Exercising social control in poker

I don't have too much to report regarding my own play of late. However, I have been delivering some seriously good vibes to my friends who keep going deep in big tourneys. In fact, it seems like recently everyone around me in our little entourage has been doing well, and I have no choice but to attribute it to the great support they've been getting from me!

I'm joking, but the truth is it can be very important to have support from others when you play.

Recently I've been traveling not just with my brother, Matti, but also with our friends Wim Neys, Pieter Aerts, and Bart Lybaert, and all of those guys have been putting up some nice results this year. Having a group like that not only makes traveling and playing more fun, but can really help with maintaining focus, too.


Poker's an individual sport, obviously, but having some friends and/or family there rooting for you -- especially when it gets down to a final table -- can be incredibly helpful, not just in terms of emotional support but also to discuss strategy and bounce ideas off one another as a tournament goes on. Having friends there to share those experiences can be nice, too, when you later look back on them as memories.

I actually think there's a kind of "social control" (or whatever you want to call it) that happens when your friends are there watching you play. What I mean is, you are much less likely to blow up or make bad decisions at the table when you know you'll have to explain it later not just to yourself but to your friends, too. So it kind of keeps you in line a little, which is just another of the real, tangible benefits of having people supporting you when you play.

A lot of times in the poker world you'll see players only railing other players when they have a piece of them, but I'm actually one who likes to see my friends do well and will be there at their final tables without having to have a piece of them.

My friends are also always there for me in those situations, too, although as I was suggesting that hasn't been happening too much lately because I have been on a bit of a downswing since January. I had been playing a full schedule in terms of online tournaments as well as a lot of the live tourneys, and unfortunately haven't been cashing like I'd like. So I've kind of taken my foot off of the gas pedal and have reduced my volume a bit of late, and once I get some results again I can turn things back up.

Not long ago I listened to a podcast featuring Tommy Angelo in which he talked about how the winter months can be difficult for people. The longer nights and the cold can make things hard for people sometimes, and they need that sunshine to keep them upbeat. I think I kind of suffer from that a little, and so with the spring arriving and the summer on its way, I'm hopeful that will help turn things around for me.

Meanwhile, though, I'll keep on supporting my friends. I'll keep being their sunshine, you could say.

Christophe de Meulder is a member of Team PokerStars Pro