I’ve been playing poker full-time for over 4 years now and since the beginning I have, on somewhat of a regular basis, been smoking that sticky icky ewwww weeeee.
I’ve always been very hesitant to speak out in public about this topic, but felt like I had to share my story along with some findings. I want to make it clear there are a lot of people who don’t know this about me, including a lot of my family, but I’m exposing this for the benefit of others in the poker community and alike. So please take this for what it is – my opinion based on my personal experiences and findings.
My early memories of smoking were that it would enhance my thinking, and even excite me to fire up a shit load of tables and grind all day. I can vividly remember smoking and not even being able to think about anything else but playing. After so long tho it really just becomes part of a routine, and even more so a habit we don’t think about much. So as I’m always looking to increase my edge in the field I felt it was necessary to “find out”, or at least build up enough of a sample size of NOT SMOKING days to KNOW whether or not this variable of smoking is positively or negatively effecting my production (specifically while playing or doing other productive activities).
I’m not gonna lie I’ve stuck my toes in the water with this before but never jumped in. The turning point for me was during a week when I was doing a lot of business calls and I noticed the clarity in my thoughts was night and day when I wasn’t toked up. I had so much more control over my thoughts and the conversation it was like, WOW. At this point my desire to be successful in the business side of my life and poker became greater than the desire to smoke. After understanding WHY I wanted to cut it back, it became quite easy to stop doing it when I knew I had shit I needed to get done. As a side note, in the past I’ve made it a point to not smoke when I’m making videos for p5s, or doing coaching because I didn’t see it as proper or professional to be in an altered state of mind.
So what have I found out while taking out this variable? Well some of you may know that I regularly do lumosity.com’s brain training. I’m a big advocate of trying to improve in all aspects of life (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) so this is just a part of that. Anyway, in over a month long trial I’ve noticed these changes:
– Attention has gone up significantly – Memory has gone up
– Problem solving has gone down a little actually
– Flexibility has gone up – Speed has gone down
These are the main areas that lumosity tracks. I don’t have a neuroscience background so I can’t say exactly if these changes have directly been results of the effects of smoking on the brain or not, but these are my findings. I did email lumosity to see if they could recommend any articles on this topic, but didn’t get very far with them or my google research. I think they all make sense tho because I seem to have very creative thoughts and can be super inspired sometimes when smoking, but can’t focus on much and am very scatter brained otherwise. I guess the speed thing has to do with being more spontaneous when smoking, but that’s just a guess based on knowing how I react to things when in a different state of mind.
Prior to doing this lumosity study I actually wrote down a list of things I noticed in myself when smoking so that I could draw more attention to them. Here they are:
Cons – Lack of motivation, I think scatter brained, can’t stay focused, avoid confrontations, don’t speak my mind, can’t reach higher brain functions or “get in the zone” as often, literally just burning money.
Pros – Have moments of amazing creative thinking, can be inspired to high levels, helps me forget about stressful things for a bit.
I haven’t completely stopped, but have gone from a semi-pro to a recreational player so to say. I don’t think that smoking is bad, and I actually think it can help certain types of people and their situations. I think the key is understanding how to manipulate your personal energy to reach an optimal point of functioning. For some smoking can bring you up to that point, and for others it can bring you down to a point where you don’t want to be.
I’m enjoying the new looking glasses I’ve got on and I’m going to stay consistent and continue to examine my results moving forward, and will always be looking for ways to get better. The road to success is always under construction. As I write this I’m currently up over $6k in my last 100 games of big field tournaments online and feel like I’m in total control. I didn’t talk about it much in this article because I wanted to focus on poker, but my real life relationships (primarily with my girlfriend) have also grown to a new level. I don’t know about you, but it’s exciting to see all areas of your life improve by just making 1 simple adjustment.
Lastly, I haven’t had to drastically change my lifestyle in order to accomplish this, I just consume healthier products to enhance my focus/attention/energy level on the daily and work out in my office (“guess I’m fit for business” lol – Weezy). This has been supplementing that “high” I was so used to prior. I’ve also heard that yoga can actually re produce a very similar “high” feeling if done correctly, so I know there are ways to get yourself to that next level without smoking.
Cheers all and thanks for reading.