In many ways, I grew up as a ‘regular’ kid in a small Iowa town here in the US. I had a loving and supportive family, had great friends and played sports all the way through high school. In other ways, my experience was very different and exciting–and would eventually serve as the basis for a big awakening in my life, on several levels.
My brother and I, along with a mutual friend of ours began playing online poker for fake money. Shortly after, we made the jump and started playing for real money. When that happened, a few other friends joined us (you know who you all are) and got in on the action.
Though on April 15th, 2011 everything changed in the online poker world and in my world alike. On what is now known as “Black Friday” within the online poker world, the FBI raided and shut down the 3 biggest online poker sites, which affected millions of people around the world and was done under very questionable means. The income I was making on there (which was enough to provide for myself like a day job) was now inaccessible and still to this day have not received it back. What was I to do now that I had plenty of free time to read?
The best thing I received from my time playing online poker was that it taught me how to think, and not what to think. Regardless of what anyone says, poker is a game of skill and not luck. The mind is how these skills develop and are utilized. One must not make decisions simply on mathematical, logical, linear-based odds alone. One must also make decisions based on what might be called intuition, or gut- feeling.
In neuroscience terms, the left and right hemispheres of the brain must both be actively used, with the left known by science to help process logical, linear and mathematical information and the right known to help process creative, intuitive, non-linear information.
In most schools around the world, the left hemisphere is predominantly used, and forced to be used as based on the methods of teaching. We are often only taught to memorize and repeat instead of asking questions and drawing upon previous real life experience to arrive at our answer or conclusion.
In learning how to think, I believe that asking the question “why?” is the basis for such a process. In online poker, players are always asking themselves, “why?” Every decision they themselves make or a decision another player makes is for a reason. Whether that reason is straightforward and honest or whether they are attempting a bluff, every move has a reason behind it. In life and in our world around us, that is no different.
Beginning by asking myself why I did or didn’t do certain things, such as eating a particular way, believing certain perceptions about life or “just the way things are” or behaving a particular way, led me to start looking deeper into myself and see where I could make beneficial changes in my life.
Asking why to worldly affairs also has led me to change my perceptions of what we see and hear each day from so-called mainstream media sources. In poker, every decision or action has a motive behind it. The way our world has been set up is no different. For example, I no longer own a TV or take serious at all about 95% of what NBC, FOX, ABC, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc. put out there. (Its an established fact that 6 corporations own 90% of the American media outlets) Alternative, grass-roots media outlets is where you will find truthful and investigative journalism. And even then, we must continue to discern and ask, what agenda or motive might this outlet have?
Additionally, we must not only analyze (left-brain) what information we are seeing and hearing, we must intuitively feel (right-brain) how this information resonates with us. Does it just look and sound good on paper so to speak (left-brain), but not feel(right-brain) like it is truthful? With both the left and right brain hemispheres activated numerous hours per week, over a period of several years, I believe online poker has helped train my brain to actively use both hemispheres more often and in everyday life situations, not just when faced with a poker decision.
A quantum leap is defined as when one electron from one orbital energy level ‘jumps’ to another orbital energy level that happens within a couple nanoseconds. Simply put, it is when an electron make a sudden or abrupt level shift that is massive in size. In poker, this would be comparable to a player who is on average winning $200 per week that all of a sudden and out of nowhere starts winning $5,000 per week.
With myself, my brother and our friends who played online, I can say for certain that we all experienced at least one ‘quantum leap’ in regards to our online poker experience.
For my life, it really taught me to think big and expect big, great and wonderful things for myself, others and our world.
It taught me that I must continue to “grind things out”, or get through the difficult times with my head held high and to know that better times, or the quantum leap, was soon to commence.
Though the word “awaken” can mean many different things, in respect to my time growing up playing poker, it means that I have awakened to the belief that we are here to dream and live big, expect miracles, question all that we perceive and love ourselves and others.
What are your thoughts? Has online gaming in any form somehow helped you grow or learn things in your life? Let us know your feedback in the comments below or on the facebook post. What information could you pass on that others might benefit from?
Lance Schuttler graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Health Science and does health coaching through his website Orgonlight Health. You can follow the Orgonlight Health facebook page or visit the website for more information and other inspiring articles.