“I Want to Outplay My Opponent”
When Jared Tendler was my mental game coach, he showed me the importance of goals. Before I met him, I didn’t know why I played poker. If you asked me, “why do you play poker?” I may have been capable of stating reasons (“To make money” “To get good at something” “To achieve a high level of mastery”) but I didn’t know really. After working with him for a couple of months, I got very clear about it. There we’re 2 reasons:
1) I enjoy figuring out how to beat the game.
2) I enjoy the competition of going head to head with another intelligent person and attempting to outwit them.
I realized soon after that when I played well, these goals we’re at the forefront of my mind. I would play someone, and feel the joy of thinking deeply about how I can outplay him. I would talk to Danny about strategy, and get downright giddy over the prospect of incorporating this strategy into my game. When I played poorly, I was worried more about how I was actually faring (i.e. was I down or up? Did my opponent just own me?) than the actual process. I would sulk looking at my stats and the unconfident fear that we all know of, “Am I good?” would settle in.
Today marks the beginning of the 4th week of being in Vancouver in all out grind mode. So far, it hasn’t gone particularly well.
The graph below is exclusively hyper-turbo HU sngs, and it’s not pretty. Even though I’m clearly running poorly (I’m 40 buyins under EV), even if I were running at expectation I would barely be beating the rake. That being said, I play almost exclusively regs and in my entire lifetime of poker my showdown winnings have been higher than my non-sd. The EV line may not tell the whole story. Looking at these results, I’m proud of how I have done so far.
Since I’ve been here I’ve been working ridiculously hard on my game, using cardrunners ev and flopzilla and my database to analyze common spots. I think my game strategically has gotten to a great place. However, reflecting on this trip, I think where I’ve been lacking is my mental game. When I play my best, all I’m thinking about is how to outplay my opponent, and the running bad that I’ve gone through on this trip has clouded that. I easily forget about it during sessions and go into sulk mode, where I expect to lose.
So now that I have 2 weeks left in this beautiful city I am refocusing on my mental game. Instead of rating myself after each session on how well I think I played, I’m going to grade myself on my attitude. I think that this will improve my game tremendously and also make the grind even more enjoyable.
Good Luck Everyone!