Jared doesn't spout feel-good mumbo-jumbo; This isn't patronizing psychobabble instead he peels back your poker-playing layers to indentify your specific issues (from backcover of 'The Mental Game')
I promised a journey to the land of the tilt-free. I definitely want to go there myself! Imagine a world without ups and downs while playing poker. You don't get upset (very much) and just handle your emotions as they arrive - and they always will unless you are a robot. The tool to get there is Jared Tendlers absolute astonishing book: 'The Mental Game of Poker'. Just hurry up and order it from: www.jaredtendlerpoker.com. And by the way I don't know the guy (even though it feels like he knows me!) and haven't got any economic interests in the book (unfortunately). While you wait for it to arrive, feel free to join me for the following questionnaire that you should do before starting on the book. It is like a self-diagnosing tool. I have no secrets for you so here are my answers (feel free to post yours in the comments):
1) First share a bit about yourself (education, interests, family, etc):
Grandmaster in Chess, Bachelor in Economics. Interested in almost everything but let's keep it down to 5 interests: Alternative rock, 'good' movies, traveling, politics and good books. Got a brother and a father plus a GF and a cat.
2) Briefly describe your poker history. How would you characterize your progress? What game(s)/ limit(s) do you play?
Played a bit in highschool and in private homegames during university. In 2004 I discovered onlinepoker. I started out with fixed limit and got to around the 15/30 limits before I shifted to No Limit in 2006. I quickly got to the midstakes and unfortunately have stayed there ever since. At the moment I mostly play 400NL. I have taken shots at 1000NL (actually got a small profit) but really don't feel comfortable up there (hopefully being tilt-free will help!). I have also played a lot of PLO (up till 600PLO) but the variance is too scary. I have worked on my game during the whole period and I am a much better player now - but so is everybody else..
3) What are you goals in poker? Short- and long-term.
Tough question! I want to improve - it is very satisfactory to feel that you are getting better at something. I also want to enjoy it (more) - recently I feel it has been very stressful. I still hope to feel comfortable at 1000NL one day, but the higher limits are not something I will pursue. I want to be economic independent! This is what I really want, just to be able to do whatever I like forever and know that I am economically fine. So let's say I want to make 2 Million dollars from poker.
4) What personal goals does poker support?
I really like the freedom the poker lifestyle provides. I also really really love to win (probably too much). Getting better at something is also very satisfying.
5) List and describe the problems in your mental game. List them in order of importance to you or by severity. Give as much information as you can, including the triggers, signs, and what you believe are the causes.
Wow! Now it get's serious. Dunno where to start...
A) Anger and fear is definitely a problem. I get angry in a lot of situations fex: 1) When the fish sucks out again (and again) (not accepting variance?) 2) When a Reg plays a hand terrible but somehow ends up stacking me (entitlement tilt?) 3) When someone seems to win every pot against me (feels like I am being owned - and hate to feel like a loser) 4) I get angry at myself for getting angry! (my rational I knows it makes no sense)
Fear also shows in different ways (I think it is some sort of fear) fex 1) My mind sometimes go blank in big pots - it is as if I can't think (or don't want to?) 2) I just hide behind 'theory' sometimes instead of taking responsibility for my results - could be something like Stacking of with top pair top kicker in a reraised pot (normally standard) against a übernit (not standard, and not recommended).
B) Variance get's to me: It is as if it builds and after being unlucky for long stretches I lose confidence and also begin to get frustrated earlier and earlier. I feel I am getting screwed by variance (injustice) - don't we all?
C) Risk aversion: I have said I wanted to give the big stakes a shot for years, but haven't done it. And deep down I probably don't want to - it feels good to have a very clear edge.
D) I don't work enough on my game. Dunno why really, but probably because I am rather busy (and still winning - as soon as I start losing I work more) - lack of motivation?
E) Lack of focus: After some hands my mind starts to drift and I check emails and stuff. Is getting better though.
F) I winquit: If I am up some 2k after a thousand hands I feel satisfied - I don't need to win more... So I quit and go home and feel good about myself (even though I shouldn't!). But when I am stuck I can play up till 7k hands to get unstuck... (to be honest I am very focused when down).
G) grudge and revenge - I used to have a lot of this but it is much better now. Very lucky (spanish!) shortstackers still annoy me though.
Feeling all depressed now... that was a long list. I will continue the questionnaire (27 questions to go) in the next blog (soon). Have a nice weekend!