Lagasaurus's avatar


168 points

My biggest mental leak

Yesterday I had a bad session, I lost 10 buy ins, I usually have this type of session 1 or 2 times a month, but every time I have this type of session I realize that I did not lose just because of the bad variance (although I had a lot ), but I also lost because I made mistakes, so I want to learn from these mistakes to avoid them next time.

Usually something happens like this: I start losing 5 buy ins in a row, this already starts to shake my emotional a little, so I stop the session and I give a break to recover mentally, but if when I return I lose I realize that it is It's easier for me to start making mistakes. My mistakes are always calling too much, it seems that consciously, or maybe even unconsciously, I want to recover the lost money as fast as possible, causing me not to want to fold the pot, because every time I fold I make my chances of winning the pot zero.

This is something I've noticed previously in me, and I'm better than before, but I'm not satisfied, I was seeing some pots of yesterday and I clearly saw some 4 hands that I didnt need to have made the 50bb + investment. Do not get me wrong, I know that losing 10bi in one day is quite possible to happen, and I'm kinda "used to it", but when it happens I have 2 options:
1. I ignore and say that it is variance
2. I accept that it had a bit of variance, but most likely I did not play as well as I play when I am winning and I see it as a chance to find my leaks that I would not otherwise I would've won.

If you have ever read something from my blog you realize that I'll take option number 2.

What do I do then? The next time I realize that I'm losing a lot in a row, I'll force myself to fold in close spots because they're already close anyway, and if I call 3 of them for example and I'm wrong, it's very likely that I'll start to invest my money in spots that aren't even close anymore.

Anyway, I recommend this approach for y'all readers, always looking for evolution and responsibility, never victimizing yourself by what happens. When we accept that we made mistakes, analyze them and create strategies to minimize them, next time the situation arises we will have a much clearer vision and will be able to instantly recognize those things and adjust properly.


July 10, 2019 | 2:36 p.m.


Hey guys, June is over and it was a month that I ended up doing less volume than I wanted, I really focused more on studying than the previous month, but I still consider my volume good

I had a bad period in the middle of the month and it ended up affecting my game a little bit, but I ended up recognizing these things and managed to change, by the end of the month I was already playing my A game very focused again.
One thing I don't hear often about downswings or breakeven periods is that they don't really exist in the present and that they are a great opportunity for you to see what was wrong with your game instead of crying all day because of the variance.

Downswings usually look like this:

negative variance> mental game affected by negative variance> the player starts to play worse than before> his winrate decreases> minor winrate = more variance> starts to make plays that he would not do before because he wants to recover the money> he is no longer playing in the level that was in relation to the beginning of the downswing> starts to lose by the fact of playing badly> the whole thing turns into a snowball and he ends up losing for much longer than he "should"

As you can see, just the fact of saying "I'm in a downswing" is already a tremendous victimization, downswing is not a thing you are in, downswing is just a set of results in the past, the present has nothing to do with these results, the previous day does not influence anything today, it is the same as saying that a coin has more chance of falling in "heads" in that move because in the previous fell "tails".

Very rarely a player has a large period of losses on account of only variance, almost always it will be because he is playing worse in that period than in the period in which he was winning (I include myself in it), thus leading to a extended period losses.

Another thing in those periods is that they give us a chance to see mistakes that we do not see when we are winning, that is, when we start to be called more often and lose we can start to analyze these spots more deeply and see if everything is ok (since nobody plays perfect poker, there's always room for improvement), so you can use those losses to evolve your game.

Changing the subject a little bit, this month I'm going to travel to BSOP Winters with Rodrigo and Zinhão so we can meet Saulo there in SP, so my volume will suffer a bit from that, but I'll take advantage of it to try harder and increase my daily hands volume, I want to make 80k hands in July.

That's all folks, GL all!



July 1, 2019 | 5:09 p.m.

Thinking better about the hand now, since this is HU I think it's a pretty str8 fwrd value bet, he still gets called by a lot of worse hands

June 10, 2019 | 12:47 a.m.

wow strange by his part. what do you think of his play?

June 9, 2019 | 10:30 p.m.

Thanks! I'm sure that they are equally important, I felt the importance of mental game when I was struggling last year even tho I had the technical necessary to beat the games I was playing

June 5, 2019 | 2:39 p.m.


Outliers have a tendency of not believing they are outliers, looking at their own path deterministically etc, attributing success to hard work and grit. I would say almost anyone playing poker professionally is an outlier one way or another.

June 1, 2019 | 9 p.m.

I don't think you are average, at minimum you are one of the best regs of 200z, I play there, I can say it confidently, you are a hard player to play against, there are some regs on 200z that I dont know how they still play there, Ofc we don't have much sample against each other,but besides you and Saulo, one of the other regs that I find tough to play against is sowiet, there are like 5-10 more regs that I consider a little tricky to play against that play a lot, but there are a lot of average regs. I dont know if you are being modest (and maybe that's your natural way to be) but you certainly arent an average reg, and I don't think an average reg is able to have a 7bb winrate, I consider myself average and for sure don't have this winrate (yet =P)

June 1, 2019 | 8:59 p.m.

Congratulations man! What was the medicine you took for the redline? lol just kidding, keep on crushing my friend

June 1, 2019 | 8:51 p.m.


Hey guys, May is over and it's I did some different things than before. Because of SCOOP I decided to dedicate myself more to the grind and didnt study much, but still studying something in about 4 to 5 times a week. The field was easier with but nothing of another world, I believe that the WCOOP may be better because it's winter in europe and ppl stay more at home, but just trying it to find out.

This month my emotional control improved even more, and it was not by chance, 80% of the days before I started the daily grind I did some kind of meditation of 10 minutes, I used Elliot Roe's Primed Mind or Headspace, both apps have different approaches, Primed is more to make you stay very focused on what you are going to do and think a little more about things, put a clear intention. On the other side Headspace is much more traditional meditation, very quiet every moment and is a little more mindfull in my view. In the old days I hated Primed Mind for the fact that the guy is never silent and let you focus on your breathing alone, but today I can see that the proposal is really different and I'm enjoying it. It's quite interesting to realize that the days I'm less willing to do this mental preparation are the ones I need it the most, it's only 10 minutes that can make a good difference during the game.

Another thing I wanted to say is that one of the most important things to be successful in this industry is to create a routine, you will not have any boss to tell you to do something or someone forcing you to study / play x hours a day , so it's you who have to be your own boss. One of the biggest lessons I've learned from poker is the creation of discipline, I was never a very organized guy with what I did or the environment that I was, mainly because I did not see value in what I was doing, in the case things related to school. I will not even begin to dwell on this subject because we all know how the school environment can be discouraging.

My daily routine is something like this: I wake up between 9 and 10 in the morning, I drink my coffee with butter, coconut oil and cinnamon, start studying some specific theme or hands played the day before, try to understand the spot deeply and study more or less 1 hour and a half. After that I play of about 2 hours, normally I play 50 minutes and rest 10 (best thing of zoom is to be able to do this). Then I have lunch (little carbohydrate here to not make me sleepy), I play or study about 1 to 2 hours and I go to the gym, I get back, eat, have a cold shower (very important to put the mind in the right place and get more focused), do the mental preparation with Primed or Headspace and start the grind, usually playing around 5 hours and end my day, but the nightly routine can be a little unpredictable.

When you put a routine that you create yourself and are trying to improve every day, you begin to see meaning in everything you do, and it becomes very difficult to be unmotivated to do what has to be done. You have created the routine, you know why this is important, you have all responsibility for your performance, you know you need constant hard work, you understand more and more why each detail in your routine and how each detail will help you perform better in what demands the greatest concentration and mental effort of your day.

Anyway, I hope I have helped those who feel unmotivated to grind / study by sharing a little of what I do, when you already have everything programmed it is no longer necessary to spend mental energy thinking about what will be done next, and it makes procrastination more unlikely, everything is easier. Consistency is imperative to reach the top of this industry.

Pokerwise it was a very good month, I ran well obviously but also felt very comfortable playing 200z, each time realizing more places in the game tree that the regs still make mistakes, as you can see by the graph, I ended up changing to HM2, because of the filters and some specific HUD stats. I'm really enjoying it, it's much better than PT4 in general.

I am very satisfied with my volume too, I admit that there were moments that I had to "force" myself to play, I think that happened because I did not study much, one of the biggest motivators to play for me is to study, apply new concepts that I learned by putting my hand in the dough and see how the field reacts. I think now in June I wont do 90k hands again, but who knows.

I also started coaching and it is very interesting, just reviewing simple concepts already helps me when studying and further refining this base. It's also interested in working on my didactics to really get the student to understand why the strategies and concepts are the way they are.

That's it, GL all!


June 1, 2019 | 8:46 p.m.

Congratz! Your goal is very nice, GL!

May 21, 2019 | 2:39 a.m.

Wow! I'm moving to Finland right now lol.
Yeah, being aware of your biases is the first step to overcome them, I'm sure that you will suceed at higher stakes at the moment you decide to move up. GL man!

May 20, 2019 | 1:49 p.m.

Yeah, but I dont know how are the taxes in OP's country too, maybe there's no incentive in winning more if after taxes he would win the same with only more stress

May 19, 2019 | 8:37 p.m.

The importance of not feeling sorry for yourself

I was watching a video of James Obst, today on mental game and he touched on one subject that I think is EXTREMELY important and that will lead to an improvement in all other mental leaks of all players. Basically it's the concept of not being considered unlucky or complaining about how unfair the world is with you, man, considering that you're reading this forum, I already know some things: first, you have access to the internet, you have access to online poker, you have a cell phone or computer among thousands of other privileges, so consider yourself more lucky than a lot of people.

If you have access to online poker, you have access to something that about 20 years ago was considered impossible: making money at home any time you are willing to work without having to justify yourself to any boss, sometimes I think that people have no concept of how this is a huge privilege, if I open the lobby of any poker site there will be games from micro stakes to at least midstakes at any time of day, so just think a little about this. Another thing I see happening too much is a lot of people saying that today poker is difficult, it used to be easy to earn money and blah blah blah .. What I think when I see these kind of people is a lot of crying babies wanting easy money with as little work as possible, if you are one of those people, I recommend you to quit poker today, because the games will not get easier from now on.

Where do I want to go? Dude, try at least make the experiment to save your "bad luck" for yourself, NOBODY cares if you took a bad beat, if you're running bad, if the regulars have improved .. Instead, start to post those hands that you hit your draw and extracted the stack from the guy, about that recreational player that decided to bluff you when you had the nuts and etc, in this community if what you want is to get out as this unlucky person, it's the easiest thing in the world, there will be a lot of people to tell you that you don't deserve this run, that you're the most unlucky guy in the world, among other things.

If you post on forums or share hands with friends, try sharing those you were "lucky", try to talk about how you're doing well, and if that's not the case, learn to keep your lamentation to yourself and do something that in fact it will help you improve your winrate. I see a lot of people saying that the solvers and the dissemination of knowledge killed the game, when I see these things I see from another perspective: if a person really wants to do well in this game, he has ALL the tools needed for this, compare it to having to know that restricted group of people who only talk about strategy between themselves, now you have the opportunity to search for information, buy a solver and learn to use, for example, you can send me a message here about what to study and where to study or which coaches I recommend.

Finally, if you have the chance to win money with this game, STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF, YOU ARE LUCY.

May 16, 2019 | 4:11 p.m.

Very interesting, I'm sure you are on the top3 200z regs, so that's why I asked about moving up. I think that the tipping point is when you percieve that there's no benefit in staying on a level that you already crush. This can be seen by many different ways, one is for the money - you make more money on higher limits (on average), the challenge - by playing better regs you have to improve more your understanding of the game, and some other factors.

I'm not trying to say that you should move up, that's totally personal, and it's a thing that I have struggled a lot during my carrer, I was a nit in takings shots. But anyways man, GL on your carrer, you are already a crusher and I'm sure you have the potential to beat the highest stakes :)

May 13, 2019 | 9:20 p.m.

Hey man, I saw you response to Elliot, don't you see a motivation in moving up to highstakes?

May 5, 2019 | 3:10 a.m.

Hey man, yeah, my tip is to get the most of free content, here in RIO you'll find the resources for that, for example Saulo's blogs has a lot of free stuff and in there he recommends what to study. I reccomend you to just stick to one approach, do not try to get a lot of coaches at once, it will confuse your brain. I can't reccomend PioSOLVER enough, it's a great tool for self studying, ofc you have to know how to use it, but on youtube you'll see a lot of free content teaching it.

My tip would be: buy Pio asap, in the meantime watch all of nick's videos on youtube, when you get pio understand how to use it, then try to see the patterns that happen in GTO and start thinking in ways to simplify this strategy, also in what may be better to do in practice than GTOwise. But you need to understand why GTO is doing what it is, and then go from there IMO.

After that I recommend getting coaching asap.

May 3, 2019 | 2:27 p.m.


Hey guys! We just finished April, this was the month that I had the most variance in poker in my career to date, and it was the month that the negative variance least affected me. When I say that the mental is important I mean seriously, a while ago a swing of 10 buy ins would already left me tilted, questioning my game and etc, this month I had a downswing of 22 buy ins (I lost 5.5k USD from my highest point to my lowest) and I was super calm, I'm not saying that I was perfect, I'm sure I made some mistakes that I would not have committed if I wasn't running so bad, but when you put things in perspective you see how much a swing does not matter, as long as you are a winner at the game, keep playing well and studying hard.

In relation to the studies I started the month very well but I noticed that more at the end of the month I studied less, I was very focused on playing and putting in volume. I'm happy that I was able to play more than my 75k hands goal.

The results were not so good but I found it ok considering this negative variance that I suffered in the middle of the month and that I've been playing 200z only since april, my winrate is still not as high as I want it to be but I will continue working on it and studying a lot. Oh, and I ended up failing my goal of going 3x a week at the gym or some exercise, I ended up averaging 2x a week.

Anyway, that's basically it. This month of May I will keep the goals that I set in April, that is, play 75k hands, go 3x in the gym / physical activity per week, and in relation to the studies I want to force me to study more effective as possible and studying the spots that will most impact my winrate, that is, spots that I have most leaks and that happen more often.

I also played a little of 100z in April and I saw how much this limit is easy compared to 200z (I never thought I'd say 100z is easy 1 year ago), but really, the regs still make a lot of mistakes, they do not put enough pressure, too much overfolding and so on, in addition to having a lot more recreational players. I want to feel like it playing at 200z because I bet that the best regs of the 500z feel the same way I feel with 100z compared to 200z. Anyway, I'm very far from being satisfied and I want to keep raising the stakes and evolving, I do not see the point in settle for one limit in my life situation.



May 1, 2019 | 2:11 p.m.

Vaaaaaamo! Great results man, congratz!

April 30, 2019 | 9:20 p.m.

GL on the journey!

April 17, 2019 | 12:34 a.m.


Hey guys, just finished my first month of the challenge and it went super well. I'm feeling comfortable playing 200z, and I'll keep improving as much as I can.

I've been working hard on my game, especially on GTO, this is a part that I've always left behind but now I can see how important it is to understand the theory, also it's super complex making it very interesting and cognitively stimulating. Each day that goes by I fall more in love with the complexity of this game, and also the endless adjustments in strategy that is needed to be playing poker on a high level.

Of course I'm very thankful to Saulo and Zinhao for giving me this opportunity and for all the knowledge that they keep sharing with me, I'm extremelly lucky to be friends with these two and I remeber that everyday. I keep thinking on what would've been of my poker carrer if I wasn't willing to invest more than 50% of my bankroll on being Saulo's first student as a breakeven nl25 player exactly 1 year ago, without ever seeing anything like his way of thinking the game before, and just going with my gut + intuition that the methodolgy presented by him was the thing that made more sense that I've ever seen, it was literally a leap of faith.

Here's the graph:



I'm actually running a little bit more above than EV, but PT4 has problems with certain hand histories.

Allright, so the month went very well considering it was my first time playing 200z, running well helps a lot too. Now its time for some monthly goals:

  1. More volume - I want to play at least 75k hands
  2. Studying - I don't like to put an exact number of hours in studying, but I just want to remeber myself to study everyday, focusing more on some days of the week than others
  3. Gym - I want to go to the gym at least 3x times a week, if I only go 2 times in one week I'll go 4 times the next week
  4. Mental game - Always keep improving the mental game, everyday that goes on I can see how important this is, I just can't put into words how much you need to take care of your mental game. I'll do this by re-reading "The Art Of Learning" by Josh Waitzkin this month, watching some videos from Gabriel Goffi than is an brazilian ex high stakes PLO poker player, I identify a lot with his way of doing things and the place where he speaks from really reasonates with me, especially the self denvelopment stuff, not so much the entrepreneurs things, since I'm not one (yet). I'll see if I can write some things about mental game stuff on this blog too.

Ok, so that's it guys. GL all and make the choice to make this month be the best of your carrer so far.

April 1, 2019 | 2:13 a.m.

Hey guys, just a quick update, things are going fine, I'm studying a lot and focusing on understanding some GTO defense stuff, I will only post monthly graphs from now on, unless its a best day ever type of thing.
GL all!

March 22, 2019 | 3:13 p.m.

Week 1 - Month 1
*days 1 - 7

Allright, I had a bad volume so far, but that's because I had a lot of shows to do this past week, I play the guitar and sing. You can check it out the rehersal and the show if you're interested.

So far I'm running so so, the regs at 200z are a little tougher than 100z regs (as expected), but I don't have enough sample to draw any conclusions yet. Also I've being playing reg tables.

Here is the graph.

GL all!

March 8, 2019 | 2:26 a.m.

Hey guys, just started a new blog, in there you'll understand why. GL all!


March 1, 2019 | 2:59 p.m.

Hey guys, my name is Max Lacerda, I'm from Brazil and I know poker since 2015, but I only started to take my game seriously and focus on online cash games in 2018. If you want to read my story before 2018 I have my first blog here.

In March of 2018 I had my first and only coach package with Saulo Costa and it completelly changed my game, technically and mentally. I was struggling a lot with online poker in the beggining because of the variance, but in September of 2018 more or less was the period that my mental game was much better and I started to win consistently on 25z and 50z (it became much clearer to me the huge importance of mental game). I currently play almost only 100z and 100reg, but an opportunity came up and I decided to accept the personal offer from Saulo and Zinhao to play nl200+ stacked and with coaching during a year. I wasn't sure in the begginning but some important factors made me decide to accept the offer.

This blog will be focused on making myself accountable and motivated + posting my results + debating some mental game stuff. Let's crush!

I'll be posting some HH in my instagram from time to time: max.lacerda1

Year graph so far (a lot of 50z at the time):



March 1, 2019 | 2:56 p.m.

Hey guys! I won't be able to make the 90k hands for the month for a few reasons:
- this month has only 28 days, and I calculated 3k hands and a little by day
- I'll be travelling for 2 days
- The carnival is coming here in Brazil and I got a lot of shows to do with my rock bands (we play in an event called carnarock lol), so rehersal + practicing + hanging out with the band takes a lot of time

Anyways, I'm very happy with my performance so far in this month, and I'll keep putting the volume I'm able to put with my best game quality.

Anyways, GL!

Feb. 21, 2019 | 2:05 a.m.

Thanks guys, I'll update more often

Feb. 13, 2019 | 11 p.m.

Week 1

Week one is over, unfortunately I'm not hitting my volume goals, I need to make 3k hands/day, and now my amount is something close to 2,5k/day, it's not far away but I'll need to push myself a little to hit the 90k hand mark at the end of the month, I'm currently playing 3zoom +3reg or 2zoom+4reg, it's not a lot but I htink it's the best scenario to keep my A game.

On the other hand studying have been great, I for sure have passed a little on the 10h/week of study that I set for myself, so I'm very happy with that.

Allright, thats a resume of my week, I'll post the results only at the end of the month.

Feb. 10, 2019 | 3:16 p.m.

Comment | Lagasaurus commented on Pursuit of Balance


Feb. 10, 2019 | 3:02 p.m.

zinhao and having a group with zinhao and saulo on wpp makes it easier than stealing candy from kids lololol

Feb. 4, 2019 | 5:22 p.m.

Thanks a lot to Saulo Ribeiro for the coaching, it truly was the tipping point when I met and started the coaching sessions with him. Just the perception that I started to have on how to think poker was something incredible. Much love my friend.

Feb. 4, 2019 | 5:17 p.m.

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