Poker Strategy

Stop Being A “Misreg” At The Poker Table

I recently heard celebrated poker professional and future spiritual guru Charlie Carrel use the term “misreg” to describe poker regulars who seem to live in a constant state of misery. A quick internet search indicated Carrel didn’t invent the term, though I can’t seem to find the original source (if you know, please email me at the address below). Regardless of its origins, the word is a beautiful encapsulation of an astonishing number of poker players, both online and live. No matter where you exist in the world, you’ve likely met your fair share. If not, imagine a table full of Phil Hellmuths and you’ll be right on track.

To these players, losing a flip, let alone two or three in a row, is “obvious” proof that they run worse than anyone alive. The misreg goes into every session expecting the worst, seemingly just waiting to further cement their own belief that the poker gods conspire against them. Since joy doesn’t validate the internal state they’ve so diligently created, the highs of their wins are muted and short-lived, while the misery of their losses is pronounced and seemingly never-ending.

And if you’re sitting there, as I did when first hearing Carrel use the term, thinking to yourself: “dang, I’ve been there before,” or even worse, “that sounds like me now,” begin by congratulating yourself on the moment of self-awareness, always the hardest part of any internal change, and then make it your mission to eliminate the following patterns from your poker experience and kill your inner misreg.

Overvaluing The Day

For a misreg, every session is a potential indictment of their existence. A bad day is never just a typical and entirely predictable bout of variance, but the final verdict on their luck, skill and cosmic essence. This mentality not only places them in a constant pressure-cooker type of internal environment, but often leads to erratic strategy shifts in a fruitless attempt to outsmart luck. In your worst misreg moments, it’s important to recognize that a poker career is built on the back of tens upon tens of thousands of hands and should be treated as such.

Undervaluing The Moment

The evil twin of making every hand count, the misreg often seems to fling their chips around as if they don’t mean a thing. This makes perfect sense when you consider that they’re already expecting to lose – why bother putting effort and discipline when you believe the results will always be the same? Over time, this mindset can lead to an addiction of sorts to the state of internal suffering, a self-fulfilling prophecy in the truest sense of the word. Instead, the misreg would be better served recognizing that past results don’t dictate future outcomes and committing to playing each hand to their very best ability, poker gods be damned.

Disconnection From Self

As anyone who has spent significant time at the poker table knows, poker isn’t just a battle against one’s opponents, but a constant balancing of one’s own inner equilibrium. Ignore enough cues of hunger, fatigue, and stress, and even typically stoic players like Patrick Antonius are likely to connect to their inner misreg. To reach the zone of optimal poker performance, players need to find harmony between mind and body. Failing to listen to signals of distress from either one will inevitably jeopardize not only your bankroll, but also your health.

While it may not have originated with him, Charlie Carrel’s identification of the misreg is a wonderful reminder that poker is as much about mental and emotional resilience as it is about skill and strategy.

By stepping away from the extreme highs and lows, while acknowledging the role that internal balance plays in our poker experience, the hope is that we can leave our “miseries” behind and create greater inner space for our best reg to come out.

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