Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Experiment in Taking Stuff Seriously

So I've been really frustrated with my results and hours put in this month. And I realized after a coaching session the other day that the kind of clarity and focus I have when analyzing a students hand should be what I strive for when I play. But for whatever reason I haven't had that kind of mindset in the latter half of 2011. The kind of focused, thinking, grinding mentality that I used to make a lot of money over the last three years.

Part of my problem is that I think I spent a lot of time studying the game when I wasn't playing as much this summer, and while all of that information is valuable for improving my ceiling as a poker player you have to be very careful how you implement new information. I think for one thing I got very very fancy and over aggressive and just assumed that I could make certain moves against people or that they were trying to make similar moves against me. In the end to make money a good solid ABC strategy goes a long way in most hands. It's great to know when to take a different line, or get thin value or run a big bluff against a regular. But those things are successful simply because we don't do them so often that our opponents begin to expect it as our normal play.

I think one common mistake is to start flatting 3 and 4bets because you think people are trying to run you over, and then just ending up with weak hands in bad spots postflop. Another is seeing a flop and thinking that you can easily rep a nutted hand and starting to a run bluff. Such bluffs tend to work a decent amount of the time, but they work because you don't do it every time you think it might work. For the last few weeks every flop looked decent to donk or check raise, and every hand looked good to flat or 3bet. And that's when you need to find a way to change you're mindset.

All of this gets to the point of the blog. In order to make myself take a more workman-like approach to my sessions I've started treating it like work. I'm starting at a certain time everyday. I'm playing until a certain time everyday. And everyday after my morning breakfast and shower I'm getting dressed in a dress shirt, slacks, and a tie. Yeah I know it seems counter-intuitive to the point of being a professional poker player. Part of the fun is being able to sit in your shorts and grind a few hours a day when you feel like it. But this is a job for me. And I have bills to pay and things I'd like to do with the money I earn. And so if my mental game is getting distracted or weak it's time to get back to treating it like a job.

The idea for this stems from when my friends and I used to get dressed up for tests in college. We felt like we performed better if we felt good about ourselves, and I think dressing well helps focus you and creates confidence. We would get up for early exams and shower, shave, and get cleaned up and then head to the test looking sharp. I think it definitely can help you get out of a rut, and I think it certainly sharpens your focus.

So far so good. Two days of 8 hours of work in a tie behind me and I'm already feeling better about my focus and results. I also don't mind getting a little bit cleaned up as I've always liked wearing ties.

will update later in the month with the continued experiment in dressing for success.

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