JavaScript must be enabled for Sign In.
Please check your broswer settings.

Home \ Community \ Blogs \

Keep me honest, plz!

Enough of tilting and wishful thinking
By: vano02
Send PM

'Estimate the percent of time you play your A-game!' 

I was totally caught off guard by this very last task in Jared Tendler's tilt profile questionnaire.

A zillion times had I read about the beauty of the A-game, the virtues of focus, awareness, and high-level thinking - all the while assuming that the more I read about it, the more I would practice it myself.

Not once did it occur to me to take stock of how often I actually did play my A-game. In my proper, not my phantasy poker life.

And by taking stock I don't mean an escapist yeah-I-know-there's-room-for improvement type of answer.

I mean assigning one precise, cold, nasty, inescapable NUMBER to it.

I pause here - and let you have your own awkward moment of silent and painful self-recognition, if you haven't thought about YOUR number before.

Ahem, I do hope I'm not the only one.

Ah, what the heck, it's out now anyway, so I might just as well strip completely naked:

Being brutally honest with myself, I would have to admit it might have been as little as 5 percent before I started this blog. Since then, maybe 10 percent. Tops.

Which leaves me with the very uncomfortable question of what the hell I was doing during the substantial remainder of my poker time?

The answer is obvious and horrifying: I spent a staggering 95 (!) percent of my playing time being content with my B-game, or worse, my C-game.

Now, I don't know about you, but I find this quite shattering. In a way I have always worked quite hard on improving my technical game. I read articles and books, watched videos, took part in live training sessons, and so on.

But it's only when I read Jared Tendler's question that I realised: all that time I was working on my A-game in THEORY only, not in practice. I have never actually worked on IMPLEMENTING what I had learnt.

I'm not referring to the basics, here, of counting the outs and calculating the odds, or using position, or thoughtful bet sizing. Thankfully, I did manage this much.

I'm talking about truly concentrating on every single move, paying attention to players' bet-call-fold patterns, trying to range hands, skillfully adapting to table dynamics, etc. - the whole nine yards.

And this, you will have guessed by now as I keep going on about Tendler's book, is as much about the MENTAL game of poker as it is about the technical game. There you go again, Jared.


I now kind of feel like I'm back to square one, or my post #1, having ventured out to face my tilt demos, only to go around in a circle, ending up facing the same MENTAL GAME sign I had left behind when starting off.

Though, maybe not quite. What if what looks like a circle actually were a spiral staircase, leading ever so slightly upwards?

Ah, sounds much better already. Actually, now that I think about it, I have made some progress.

Since starting this blog I have brought my bankroll management in order, eliminated my numb robot multi-tabeling routine and banned my money burning cash game sessions from my playing schedule.

As a result I've not only got rid of my worst C-game tilt excesses (hopefully for good). But I have also, by default rather than by design, managed to slightly increase my A-game number from 5 to 10 percent.

Kind of makes sense since you can't play your A-game while playing your C-game, but once you start dismantling C, A and B are happy to pick up the pieces and split C's share between them.

Admittedly, it's a rather round-about way of getting to A. But hey, why would I complain, still getting there!

So, on second thought, maybe that number thing wasn't so bad after all.

In fact, remembering my post #3, it might have been precisely during this first circle training that I have morphed from the flat-lining inchworm I used to be into a proud omega-shaped one.

Only, instead of inching forward on a nice flat surface, as I imagined, I seem to be inching upwards on a v-e-r-y slowly ascending spiral staircase.

OK, I'll stop here or you'll think I'm going nuts. 

Gotta go and work on moving my 'front foot' for/upward again...

See you at the tables or here.



PS: As you can tell, during my recent family gathering I had way too much time to think, and too little to play. Next post will be about hard facts again. 

In order to comment, you must login or register.
Take Quiz
New here? Take our Poker Assessment to start your education.
already a member? sign in here
JavaScript must be enabled for Sign In.
Please check your broswer settings.
Learn From basics to advanced strategy
Practice Improve your skills with our trainers
Win! Establish yourself as a winning player
/Featured Promotions/
Progressive Jackpot Progressive Jackpot Playing our new 'Scratch & Match' game is free and very easy. If you match 3 symbols you win a prize!!!! View details
Earn 10 Tournament Tickets Today! Earn 10 Tournament Tickets Today! Invite your friends to join Poker School and you could earn up to 10 tournament tickets as a reward! View details

Getting PokerStars is easy: download and install the PokerStars game software, create your free player account, and validate your email address. Clicking on the download poker button will lead to the installation of compatible poker software on your PC of 51.7 MB, which will enable you to register and play poker on the PokerStars platform. To uninstall PokerStars use the Windows uninstaller: click Start > Control Panel and then select Add or Remove programs > Select PokerStars and click Uninstall or Remove.

Copyright (c) All rights reserved, Rational Group, Douglas Bay Complex, King Edward Road, Onchan, Isle of Man, IM3 1DZ. You can email us on