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Grinding Hard & The Mental Game of Poker

May 9, 2012 1 comment

Just over a week into the month and things are looking pretty good. My friend Dave and I made a bet with each other to help motivate us to put in some solid volume. My side of the bet is to play 150k hands this month which was already one of my goals but a little added incentive can’t hurt. Dave’s is to play 60k hands (his is lower for various reasons). The bet is won if one of us hits their goal and the other doesn’t; if neither or both make it it’s a wash. At stake is $500 to the winner and $500 to a charity of their choice. I felt comfortable when the bet was made but then went through a few days of “oh noes” when it dawned on me that a) I was already behind pace and b) the most hands I have ever played in a month was around the 130k mark – and that was a December month with SNE waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. Now though I am back feeling comfortable for a few reasons:

  • I have already played 30k hands and while this is slightly behind pace, I only need to get in slightly over 5k hands per day. Totally doable.
  • I have no travel plans for the month and no significant time consuming events coming up.
  • I’m feeling really good about my game and my health both physically and mentally – this is one month I don’t envision getting burned out in.
MTD May 9th 2012

Month to Date

Going into a bit more detail on that last point – I have been eating exceptionally healthy for the last few days and plan to cut out alcohol entirely for the rest of the month. Both of these add up to having far more poker energy and will help me stay alert at the tables for longer. In addition to this I have been working my way through The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler. It’s a fantastic book. It’s not the easiest read – in fact I have hadThe Mental Game of Poker it downloaded on my iPad for a few months and it took my most recent and most concerted effort to get the book to stick. It’s not a book that you can just read cover to cover and expect to get help out of. There are exercises, writing tools, processes and learning models that require constant work. It’s worth it.

I now begin every poker session with a short warm-up which constitutes of getting myself into the right state of mind and looking over some pre-written notes about my overall game plan. I end sessions with a short cool down which is logging my results into a spreadsheet with a few ratings on my play and comments of the session. I focus more on keeping my attention on the tables and not on twitter, skype or reddit. 2p2 being down is certainly helping in this regard. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what is possible by applying the techniques within The Mental Game of Poker and am already noticing a marked improvement in my play. My results have been pretty good too but as they are subject to great variance I am learning to apply less weighting on day to day results and more on how well I play.

In other news it’s that time of year again at PokerStars and the SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) is upon us. Day 3 has just completed and I’ve only played two events – but all the omaha ones are yet to come and I don’t plan to miss any of them. I’ll make another post detailing my schedule a bit more. I also get to host two events as a part of my role as a part of team online – I will be hosting event #24 PLO 1R1A ($11/$109/$1,050) and event #36 PLO 6-max ($55/$530/$5,200). The structure is great in that anyone can give the SCOOP a shot starting out with their low events – so jump in and I’ll see you at the final table!