In this episode I answer a listener question about the characteristics of great poker minds: patient, open, calculating, non-emotional & striving for the best decisions.
In episode 80 I showed you how to count poker hand combos to aid your mathematical understanding of the game and the ranges of your opponents.
Great Poker Minds
Question 1 from Gil (1:35)
Love the show, thanks for putting it out. I’ve been a long time poker player, but I still have tons of mental game issues, like tilt and looking at results instead of how I’m playing. I really liked your podcast on The Mental Game of Poker and I’m going to read it soon, just need to find the time. What do you think I need to work on to fix my mental game?
Thanks and keep it up,
- That ‘Mental Game of Poker’ podcast was episode #19.
- Patient & Persevering – It takes years of dedicated study, practice and discussion with others to develop a solid and even great poker game. Great poker minds can weather any storm and they know that in the long run they’re winners, so small setbacks don’t affect them. They aren’t results oriented. Your task is to foster a love of learning within yourself, and to have the understanding that being a world class player will only result from years of study and putting lessons learned into action. Be positive and know that rewards will come to those who dedicate themselves to the study of poker.
- Open Minded – The great poker mind isn’t set in its ways. It never says, “That’s impossible,” or “That would never work.” You’ve got to be open to new ideas, and be willing to dedicate the time and effort into determining the effectiveness or profitability of any play or action at the tables. Your task is to always be open to new ideas, to dissect them and run the math yourself to test the validity. Don’t listen to others who tell you the “rules” of poker. Rules are made to be broken.
- Always Calculating – Great poker minds are dedicated to problem solving. They use necessary tools and years of experience to find what plays may work in a given situation. They dive deep into problems, run the math, and use imagination and problem solving skills to find how to make a situation profitable. The Poker Mind looks for errors in its opponent’s way of thinking and devises ways to exploit its weaknesses and tendencies. Your task is to think logically in solving every problem, and to think outside of the box when necessary.
- Never Emotional – Great poker minds are long past dealing with tilt as a major issue in the game. Great players have spent time off the felt in personal reflection to find what situations most often bring about tilt. Emotion can be good, so we don’t want to avoid emotions entirely. Great poker minds allow the good, performance enhancing emotions to be felt, but do their best and work to limit the negative emotions that bring about tilt and crappy play. Your task is to find what makes you tilt, then actively work each session on avoiding it.
- Strives to Make the Best Plays… Always – A great poker mind is constantly asking itself, “How can I win this pot?” with every hand it’s involved in, and there is no giving up. You need to realize that poker is a long-term game of good decision making, and the one who makes the best decision most of the time will come out a winner. Once the facts are considered and the great poker mind has determined the correct course of action, it takes it and doesn’t regret the outcome. It was working with the best information at the time of the decision, utilized all past experiences in making the decision, and proceeded to take action. Once you can accept the bad (or negative or unwanted) things in poker, the quicker you’ll be on the road to tilt-free poker. Your task is to put together all that you’ve learned, analyze each situation with your experiences and lessons in mind, and make a decision and take action. You can’t ask for more than that from yourself. If you do this properly, you will have no regrets in your poker career.
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In podcast #82, I’ll conclude the Hand Reading Lab series with part 8 where I’ll discuss the importance of asking great questions when studying and when playing poker. Voltaire said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.