As I began to study - the content is too valuable simply to read - The Mental Game Of Poker, I found my thoughts sounded like blurbs in a movie ad. "Dense, intense and worth the expense," came to mind. "Raises the bar so high for poker mindset books, other thinkers may not be able to clear it." "If it doesn't change your life, it will certainly change your game." Stuff like that. I am a life coach, a writer, a poker player and a collector of poker books. I have every poker mindset book ever written, Chauchan, Steffens, Schoonmaker come first to mind, but, with the help of Barry Carter, Jared Tendler has managed to surpass them all.
Sub-titled Proven Strategies For Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping With Variance, And More, Tendler's tome offers a low-cost opportunity to sit down with a great mind and focus on a specific issue.
Clients of the author - people like Dusty "Leatherass" Schmidt and Taylor "GreenPlastic" Caby offer personal anecdotes, explaining the actual tactics utilized and ensuing results.
There's more. Strewn throughout are bold-face notes.
You don't control how you run, so why focus on it? You're a shitty psychic and can't predict when it's going to turn around. All you can do is keep playing well.
(I especially recommend this book to all USA online players who are waiting for the game to return. Know this book, really know what it teaches, and you will be more profitable than you have dreamed.)
Here's an excerpt, a tiny sampling of the wisdom offered in The Mental Game Of Poker, which spoke volumes to me.
Illusion of Permanence
Confidence problems are created when you believe the illusion that the constantly changing aspects of poker somehow won’t change in the future. Believing the illusion that the constantly changing aspects of poker somehow won’t change in the future creates confidence problems. For example, when you’re running terribly, you assume it will never end. When you are running hot, it’s just a matter of time before you are playing up at Rail Heaven. In both scenarios, the illusion that what’s happening now continues indefinitely into the future fuels intense emotions. It’s as if you’ve pressed the repeat button on the present, or what you’re imagining in the present, and it just continues to play out that way in the future. A great run or a terrible run is assumed to continue, so your confidence artificially increases or decreases.
This is flawed because poker is a dynamic game that is constantly changing. For example, many internet players during the Moneymaker/PartyPoker days assumed the games would continue to be soft. They got complacent, stopped working on their game, and got lapped by players who worked harder. If you fail to keep up with the changing dynamics in the game, like them you also could end up out of the game.
Assuming your opponents won’t adjust is another example of this illusion. If you were getting destroyed by the same player over a good sample, you’d work hard to figure out why, so you could play better against them. You’re not going to give up and just passively keep showing up to get your ass handed to you. Yet that’s what you’re assuming your opponents are going to do. If you expect to keep destroying the same player and then they start beating you, you’ll just brush it off as variance without considering that they may now have an edge on you.
Here are some other flaws that create the illusion of permanence:
1. Expecting to always play your A-game.
Unconscious Competence is the only part of your skill set you can expect to show up by doing nothing other than sitting down at the table. Everything else is in the process of being learned and requires focus and thought to perform correctly. However, if you expect to play your A-game without putting in the energy at and away from the table, you’re signaling to your brain not to focus on the skills currently being learned. You believe your A-game is automatic, so you presume that all the skills being learned are automatic as well. By expecting to play your best, it’s practically guaranteed that you won’t.
Your A-game is a moving target. As you improve, your A-game also advances. Playing your best all the time is possible, though still difficult even if you consistently and aggressively work to improve your game. However, the players who tend to struggle with this flaw believe playing their A-game is something they can expect. So they show up at the table having done very little, if any, work on their game and expect their best to just show up.
2. Potential vs. Actual.
Your potential is what you believe you’re capable of achieving. Your actual skill or results is what you have already achieved. When players believe their potential is already proven, their confidence artificially increases because these imagined results produce feelings of confidence in a similar way as real results. Since these results haven’t been proven yet, it doesn’t take much to expose the truth. Even just one losing session is enough.
Until you have enough results, knowledge, and experience to prove that you have realized your potential, dial back your level of certainty and keep working.