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Sklansky taught us the math, Harrington and Miller taught us the strategies, and Jared Tendler now teaches us The Mental Game of Poker!

In the introduction to TMGP 1 Jared writes: Tilting and playing your best happen for predictable reasons and occur in predictable patterns. He proceeds to teach us how to recognize these reasons and patterns. He then teaches us how to control them. TMGP 1 focuses on the negative aspects of your game - tilting. Whereas TMGP 2 focuses on the the positive aspects - playing your best. These are ground-breaking books that offer an extremely useful toolset for improving your game.

I have only just finished my first read through of TMGP 1 and 2. However, there have already been several immediate improvements in my game. His description of the learning process has allowed me to quickly isolate two important distinctions between my A-game and my B-game.

I knew that I often lost big pots by overplaying top pair hands. TMGP 1 helped me notice that this usually occurred at the start of a session. I was making mistakes before I got into “the zone”. By simply implementing a warm-up routine (just as you would in any other sport), I have eliminated a very costly leak in my game.  A pretty obvious and effective solution!

The other change has been to reduce my number of Zoom tables. Most of my cash game skills lie in what Jared terms conscious competence, which means I have to think in order to use these skills. Running four Zoom tables just doesn’t allow me enough time to do this consistently well. Therefore, I am practicing these skills at a reduced volume. With continued practice, more and more of these will transform into skills that I don’t need to think about to do well. They will move into my unconscious competence.

I am also working on several other areas of my mental game that are not as quick and easy to fix, such as my bad habit of moving up stakes when tilting. Although I do better understand the type of tilt that leads to this habit. Addressing the root of this problem will take a sustained effort.

TMGP 1 and 2 are written in an easy-to-read, nearly oral style. It feels as though the author is talking directly to you. The content is well organized and structured. You are presented with a methodology founded on three theories of learning which in turn are supported by practical examples and client stories (from high stakes pros).  Each chapter culminates in a clear route toward self improvement. There are no answers in the books though. You are taught how to create your own mental map, but you will have to put in the work in order to reach the goals.

I found the greatest strength of the books to lie in how the truth of each element presented hit me like an epiphany. I would learn something new, yet its implications were immediately obvious. The hard work of incorporating the element into my mental game will take time, but the learning process necessary to move forward is clear. Reading TMGP has changed the way I think about poker and about learning in general. I consider it a watershed moment on par with Dave telling me to correlate the preflop action with the postflop action!

If you are serious about poker, then TMGP 1 and 2 are must reads. My recommendation may not carry much weight, but check out the reviews by pro players on his site! You can also find out more in this forum thread where Jared Tendler along with co-author Barry Carter have been active helping members here at PSO.

I purchased The Mental Game of Poker 1 as a Kindle e-book and won a copy of The Mental Game of Poker 2 in the thread above. Thanks for being a great guy with the way you handled my ineligibility in that contest, Jared. And, thank you both for writing these game changing books. Who would have thought an inchworm could be so profound!

GL and have fun at the tables!

Roland GTX

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