Hey guys, what is your intake on playing various formats?
When I started playing poker, I tried everything at once. I played home games, online MTTs and cash games, sometimes even visited the casino to play live. When I look back, I think this was holding me back quite a bit. 😊
Even when I started playing seriously, I played a lot os SNG, then I joined a group of players, and we traveled around EPTs and WSOP to play cash games, but I occasionally played tournaments as well (haven’t played many of those, to be honest, but still wasted some time).
Since I was trying to be good at everything, I probably became advanced in most games but did not master any of it to the highest level.
That changed when I quit messing around and concentrated all my attention on cash games, which is my main format for the last 6-7 years. So when you only play one format:
• You can devote more time to studying specific strategies for that game
• You get more time to practice what you learn in games
• It is much easier actually to structure the learning process
• Your play becomes more efficient because you can find more time to study your opponents
• You do not waste time and energy chasing quick profits
I found that this is good enough reasons for me to stick to one game and try to become as good as I can in it.
However, there are also advantages in jumping to different formats, especially when they are introduced, and players are poor at understanding how to play it (like a short deck, for example). Therefore, you can make more profit in the short-term but probably sacrifice some long-term EV.
So what do you think about it?
Is it better to pick what suits you the most and stick with this game, or you think cutting corners and trying new formats is a better way to go?
Feb. 8, 2020 | 7:08 a.m.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I just posted a comment where I also stated the importance of having some fun, otherwise, you will not last too long :) Maybe I will share my intake on learning in coming posts as well because you brought an excellent point here!
Jan. 17, 2020 | 1:58 p.m.
Hey guys, let's start this! My first post will be on the “IGNORING MENTAL PART OF THE GAME.”
I recently made A-Game Masterclass by Elliot Roe review and have to say that if I had something like this when I was starting, it would have saved me years and hard to imagine how much money on the way.
That being said, not only content like that was not available, but even top players in the world did not talk about the mental side of the game.
Even though I traveled and played with a group of professional players, a topic like getting enough sleep before the tournament, working out to have more energy, or eating healthy food was never the topic. Instead, we grabbed junk food before going to play and called it a dinner. Sometimes, added a couple of beers as well.
So when this is the reality of top players, how can you even think about the mental side of the game? You can’t, and almost no one did.
As a result, we experienced a lot of tilting without any reason and spewed a lot of money. While back in 2010, it did not look like a problem because people were playing very poorly, and you literally could print money, this approach is almost guaranteed to doom you in today's games. So if I had to do it all over again, I would surely act a lot differently and invest my time and energy into building the right habits.
• Healthy food and regular exercise can take you very far – I lost 20 kg and that dramatically improved my ability to stay focused and play longer sessions. When I started working out regularly, I almost instantly boosted my energy, which gave more concentration in the games, and that paid off very quickly.
• Remove all distractions when playing online – while somewhat valid in live games as well, the online poker world requires your full attention because the action is extremely fast. I used to watch a movie along with my play or read some interesting articles, but this looks ridiculous when I look back. Now, when I play, I close all messengers, turn off the TV, mute my phone and brief only poker. Guess how that changed my results lol
• Warm-up – this might sound like a cliche, but spending a couple of minutes before your session to take care of your basic needs and worm up your brains will change the quality of your decisions. I have tried different routines, but in my experience, even 15minutes is enough. I was not able to follow much longer warm-ups but even that is sufficient. You can listen to Elliot Roe mp3, or you can analyze a couple of hands or do anything else that gets you in the state for playing. It works wonders.
• Learn to detach from poker – it was a very hard thing for me to do for many years. I basically lived poker, most of my friends were poker players, and this was a primary topic in almost all conversations. While it does help to improve (probably not so much as you think), it can and did create many problems.
I was always thinking about poker. When running bad, I was angry at the world, and as a result, had many problems with my girlfriend and family, cause my mood was “not the best” to say the least. To make things better, I highly recommend having a hobby that has nothing to do with poker. This will help you take your thoughts of the game and live a “normal” life after your sessions. Also, what I noticed is that after I finish playing, it helps to watch some funny videos, read something not related to poker, or even see a movie if I have time. Simply put, learn to have some fun and to activities not related to poker, or you will not last long.
• Get proper sleep – it is even funny to write about it because many players are total “fish” in this matter. We like to go to bed whenever we like, get up late in the afternoon and so on. Do you think it helps or hurts?
With a pretty clear answer, I would say that having a regular sleeping routine going to bed and waking up at the same time (or close to it) every day, can help you the most from what we have covered. While it may not look like much, you are a few times less likely to tilt when you are fully rested, and of course, will make much better decisions. Even tournament players can manage it pretty well if they look at this seriously, so I highly recommend you trying it out. Oh, and get those five sleeping cycles with 90 minutes each (7,5h) and you will be good.
• Have a routine – plan in advance when you will be playing and even more so when you will be studying, otherwise, you can miss this part whatsoever. Having a clear routine what I do before the session, when I play, what I do afterward, when I study and so on helps to free a lot of your mental power so that you can use it where needed –making decisions in your session.
• Never start playing under the emotional influence – forcing myself to play when I was feeling bad never paid any dividends but was a relevant factor in many of my downswings. It is much better not play at all than play when you are not focused or feeling bad because of events not related to poker. I have noticed this pattern in many of my students when they forse themselves to play to get the volume but are not able to concentrate and make good decisions.
It gets even worse when players try to “outplay the downswing.” There is no such thing as the lasting downswing. If you run bad in the past, it has ZERO influence on your future results. However, your ability to make good decisions has a lot of fo influence, and when you are afraid to lose more, or as mentioned before, aren’t feeling good for whatever reason, don’t force yourself to play. You will thank me for this.
This is what helped me the most.
Hopefully, you can get some insight from the list. I did not realize how big of a column it will end up being when I sit down to write, so sorry for a big wall of text :)
Is there anything you would add to the list?
Jan. 17, 2020 | 1:55 p.m.
For quite some time, I wanted to start a thread in RIO to stay in touch with the community and share my thoughts, so I finally decided to go for it. I will take a minute to introduce myself and then follow with the rest of the thread.
I am Tadas, a poker player from Lithuania. I play this game since 2010 when I visited WSOP for the first time and decided to take it more seriously. I had many ups and downs over the years, had many different coaches, studied all sorts of training materials, and played from live games to various formats online. I also became a coach and started my poker blog, where I devoted a lot of my time and energy.
When I launched my site, I was actively coaching others but discontinued doing it, and lost a part of the pulse from the players. I want to regain that by chatting with the vivid community, so I feel that Run It Once is the right place for that.
Why I am writing this post
You can find plenty of strategy posts (not even talking about the videos on RIO alone), so I will not be repeating what was discussed many times over. I will not be talking about the strategy part, stakes, results, volume, etc.
Instead, I want to share my thought and hear what you think about growing mental capacity when progressing as a poker player. I will share my mistakes over the years, and what I would do differently if I had to start it all over again. Hopefully, we can make some conclusions and boost progress.
The biggest mistakes I made when I started
• I played different formats and jumped from one game to another way too often.
• I ignored the mental part of the game and tilted (spewed) a lot of money.
• I didn’t invest in my training and took it seriously way too late.
• I did not research where to play online and just jumped to the biggest site (costly mistake).
• I wasted a lot of time while consuming random content without an actual plan on how to study.
• I didn’t table select well because I thought I could beat anyone and lost a ton of EV because of it.
I will return to this tread and break down each of these mistakes with a separate post, but meanwhile, I would love to hear your thoughts.
Are you guilty of any of these sins?
What else is holding you back?
Share your thoughts, and we can take the discussion from there. Let's make 2020 the best year ever!!!