Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Thin Skins (2)

The second reason I think people appear to be so sensitive to criticism online is that, in my opinion, once enough people start to congregate on a forum, or anywhere, then a form of "groupthink" starts to take over.

What I mean by this is that instead of saying what they think, people tend to say what they think everyone else thinks. In the playground, the office and the pub, the more people are gathered together, the more of this you hear. Fit in, don't say anything different. One of us. That guy over there who says something else - he's one of them. I always had my suspicions, didn't you ? You can talk to one person about something and most of the time they will at least hear you out, if it's heads up. Once you're in a group, the rules are different.

People want to belong, there are plenty of reasons why and most of them are obvious so I won't spell them out. I just find it amusing that this is so common even in poker, the ultimate individual pursuit. Poker is (or should be) you against the world, pitting your wits against the rest. You stand or fall by your own decisions. Unfortunately a lot of people can't handle this. Instead of just accepting that this means poker isn't for them, they try to find a quick fix.

So you need something to "belong" to. At this point you have two options. You can play, treat opponents with respect and courtesy, build up mutual respect and trust and basically build up a friendly relationship from the bottom. But this is 2005 and I want it now. Why bother with all that when I can just click a few links and bingo ! I'm a Gutshotter. Or an 1808 gangster. Or whatever.

And now people have an immediate "us and them" reference point to work from. Anyone on the outside who criticises is now fair game for a kicking. Together with my points in the previous post about how people react to dissenting opinions, and that's how we have reached the situation where you can't even talk about issues like the Gutshot rake business without having all sorts of ridiculous allegations made against you.

In a way, it's sad. In another way though, it's all for the best. To succeed in poker you need to be self-reliant. You need to think things out for yourself. You need to realise that doing the opposite of what everyone else does is not just allowed, it's often positively beneficial. If you can't do that, you're going to struggle. Kick away the crutch of groupthink and learn to stand on your own.


Blogger Richard Gryko said...

I have rarely seen an article that I so completely agree with. Excellent points, excellently made. The unfortunate irony is that its readers are probably the choir to your preacher. Nonetheless, my congratulations.


9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's the very fact that it is an individual sport that people feel the need to belong to a group. Live poker, in particular, can be quite intimidating

11:57 PM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...


That's a good point. I will consider it a mitigating factor :-). I do remember how intimidated I was to start with - but having the Internet to practise on would have helped a lot !


Thank you that's very kind. Your name was mentioned in dispatches last night - I was making a lot of small raises, at which Miros commented "Gryko does that. It's really annoying". I thought you'd like to know :-)


10:00 AM  
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12:15 PM  

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