The Mental Game of Poker 2 Graphics

For those of you who have listened to the audiobook version of The Mental Game of Poker 2, here are the images that are referenced in the book.

This image is from the beginning of Chapter 2, under the section Energy: “The Yerkes-Dodson Law illustrates the direct relationship between energy level (i.e., stress, emotion, and arousal) and performance. As you can see in the chart below, maximizing your performance does not mean maximizing your energy level. You need to find the level that works best for you.”


This image is also from the section Energy in Chapter 2: “Degree of challenge. While playing in soft games is often the most profitable way to game-select, keep in mind that you need to be sufficiently challenged in order to reach the zone. One of the most popular theories about the zone comes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychology professor and the author of the book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He defines being in the zone as a state of “flow” whereby a person is fully immersed in what they are doing. Csikszentmihalyi asserts that in order to achieve this state of flow, a balance must be struck between the skill of the performer and the challenge of the task. In other words, the performer needs to be sufficiently challenged and have enough skill in that task to meet the challenge. The graphic below illustrates the relationship between skill and challenge:


This image is from the section Learning in Chapter 2: “Participants continued picking cards, and as they did, the gap between the anticipatory SCR levels for the good and bad decks widened. This effect continued throughout the rest of the study, which consisted of 90 more card selections. However, something changed around the 50th card selection. At that point, when researchers asked if they had found a way to maximize profit, participants reported having a feeling or a hunch, but they couldn’t explain themselves. It was as though the knowledge about how to beat the game was on the tip of their tongue. Finally, after around the 80th card selection, the light bulb turned on—they could explain the difference between the good and bad decks. What started as a small, unconscious difference in stress reactions grew into a hunch, and eventually turned into conscious recognition.”


This image is from the beginning of Chapter 3, under the section Stages of Learning: “Locating a skill becomes much easier when you understand the unique features of each stage of the learning process. While these stages have already been covered in the ALM and the ZLM, the following guide will deepen your understanding by illustrating how your skill set can apply to each stage.”


This image is from the section Make Continual Progress, in Chapter 3: “At the heart of continual improvement is your A- to C-game analysis. When things start to go badly at the poker table, it can feel as though your game is in a free-fall. Knowing exactly what level your game has fallen to gives you something tangible to grab hold of. Rather than reminding yourself to just focus and play well, you have knowledge of what exactly needs your focus. If you rotate a bell curve 90 degrees counterclockwise, you’ll see a bell curve ladder. The better you’re able to define each rung in this ladder, the easier it is to stop your game from falling and to climb back up once your game has stabilized.”


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