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The Right Mindset

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The Right Mindset - Fri Feb 10, 2012, 05:09 AM
(#1)
Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,905
You need to have the "right" mindset when playing poker or your play will suffer.

This may seem obvious for many, but how often do you actually refrain from playing because you are not in the right frame of mind? Moreover, how do you actually get into the right mindset and stay there?

Ketchup143 posted a question about staying positive.. I thought my approach may be useful. I'm no pro, and I've never won a big MTT. In other words, I have plenty of experience losing and ending with "close but no cigar" finishes. I've played about 10 000 tourneys, and I have learned to have fun while playing.

Before Logging in to Pokerstars
Ask yourself these questions:
  • **What is my emotional state right now - tired, angry, sad or sick?
  • **Can I focus on playing poker right now - distracted by work, tv, the kids?
  • **What are my poker "beliefs" right now - convinced you are going to lose, get rivered on the bubble, poker is rigged, someone flipped the doom switch?

If you are experiencing any of these points, then you don't have an optimal mindset. Your best line is to refrain from logging in and wait for a better situation. Every poker book I've read talks about the importance of being in the right frame of mind when you are playing.

I've got the Proper Mindset, now what?
OK, so you are feeling good and logg in to Pokerstars. What can go wrong now?
  • **Don't play with scared money! Bankroll management is always important. Don't reg for buyin levels outside your comfort zone. It will impact your play.
  • **If you suffer a few bad beats, don't reg for a higher buyin level in order to recoup your losses! You don't "deserve to win", you are on tilt!
  • **If you suffer a major cooler in a game, but are still alive, recognize that you may be on tilt!
  • **Don't get upset about a few bad results. Get determined to improve your game. Could those situations have been avoided, played differently?

If you are suffering from short term tilt, take a break! Take a break and get back in the right mindset. This might mean sitting out for a hand or two. Stand up and get away from the computer screen. Smoke a cigarette, drink some water, go to the bathroom, whatever. Just change your environment, think about something else and take a time out. Once you have cooled off, get back to the table.

If you are still tilting, play a freeroll or play money or turn off your computer.

Dealing with Long Term Tilt
Have you been on a long losing streak? Your good hands never hold up? You keep tightening up your game. Fold the first 50 hands of a tourney then finally shove it all in there with AK only to lose to a big stack holding pocket 2s? Yes, I have spent plenty of time in this zone. Here is how I climbed out and have stayed out.
  • **Be honest with yourself! We all have leaks in our game, some big and some small, but we all have room for improvement.
  • **Recognize that Losing with the Best Hand is an inherent part of poker. That is why it is gambling!
  • **Recognize that there are many other elements to a hand of poker than just your cards: stack sizes, positions, player styles etc etc.

Shift your focus from Results oriented, to Improvement oriented.
Once you realize that you can improve your game, start learning so that you can start improving! That is why I am here at PSO.This is no different than playing sports. I played college hockey (a million years ago). You have to practice and put in your time. Focus on the small details. Try to focus on and improve specific issues every time you practice or compete. By working on the small stuff, you will gain a positive feeling of achievement. This positive feeling is the key!

**Firstly, it (re)builds confidence.
**Secondly, it leads to satisfaction that you read the situation and made a smart play.
**Thirdly, confidence and satisfaction lead to Having Fun While You Are Playing!

Have Fun WHILE Playing
We all dream of the big final table cash, winning a Sunday Million, or turning pro. We all want to make money playing poker. But why in the world would you want to play poker all day if you are not having fun WHILE you are playing? Frustration is not fun!

Focus on your play. Get pleasure from improving. Get pleasure from making good reads and good plays. Stop dwelling on the results. Accept that the best hand doesn't always win, but that if you keep making the right moves, and are having fun, the results will eventually follow.

I hope this helps!

GL and HAVE FUN at the tables!


Roland GTX
 
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Fri Feb 10, 2012, 06:39 AM
(#2)
annie_22at90's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 864
Great post Roland

I hope a lot of players bookmark it and come back to it often to help them when their "game" or "game plan" isn't going to "plan".
 
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Fri Feb 10, 2012, 06:47 AM
(#3)
Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by annie_22at90 View Post
Great post Roland

I hope a lot of players bookmark it and come back to it often to help them when their "game" or "game plan" isn't going to "plan".
Thanks annie!

I hope people bookmark it too. I just regged from the member of the month promo and need all the views I can get

GL and have fun!

Roland GTX
 
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Fri Feb 10, 2012, 07:04 AM
(#4)
royalraise85's Avatar
Since: Jul 2011
Posts: 26,027
(Community Coordinator)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland GTX View Post
I hope people bookmark it too.
I bookmarked it anyway, I think it's a great post!

Raiser


Moderator

Bracelet Winner


 
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thanks roland - Tue Feb 14, 2012, 11:56 AM
(#5)
jimmycheen's Avatar
Since: Jan 2011
Posts: 26
BronzeStar
o'k that is the kinda stuff i need to heed alot of honesty in that post i defo need to improve i have the mindset that i'm better than most but the truth is i suck i think i know better and thus stint growing more because of it but there was plenty of meat in your post thanks for putting it up roland
 
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Tue Feb 14, 2012, 12:11 PM
(#6)
effsea's Avatar
Since: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,609
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland GTX View Post
You need to have the "right" mindset when playing poker or your play will suffer.

This may seem obvious for many, but how often do you actually refrain from playing because you are not in the right frame of mind? Moreover, how do you actually get into the right mindset and stay there?

Ketchup143 posted a question about staying positive.. I thought my approach may be useful. I'm no pro, and I've never won a big MTT. In other words, I have plenty of experience losing and ending with "close but no cigar" finishes. I've played about 10 000 tourneys, and I have learned to have fun while playing.

Before Logging in to Pokerstars
Ask yourself these questions:
  • **What is my emotional state right now - tired, angry, sad or sick?
  • **Can I focus on playing poker right now - distracted by work, tv, the kids?
  • **What are my poker "beliefs" right now - convinced you are going to lose, get rivered on the bubble, poker is rigged, someone flipped the doom switch?

If you are experiencing any of these points, then you don't have an optimal mindset. Your best line is to refrain from logging in and wait for a better situation. Every poker book I've read talks about the importance of being in the right frame of mind when you are playing.

I've got the Proper Mindset, now what?
OK, so you are feeling good and logg in to Pokerstars. What can go wrong now?
  • **Don't play with scared money! Bankroll management is always important. Don't reg for buyin levels outside your comfort zone. It will impact your play.
  • **If you suffer a few bad beats, don't reg for a higher buyin level in order to recoup your losses! You don't "deserve to win", you are on tilt!
  • **If you suffer a major cooler in a game, but are still alive, recognize that you may be on tilt!
  • **Don't get upset about a few bad results. Get determined to improve your game. Could those situations have been avoided, played differently?

If you are suffering from short term tilt, take a break! Take a break and get back in the right mindset. This might mean sitting out for a hand or two. Stand up and get away from the computer screen. Smoke a cigarette, drink some water, go to the bathroom, whatever. Just change your environment, think about something else and take a time out. Once you have cooled off, get back to the table.

If you are still tilting, play a freeroll or play money or turn off your computer.

Dealing with Long Term Tilt
Have you been on a long losing streak? Your good hands never hold up? You keep tightening up your game. Fold the first 50 hands of a tourney then finally shove it all in there with AK only to lose to a big stack holding pocket 2s? Yes, I have spent plenty of time in this zone. Here is how I climbed out and have stayed out.
  • **Be honest with yourself! We all have leaks in our game, some big and some small, but we all have room for improvement.
  • **Recognize that Losing with the Best Hand is an inherent part of poker. That is why it is gambling!
  • **Recognize that there are many other elements to a hand of poker than just your cards: stack sizes, positions, player styles etc etc.

Shift your focus from Results oriented, to Improvement oriented.
Once you realize that you can improve your game, start learning so that you can start improving! That is why I am here at PSO.This is no different than playing sports. I played college hockey (a million years ago). You have to practice and put in your time. Focus on the small details. Try to focus on and improve specific issues every time you practice or compete. By working on the small stuff, you will gain a positive feeling of achievement. This positive feeling is the key!

**Firstly, it (re)builds confidence.
**Secondly, it leads to satisfaction that you read the situation and made a smart play.
**Thirdly, confidence and satisfaction lead to Having Fun While You Are Playing!

Have Fun WHILE Playing
We all dream of the big final table cash, winning a Sunday Million, or turning pro. We all want to make money playing poker. But why in the world would you want to play poker all day if you are not having fun WHILE you are playing? Frustration is not fun!

Focus on your play. Get pleasure from improving. Get pleasure from making good reads and good plays. Stop dwelling on the results. Accept that the best hand doesn't always win, but that if you keep making the right moves, and are having fun, the results will eventually follow.

I hope this helps!

GL and HAVE FUN at the tables!


Roland GTX
+1000 on this,

Having The Right Mindset is all....... IMO

cheers
 
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Wed Feb 15, 2012, 06:02 PM
(#7)
akisno's Avatar
Since: Oct 2010
Posts: 41
Nice post.
Roland any credits or it's yours?
 
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Wed Feb 15, 2012, 06:36 PM
(#8)
Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by akisno View Post
Nice post.
Roland any credits or it's yours?
Thank you (I hope) !

I have read plenty of poker books (Moshman being my favorite). The importance of being in the right frame of mind; not playing drunk, tired, etc is a recurring theme in most. Nothing is created in a vacuum; however, the content and the wording in the op is mine alone. I respect the creativity of others and wouldn't be caught dead plagerizing the hard work of another!

You may have noticed by the length of my posts that I enjoy writing. Sometimes I get lucky and write something apparently worth reading

GL and have fun at the tables!

Roland GTX
 
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Fri Feb 17, 2012, 05:15 PM
(#9)
akisno's Avatar
Since: Oct 2010
Posts: 41
Yes it's a great post.
I had read smt similar, but the subject is common and plays a huge factor on the game.
Quote:
the content and the wording in the op is mine alone. I respect the creativity of others and wouldn't be caught dead plagerizing the hard work of another!
Thanks for the reply.
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 05:07 AM
(#10)
Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,905
Shameless Bump

This is a really old post, but it still helps me out from time to time. It might be worth reading

GL and have fun at the tables!

Roland GTX
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 09:48 AM
(#11)
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,355
Great post.

I actually think the "mental" side of poker is one of the main things that prevents players from moving up the stakes, and causes them to get stuck at one particular level. The biggest winners often don't have super soul reads or make super-sick bluffs. They just play their A-game more often than other regs.
Since tilting off your stack can mean you lose 100bb or more in one hand, it will often take 2000 hands (at 5bb/100) to recoup the losses. Players that don't tilt never have to recoup those losses, because they don't make the big mistake in the first place.


Bracelet Winner
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 11:37 AM
(#12)
mike2198's Avatar
Since: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,485
I have to recoup losses from last night because i got rivered a load of times and i still never tilted sure i might make mistakes here and there but when you 3bet your AKs and villain calls and the flop comes AKK and you end up all in thinking your getting your money in good and the villains turns over aces when he should of 4 betted you pre at 5nl thats not my fault he just stacked me for $5 thats just bad luck.

In the same night i had pocket 8s i didnt even get raised when i opened but i flop top set on a dry board i bet 3 quarters of the pot villain goes all in he has pocket AA would you believe it im laughing well your aces are no good now you should of 3 betted pre and picked up the dead money but no he has 2 outs and what hits the river a ACE, i just cant believe it within the 1k hands i played at zoom i got rivered and my boats getting destroyed all in 1 night after i just made $12.
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 01:17 PM
(#13)
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,355
Mentally-tough poker players don't get upset about one bad session, Mike.

Poker is one long session, and past results have no bearing on future success. A solid pro often won't even check to see how much money he made or lost in a particular session. All he cares about is making correct decisions.


Bracelet Winner
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 01:46 PM
(#14)
ferdyr77's Avatar
Since: Dec 2011
Posts: 88
Nice post Roland.

I personal also have some sort of tilt someday. Bad sessions, auto pilot, over confidence etc. But I do read Jared Tendler his books "the mental game of poker" that also helps a lot. Finished book 1 and started with book 2. Actually from all the "poker" books I have those are the best
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 02:41 PM
(#15)
mike2198's Avatar
Since: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,485
Its alright for pros though Arty there making a mint i could do without all the times i get rivered i need to build a roll and get off 2nl, i go upto 5nl every now and again and make money but i come back down because i know a couple of coolers will take my roll clean out i could sit at 5nl lose $2 waiting around for a monster to the blinds and weak hands then flop a set like i did ages ago and villain rivers a straight boom theres my stack, i lost $9 in a hand i got rivered on which is far to much for my roll so thats why im stuck at 2nl when i wouldnt be had i not got so many players getting so damn lucky everyday.

I can count on 1 hand how many times i suck out i dont even wanna add up my losses through coolers because i would feel sick haha, my game still needs work anyway so while im stuck making peanutz i can still learn.
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 03:30 PM
(#16)
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,355
Do you really think pros never run into coolers or get rivered? Winrates at higher stakes are much lower. The variance is absolutely brutal. It's not uncommon for 50NL grinders to break even for 100,000 hands or more, and in the middle of their break-even stretch, they might drop 40 buy-ins or something like that.

Viktor Blom has been known to win $2 million in 7 hours, and then lose more than that the next day. Gus Hansen is down $10 million over several years on Full Tilt. Do you hear him moaning about bad beats?

If 50NL players worried about losing 3 buy-ins, or focused on a couple of bad beats, they'd be dead money. Profitable poker requires mental toughness, and it only gets tougher and tougher as you move up the stakes. If you can learn to control your emotions at the lower stakes, then you'll be in good stead when you have the bankroll and winrate to move up. Like I said, many players get stuck at 5NL, 10NL, or even 2NL, because they simply can't cope with the inevitable downswings.
To a certain extent, I'm one of the guys that's "stuck". I've never felt comfortable playing 10NL, let alone higher, which is why I play way over-rolled. The bad beats and suck-outs don't hurt so badly, and I'm quite used to them. I had a really bad session this morning and dropped about 3 buy-ins, but I couldn't tell you what the hands were. They just registered in my head as "coolers" and I moved on to the next session. To move up, you simply have to accept that it won't be smooth sailing. You've got to take your lumps.


Bracelet Winner
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 05:05 PM
(#17)
mike2198's Avatar
Since: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,485
Yh i know they get coolers like everyone im just saying to people like me its worse because theyve already met there goal they dont need to move up the stakes i do ive actually learnt to cope with coolers now and if i just lost at $5 stack at 5nl i dont start playing like a idiot next hand, i just wish my roll would grow faster.

On the other hand its good im not moving up the stakes i thought i was ready for 5nl 3 weeks ago but i just wasnt ready then, i know alot more now but even now i know im leaking chips here and there, i still got some of the training vids to go through anyway and i always learn something new i havent even seen the c betting vid yet which will save me money abit like when you said dont cbet that flop someone always has a jack.
 
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Thu May 16, 2013, 05:24 PM
(#18)
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,355
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike2198 View Post
Yh i know they get coolers like everyone im just saying to people like me its worse because theyve already met there goal
I'm not sure I agree, but I'm not a full-time professional poker player. Many of the Supernova players play poker for their livelihood, putting in 100,000 hands of 50NL/100NL every month, to make a few thousand dollars to pay their rent and utility bills. When a bad streak of variance kicks in and they have a breakeven month or two, it's a lot worse than you or I losing a couple of 2NL buy-ins.
I mean, imagine working for 50 hours a week for a whole month playing 100NL and not earning a single cent! That's a reality for serious grinders of 50NL+. Without solid bankroll management and some tilt-control, a breakeven grinder of 100NL could be out on the street if he hits a downswing.


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Thu May 16, 2013, 05:55 PM
(#19)
iggyo's Avatar
Since: Jul 2010
Posts: 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtySmokesPS View Post
I actually think the "mental" side of poker is one of the main things that prevents players from moving up the stakes, and causes them to get stuck at one particular level.
I totally agree. I was just reading a thread on 2p2 about how a guy quit his well-paying gov't job to play poker full time. There were lots of people calling him crazy but I suspect that they aren't winning players. He is now making a decent "salary" playing live poker. Clearly, he knew what he wanted, set out a plan and executed with the proper mindset.

Having the proper mindset is of utmost importance but I find that having a plan is also important. What do you intend to accomplish with poker in the long run? in the next month? in the next session? in the current hand? in the current betting round? If you have these clearly mapped out before you begin and have the proper mindset, you will succeed, imo.

Great post, Roland and excellent advice!


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