The ever-growing world of gaming is one of the most competitive markets, and, because of that, there is a real need for each player to clearly understand the art of losing. Although winning is widely believed to be the be-all and end-all in many walks of life, the healthy yet competitive spirit of global gaming tournaments help to strengthen competitor’s skills even in defeat.
The online aspect of the iGaming industry, which includes everything from poker to casino games like blackjack as well as bingo and sports betting, is anticipated to be valued at more than £77 million in 2024 according to a report by Statista, and this illustrates just how heavily populated the market has become.
As a result of the growth of immensely popular online card games such as poker and its multitude of variants, we’re going to look at several aspects that demonstrate how defeat can be transformed into the potential for personal and professional development. Moreover, we shall also highlight that while losing a hand or two at poker is never the objective, there is no shame in it as the overriding purpose of the game is to provide entertainment and excitement – and more importantly, because it helps you improve your game in the long run.
The Difference Between Good and Bad Losers
One of the most distinct differences between good and bad losers is how the former retain a sense of professionalism in defeat. With the nature of the poker industry being fuelled by high-stakes betting, both adrenaline and emotions are susceptible to running high, especially in competitive gaming. Among those who play casino games like baccarat, poker, and blackjack, the mindset must be focussed on achieving long-term goals as opposed to acquiring short-term success. In adopting this mental approach, those who lose professionalism can separate adversity from the overarching goal of victory, while others can find themselves weighed down in short-term negativity.
Additionally, another factor in being able to handle defeat is through the ability to keep a calm head and learn from adversity. In being able to retain coolness after a loss, gamers can temporarily disconnect, which, in turn, allows for a period of contemplation where mistakes can be learned from. In any aspect of life, defeat is an inevitable outcome that assists in building mental toughness and durability, both of which are vital in competitive gaming.
As competitive gaming viewership continues to grow, so does the need for professionalism in every facet of the game, including defeat. According to a report by Newzoo, the Esports industry, which is where multiplayer video games are played competitively for spectators, will generate a market revenue of approximately £1 billion. Evo 2019, which is considered as the World Cup of fighting games, is an eSports tournament that attracts more than 100,000 gamers, and, at its peak, achieved a record audience of over 279,000 viewers. Moreover, in relation to the iGaming industry, ESPN averaged 1.23 million viewers for the final table of the World Series of Poker back in 2013.
Due to televised tournaments being in such high demand, handling defeat is more important than ever before. Furthermore, with prize money totals only on the rise, it’s advantageous for players to learn from their mistakes and come back stronger.
Whatever Gets Said, Winning Isn’t Always Everything
Contrary to common belief, winning isn’t everything. Whether you’re playing competitive poker in front of a sold-out audience, or simply at your local casino, the enjoyment in participating should be the motivating factor for continuing to play. In the 2019 World Series of Poker final, Nick Marchington, a university drop-out from Essex, won £1.5m after finishing in seventh place.
The 21-year-old beat more than 8,500 other players in reaching the final, but, even in ultimately falling short of the £8 million jackpot prize, the former student declared that he was “thrilled” incoming seventh and stated that it was a “fun ride”. The lesson that can be learned in Marchington’s approach to poker, and ultimately to gaming in general, is that even in defeat, having fun should far outweigh any other existing circumstantial factors. Although playing for the love of the game is vital in achieving success and learning from adversity, surrounding yourself with a supportive community is also of extreme importance.
The route to Evo, the largest and longest-running fighting game tournament in the world, is paved with numerous positive gaming communities. As the participants are all connected through a shared love of video games, the network is continuously supportive in both victory and defeat. A healthy community is important for the platform itself to succeed and also in ensuring the wellbeing of its competitors. In defeat, this support motivates gamers to train and grow stronger with a mindset focussed on the next opportunity to succeed.
There’s No Shame in Being a Good Loser
Alongside practicing winning, it’s equally important to ensure that you practice losing. While many people may struggle in dealing with defeat, becoming a great loser is a skill that will prove highly impactful on everyday life. Hating to lose is not unique in poker due to the incredibly competitive nature of the game but learning how to handle it is quickly becoming vital to long-term success. In any poker tournament, such a Texas Hold ’em, Omaha or other events, ensuring that losses don’t cramp your game, causing you to tilt, as well as knowing that you played well irrespective of the outcome minimizes the effect that loss can have on your experience. Moreover, mapping out your A-C game analysis allows for the categorization of habits, skills, strategies, and tendencies in your poker performance, and from this, overall performance analysis can be generated which highlights the key aspects of your game that need improving.
As demonstrated by Nick Marchington, there’s absolutely no shame in falling short of victory. With that being said, and perhaps more importantly, the 21-year-old’s story perfectly illustrates that winning shouldn’t be defined in such a clear-cut manner. Despite coming in seventh, the university drop-out went home a millionaire after pocketing £1.5 million in prize money. Perhaps the concept of being labeled as either a winner or loser in competitive gaming is outdated and fails to seamlessly match the progressive nature of the wider gaming industry.
With such vast sums of money now available, as highlighted by The International 2019 total prize fund, which, at the time of writing and according to the Dota 2 Prize Pool Tracker, has reached a record-breaking sum of over £27 million, the existing ideology of achieving either success or failure fails to align with the sector’s recent growth.
Becoming Graceful in the Art of Losing
There is no doubt that losing is one of the more disliked aspects of life among competitive people. However, those who achieve the most success are the ones who can channel their frustrations of losing into a path for future growth. With a long-term mindset, a supportive community and plenty of practice, becoming graceful in defeat is the key to keeping calm and level-headed in competitive gaming tournaments.
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