As part of the Mental Game contest, I asked a handful of readers who submitted partial stories in this survey, to go into more detail about their experience with the mental game. Yesterday I posted this story from StaticMoth (Pokerstrategy.com member), and last, and certainly not least is Aaron:
I knew long time ago that improving my mindset might have a huge impact on my winrate but i was to lazy to put some effort in and so i stayed at the point where i did nothing and was just playing my game. After i read the first 5 pages i realized that many problems i have by myself are pretty well illustrated and i bought the book right after. Jared Tendler explained and defined many problems in a very logic way without any sort of esoteric or nlp-anchoring stuff so it was a must for me to get the book. If you want to get a taste of it read the Q&A Threads and you will understand what i mean.
What i really have to say about this book is that if u wanna get the most out of it you can’t just read and after you’re finished every mindset problem is solved. I read about 30 sites every 2-3 days because i needed the time to think about where are my mental flaws, how can i use the stuff from the book best and what do i have to improve. It is like a manual for every different kind of tilt and it helped me alot to have them specified.
The most important thing i learned is that i have to understand variance much more than i thought. It’s the most essential thing since the understanding can fix almost any mental problem. So i learned to spot variance positive and negative. The spots where the money comes from is not getting it in with AAvsKK, KKvsQQ, etc…pp and dancing in front of my pc. The money comes from better value betting, better cbetting, have an eye on your ranges and the ranges from your opponents, being focused on the smaller pots as well maybe even more than on the bigger ones, etc…pp. I was focused only on the bigger pots and did only improve in these spots.
The 2nd thing i learned to handle is playing longer sessions without playing a B-game which is not profitable. It’s like the Inchworm moved forward and after 7k hand sessions my game is getting worse after 4-5k hands instead of falling down to my c-game and spewing off stack over stack after 2k hands. My new B-game is still profitable now and the inchwormsystem is a perfect plan how to learn new stuff and how to get better as player in general. I’m focused on spots where i want to improve and now i’m able to improve and learn with a system which i never had before. Well many people might have something like a learning system already but i never had since school was easy to come through without learning. I see my mistakes, learn theory and mark hands from spots where i normally make these mistakes an i review the hands after playing the session. Before i read the book it was like random reviewing and learning this or that but i never had a focus on specific parts of the game.
It helped me as well to keep staying focused on the game for a much longer time which is very important for me as a midstakes mass grinder. I won’t say i stopped tilting completly but a suck-out won’t crush my mind anymore and i tilt so less that i can almost ignore it. My biggest issue of going on tilt was making mistakes. Every time i failed making the same mistake again my mind was going crazy but now i know how to use the negative emotion to motivate me, to learn harder and to focus even more the next time in similar spots. And it is also the time to sit up straight, take a deep breath, refocus and keep grinding as nothing happened.
The 3rd bit improvement was that i stopped being result oriented. Finishing a session when up 10 stacks after 1k hands because i want to keep the winnings and i didn’t really want to play the next day because i’m up and i knew it will go down again but who cares it’s a part of the game watch it long term and play my pensum of hands. And when i was down 10 stacks i was afraid to keep playing because i can lose more…
I also had my biggest downswing in November running 45 stacks under ev, getting coolered and setups all the time and finished my first month being down a big amount of money. I just watched the hands and realised i played right, it was just variance and it will run the opposite way sometime again. I just have to stay focused and playing my game and the best thing is i also found some leaks and i could improve my game aswell. 1 year ago i would totally lose my confidence thinking my game is too bad to beat the stakes i play, my whole winnings came from a big upswing and totally losing certainty if my game was ever profitable. I just had to remember how much money i won the months before and according to that it was nothing. So i kept playing and the December started with 32 stacks up in the first 3 days. But instead of going crazy i knew it’s also variance i stayed cool and kept playing and working on my game.
At last i have to say that poker lost its huge influence on my real life and it’s not like the whole life fucks me up when i’m down and i’m not feeling like the boss when i’m up. My approach to the game became much more professional and i can treat it like a business.
Big thanks for the great work.