become Less Lazy
Saying you’re lazy is an easy way of excusing yourself from having to do something. “I would have done X, but didn’t feel like it. What can I say? I’m lazy.” It’s as if being lazy is an incurable disease, or a character trait encoded in your DNA. If you believe deep down that laziness is permanent, it would be illogical for you to try anything to change it. However, laziness is not a permanent trait. It takes some work to break out of it, but this section can make that task easier.
Laziness is a skill, that for better or worse, has been learned. You have learned the skill of doing something else. You have learned how to grind a large volume of television or sleep, rather than learning how to knuckle down and play longer sessions and work on your game. Instead of learning how to be productive, you’ve learned how to be lazy—and you’re quite good at it.
It’s impossible to have no motivation. Think of being lazy as having a strong motivation to sleep for hours, watch TV, or mindlessly surf the internet. While that might seem like just a changing around of words, stating it that way is important in understanding and fixing the problem.
Laziness can happen for many reasons. It may have developed early in your life if you weren’t pushed to excel. Or maybe it developed after college when completely on your own, or after making good money because you no longer felt you had to make more. Here’s an example to help explain how laziness can develop and how to solve it:
Often people become lazy when the structure they are used to having in their lives is gone. When living with parents, going to school, or working for someone else, you don’t have to think much about what to do, you just have to do it. The value of having that structure provided for you often goes unrecognized until you’re completely out on your own. Now you have to do both—decide what to do and do it. That extra layer may not seem like much, but it makes life, or poker, a lot harder and often leads to laziness.
When beginning to work on your laziness or any other motivational problem, try approaching poker like you’re running a small business. You’re in charge of when and where to play, how much to play, what stakes and games to play in, when and what to study, and who to get help from. It’s your responsibility to analyze your poker and mental games, stay up-to-date with the latest software and strategy, and more.
There’s a lot to decide and to do. If you’re lacking the skills to successfully run your business, you appear lazy. Here are a few simple ways to improve these skills:
1. Identify all the good things that you’re doing, no matter how insignificant they seem.
2. Write out a list of what you need to be doing.
3. Prioritize the most important things you need to be doing.
4. Make a reasonable plan for how to start doing them.
5. Write down the excuses you previously made to avoid doing them.
6. Write down why each excuse is flawed or false.
7. Commit to executing your plan and avoiding excuses.
Realizing there’s something you can do about laziness means you at least have a chance of permanently staying out of the prison that laziness puts you in.

Jared Tendler
Jared Tendler, MS, LMHC, is the leading expert in the mental game of poker. He’s coached over 300 players from around the world, including some of poker’s top players, Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt, Niman “Samoleus” Kenkre, and Ben “NeverScaredB” Wilinofsky (Winner of EPT Berlin). He has worked with players from 38 countries as well as thousands more through online training videos and forums. The combination of earning a Masters degree in psychology, being a licensed mental health counselor, and over seven years of experience as a performance coach has given Jared a unique approach to helping players of all skill levels improve and exceed their goals.
Jared Tendler
Jared Tendler

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