Last weekend of the series
The series are slowly coming to an end. So far it was quite a rollercoaster for me with a pretty good start, then swinging a bit down and then facing a very stressful challenge last Wednesday when I experienced pretty rare technical issues - all of a sudden the connection of pokerstars started dropping and all the tables were lagging. Other sites were working just fine and other guys from the grind house had no problem with stars either. When I tried to and log in I couldn’t. I would connect after some time but I couldn’t play - I saw my cards but under my nickname was written ‘sitting out’ so every hand was automatically folded and I was slowly blinding out at all three tables from pokerstars while playing other 6-7 tables on other sites. I blinded out early game of 109 4-max WCOOP, Big 55 and deeprun with last 140 players in Mini BB HR 55 - the immediate $ lost of this isn’t so horrible but it was very challenging for my mindset as I kept trying to fix it and use most of my concentration for that and became very tilted by the unresolveable situation. Such a situation is not so different from having a bad beat as it is outside my control and I should keep the focus on tournaments and spots I actually have control to make a decision. So even though it wasn't a long session I felt drained after and I brought some of that negativity to the next grind on Thursday, when I ran bad, made many mistakes and overall played one of my worst sessions ever.
The past is over, reflections were made, lessons were learnt and now is time to put max focus on last weekend of huge fields and guarantees.
No expectations for result, the goal is to give my best in every aspect possible and treat every situation as a professional:
- The spots against top players
- The deep runs
- The final tables
- The losses of my biggest buy ins
Sept. 24, 2022 | 3:25 p.m.
Second week into WCOOP 2022
Second week in the series and I’m still feeling well. I wasn’t running as hot as the first week but my energy and sleep is on solid levels. Having said that it starts to feel like my poker brain needs a break - the first thought that pops up in my mind after waking up is usually some spot from the day before and with playing many days in a row the frustrution and irritaition of anoying spots and bad runs is increasing. For that reason I’m gonna take two days off - Friday and Saturday and just chill, get a massage and sauna and going to a reaggae music festival in Florianopolis on Saturday to get ready and fresh for Sudnay grind and Monday’s day 2 in Colossus 400$ on GG Poker.
The vibe in the grind house is still amazing and two guys got a 20k score each on the last Tuesday.
What went well?
- Improved my activity levels and managed to hit very high readiness and sleeping scores every single day
- Improved in feeling unfair and as a victim by using breath exercises and self support
What could I improve?
- Take it easy at the end of the session and drop the table count rather than keep registering everything and re-entering a lot
- Let go of emotional attachments to the highest buy-ins and expectations in deep runs
- Be more present in difficult spots to access my best decisions rather than getting irritated I ended up in an impossible spot
Sept. 16, 2022 | 5:56 p.m.
First week into WCOOP 2022
Today is my first day off after 5 days of playing and so far I feel very well. I intend to do a ‘what went well and what I could improve’ every week to reflect on my energy levels and be more accountable to my plans.
I really enjoy the atmosphere in the grind house and I feel like it’s a great experience for me development and growth. The challenge comes when it is required to turn off the poker brain and rest and relax, which is the case for me especially during major series. As you can imagine the most common topic is poker and you can hear strategy conversations all day long. After 8 hours of grinding there’s a hand review going on late at night and obviously after finishing the session it is common to rail the other guys if they have a deeprun, which sure is lots of fun but it keeps the brain stimulated and is not really the best activity in terms of sleep hygiene.
What went well?
- I stick to my tournament schedule and table count strictly
- I did couple of hand reviews and ICMizer spots
What could I improve?
- Implement some type of short, light exercise routine for everyday
- Fix the sleeping schedule, despite the different times of finishing of the grind each day
- Investigate and become aware of the emotional attachment to specific tournaments (mainly all the WCOOP events on stars)
Good luck all, have fun at the tables!
Sept. 9, 2022 | 2:51 p.m.
Solid kick-off of the series
All set and ready and the first Sunday of the series and hype at the grind house! Great vibe and atmosphere together with proper preparation led to I had one of my best sessions ever. Not really results wise even though I had a juicy score on Winamax, but more in terms of performance and mindset - I managed to fulfil and follow all the goals for my session and handled difficult situations and tough mental and emotional moments very well. I had a few other deepruns but also busted some expensive tournaments like the WCOOP 1k and 530$ or the BH HR 530 on GG. Besides that the other guys from the grind house had some solid deepruns as well and one of them final tabled 2 WSOP events on GG, shipped one and cashed around 45k$! So the hype is real
Winamax Series 250eur Marathon
Sept. 5, 2022 | 1:59 p.m.
WCOOP plan and schedule
So all the plans before the series from last post are done - did some hours of studying ICM, deepruns and refreshing chip ev spots, set up a station in the new grind house, created tournament and daily schedule and went for a 3h hike in a beautiful place Lagoa do Peri, Florianopolis.
Here’s couple of key points to follow through out the series:
- Daily schedule: waking time 7.30am - start playing 12pm (10.30am on Sundays) - finish registering around 6-7pm - go to sleep around 10.30pm
- Weekly schedule - First week playing everyday except Friday, second and third week every day except Wednesdays and Fridays
- Study - only short warmp-ups with ICMizer or PreflopAcademy and a short hand reviews once a week
- Table count - 10 tables at the beginning - 12 tables only when feeling absolutely fresh and alert and not playing 500$+ tournaments
- Buy-in range - everything up to 215$, most 530$ and 1k$ only on Sundays
This is going to be probably the most professional series as I share a very nice villa with some of the best players from the team, have planned everything and hired a personal chef for grocery shopping and meal prep, therefore I can use my time to get centred, balanced and fully prepared without unnecessary pressure. I have scheduled a hypnotherapy session after the first week in the series and plan on doing a lot of meditation and self reflection on a daily basis.
Even though I am very excited to jump into the series I feel my expectations are lower than usual before major series. When I discussed this topic in my last hypnotherapy session I was asked to give a realistic estimate of how it will go and my answer was: 1-2 Day 2s in series events a week, 2-3 FTs a week and 5-10k$ profit for a month. This seems realistic but doesn’t mean it will be the case. So no matter the results, the key is to give my best, investigate my mindset and most importantly have fun!
GL everyone at the tables!
Sept. 3, 2022 | 3:26 p.m.
After taking pretty much the whole July off I got back to the grind in August and combined the two weeks of live poker with some online grind as well. I haven’t set any goals for August because of the inconsistent schedule and travelling. Of the 232 MTTs I played, I had a couple interesting deep runs and final tables and ended up being up almost 10k excluding around 2k cash–out from live poker. Admittedly I did pretty much zero studying this month, except last week when I set up my office here in Brazil, caught up on what I missed from PD coachings and refreshed my memory a bit. To be fair I have the sense that I am losing some EV in different spots due to lack of studying and have more mental distortion caused by not having vision or enough technical knowledge in some spots.
- The plan for the next few days before WCOOP kick off:
Studying - refreshing concepts I know already rather than try to learn something new last minute:
- ICMizer study of late game - this is one of the areas, where I feel I need a refreshment - semi-final and final table spots
- Refreshing the most important MDA spots in early game
- WCOOP schedule - prepare a daily schedule and MTT schedule for each day to avoid FOMO and burn out
- Set up in a new grindhouse - move and prepare everything in the new grindhouse that I am gonna share with other 4 crushers from Detox
- Relax and recharge - take one day to explore the beautiful surroundings of Florianopolis, probably will go for a couple hours hike in the nature
Aug. 31, 2022 | 4:23 p.m.
‘Different personalities’ in different languages and its mindset implications
After arriving in Brazil I met a former Detox player, who was one of the firsts when the MTT site was created. We had a very interesting discussion about mindset - specifically about different languages and how they can shape a character of a person.
It all started by discussing the language switch and how confusing it is to switch from one language to another. Then he pointed out the distinction of him talking to himself in Portuguese compared to talking in English during his grind and how it feels more grounded and objective when the self talk is in English. This made me think and realise an important factor affecting my negative self-talk. First, I remembered reading an article a long time ago about how thinking and speaking different languages shapes the personality of a person to the degree, where we can argue that the person has a different character in every language they speak. It was written by a man that speaks 7 languages and he was explaining the different traits of his personality in all the languages he speaks. From my personal experience I found it to be true. My mother tongue is Czech, I have been speaking English for many years, my Danish is at beginner level and for more than a year I speak fluent Spanish too. In every language my personality shapes a different way and I could speak about those differences but that’s not really the point of this post.
Over the last months I have been investigating the negative self-talk, unfairness and victimisation revealed by playing online poker and moving up in stakes. In practice it goes like this:
After some time in my session, usually the final few hours, and after a compound of triggering situations (bad beats, coolers, etc.) there is a voice that start saying statements in Czech such as:
‘Of course, when there’s more than 60 big blinds in the pot, it’s impossible for me to win the all-in, no matter if I’m ahead.’ or ‘I just can't get a good spot in a late game, I always get a cooler, it’s just impossible to win.’
At that moment I am aware of what is going on - that’s a really good starting point. The next step is to find a calm and peace in my mind and support the inner voice that is most likely coming from childhood. Now this is where I struggle. I created mantras of positive, self supportive statements to tackle this negativity but when I am about to say them (in Czech) it seems extremely difficult and not legit, the inner child/victimised self is pushing the rational me away and keeps going. The main issue seems to be that it simply doesn’t trust the positive statements. I came to the realisation that if I spoke in English it would be much more legit and trustworthy. When I discuss this issue with my hypnotherapist, it is in English as he’s from the UK and the hypnotherapies, where we go back to my childhood, also take place in English. My Brazilian friend argues that the Czech personality carries all the childhood traumas, while the English personality developed when I was more mature, therefore it’s perceived this way.
I found this very fascinating and will experiment with answering to the negative self-talk in English (perhaps in Spanish too, no Danish please - that sounds too rough).
Aug. 26, 2022 | 2:05 p.m.
Back to the online MTT business
Two weeks of working holiday is over and as much fun as it was I’m happy going back to the usual online grind. The main reason is the control of the environment one has when playing online. No shitty casino chairs and food, no artificial light till the late night, no overcrowded rooms and one-tabling for hours but rather a healthy food prep, a comfortable gaming chair and a consistent schedule for sleep and work-outs. These are the areas where one can gain an extra edge, of course it’s possible to deal with this in live poker too but it is just more challenging and time consuming.
So right now I have a 6 weeks working holiday from Florianopolis, Brazil ahead. The plan is to acclimate the first 10 days for which I booked an apartment close to the beach, get back to yoga and meditation daily, some workouts and also to refresh my mind with some poker studies again and reflect and prepare for WCOOP which starts on 4th of September. Before that I’ll be moving in a house with 4 other players from Poker Detox and staying there until 6th of October. Hopefully I will also find the time and courage to take surfing classes.
Aug. 23, 2022 | 7:58 p.m.
Min cash in EPT Barcelona 5k Main
In the ESPT 1k Main I haven’t fired the fourth bullet in the end and rather prepared myself for the EPT 5k Main, which is the biggest EPT main event in history.
At the beginning I had a pretty good table, which turned out to be a pretty tough one at the end of day 1. In the second last hand I bluffed half of my stack against a Spanish pro G. Baumann in 3bp when I flat called flop and turn with a draw and bluffed on the river. She made a great call with A-high for two thirds of her stack and I packed around 50bbs (2x starting stack) for day 2.
The day 2 started with the luck on my side and managed to build up my stack, then got all in for 50bbs with AA against AK, the very next hand I defended TT against a 3b from BB to face overbet jam on QT2 of the same suit and unfortunately lost against AK with flush draw, that hit on the river - probably a pot for the chip lead at that point. And then I didn’t get any good spots as the bubble was approaching. I had to tighten up as a middle stack and just waited for the money. After it burst I got all in with TT against KQs and AA and that was it. I finished 295/2300 for min cash 8.8k eur but more importantly it was a great experience for me, a lot of fun and an amazing atmosphere at the tables. I’m happy with my mindset and attitude and actually, I felt more nervous playing the 1k the week before. It felt great being able to play live again in this big event and I can see myself going for the WSOP 10k main next year
Aug. 18, 2022 | 11:56 a.m.
EPST Barcelona is on + hand breakdown
Here we go back to the live action. I was looking forward to shuffling chips and looking for tells of my opponents. Now the game’s on and leash’s off. First few days in Barca and it’s rapidly climbing on the list of my favourite cities in the world and on top of that the poker tour looks like it could be breaking records in number of players.
First event I jumped in was the ESPT Main Event 1100Eur.
I started on Day 1C (missed the first two as it was the first day after arriving and I didn’t feel fresh enough to jump in) and it didn't go my way at all. Late regged with around 60 big blinds, failed with bluffing two spots, didn’t improve my equity in multi way pot and then went all in with JJ vs KK. Second in Day 1D I think I played solid, didn’t get too many good spots and the table wasn’t the easiest one, lost some chips and after some levels I busted and went to the rebuy cage. The second bullet was much more fun - I drew a much easier table (finally people that open limp) got some value hands, caught some bluffs and bluffed successfully myself. When we were around 300 people left (108 ITM) they broke down my table and send me to a new one where finally enough was sitting main coach of Poker Detox MTT, who actually eliminated me when he re-jammed A6o BBvsBTN for 12.5bbs and won against my AQs - well, thanks a lot boss!
Here’s an interesting hand shortly after joining the last table (so not much info on anyone):
250 people left, effective stack 60bbs
Hero opens UTG 2.3bbs with QsQh
UTG+1 (older Italian gentleman) calls
Flop 4-way: 8c6s3c (10.5bbs pot)
Hero checks, UTG+1 checks, MP bet 3.5bbs - BB folds, Hero calls, UTG+1 raises 10.5bbs - MP folds, hero calls
Turn heads-up: 8c6s3c9d (35bbs pot)
Hero checks, UTG+1 checks
River heads-up: 8c6s3c9d 6c (35bbs pot)
Hero bets 8bbs, UTG+1 raises 25bbs, Hero folds
The Italian gentleman starts swearing in Italian and shows 3d3h.
Here I lost a big part of my stack and then battled shortstack for some time until I busted. Thoughts on this? Playing passively overpair or getting away at some point? I think I like the way I played, maybe on a flush closing river it would be better to just give up, not really sure.
Today I’m gonna jump in the last flight. The price pool is already 3.5 million euro and still 2 flights left to play. LFG!
Aug. 11, 2022 | 12:07 p.m.
Back to work & MTT poker as art
In July I took it quite easy as my girlfriend from Mexico came to visit to Czech Republic. I played a few sessions at the beginning of the month and put some hours to work on a GTO project for 3B pots that is going on in Poker Detox and for the last 10 days I was completely off my computer. For that reason I didn’t set any goals for this month, therefore a very short sum-up is: played 185 MTTs, ABI 100$, profit -1300$. It was nice to turn off my poke brain for a while but honestly the holiday has reached its limit and I’m excited to go back to the lab. The plan is to jump in to my study+grind schedule in an easy way, probably starting with 10 tables and shorter sessions and next week I’ll be heading to Barcelona for PD team trip and playing the EPT - I’m insanely excited to play live poker again and fulfilling one of my dreams by playing the main event.
The days off made me realise how much I love my job and enjoy the MTT format of poker. The main drive and motivation for me is the final tables and ICM situations, where the game changes completely and the best strategy is dependent on the specific dynamic. Even with all the technology and solvers it’s very far from being solved, as many people argue that the ICM model is flawed (f.ex. Doug Polk has mentioned this often). So in my opinion this is the part where poker becomes a real art - having some theory baseline, adjusting to my opponent’s strategies and picking up the best spots, while playing for the win.
One thought the came to my mind is that the online MTT offers lot of big field (1000+ players) tournaments and when I look back to the beginning of my MTT career, I would play mostly those with a solid chip EV poker and then wouldn’t adjust for ICM in late game, where the money is actually on the line. A good way to master these spots is to play smaller (100-200 players) fields, which will bring more ICM spots and allow you to study them, practice them and also very importantly to get used to the pressure of the final table and payjumps. This seems like an efficient and fast way to progress.
Aug. 3, 2022 | 10:41 a.m.
Good reads: 1. Michael Singer
In today’s post I’m gonna share one of my favourite author’s books that helped me in my poker journey in terms of mindset (not directly poker related books) and contributed a lot for my spiritual growth as well. I project and interpret many thoughts form this book in the poker environment - especially the mindset. In the past I read many self development books, some good, some worse, and now I look for quality reads that are written by people with great life stories and experiences and are not repeating the same concept over again.
Michael Singer is an entrepreneur that started to pursue an inner peace and became a yogi and spiritual author. His first book is: The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. This book based on yogic philosophy talks about inner peace, the self and the nature of mind.
His next book: The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection is one of my all time favourite books that has had an incredible impact on my life and helped me in my life and poker development. He’s touching on the subject of life flow, surrendering of whatever happens and accepting the uncontrollable. It is a story that is worth reading again every few years and that’s what I’m going to do for sure.
Right now I am finishing his latest piece: Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament and he’s some quotes that stuck with me:
“One of the most amazing things you will ever realize is that the moment in front of you is not bothering you - you are bothering yourself about the moment in front of you.”
“Once you stop suppressing uncomfortable experiences, one thing you’re going to realize is that there really is no subconscious mind, per se. The conscious mind and the subconscious mind are actually the same one mind, and the only reason we see a difference is because we artificially created a division.”
“The technique - positive thinking - is a very basic and useful one for bringing about change. (...) You are simply replacing the automatically generated thoughts with willfully created ones. Don’t fight, just replace. It doesn’t matter if the negative thoughts continue in the background; just focus on the positive thoughts you are willfully creating. Over time, your willfully created thoughts will replace the automatically generated ones. This is a very healthy thing to do.”
The last quote felt like direct advice to my current mindset development. I experience an inner fight going on in my head in challenging situations at the poker tables and when I try to use positive self-talk or mantras to calm myself down I still hear the negative talk going on, which is a very discouraging and somewhat painful experience. Reading this helped to stay determined to the mindset work and embrace positivity until it becomes automatic.
I am open to interesting books and stories of any kind, if anyone had a recommendation, please share it with me here.
July 21, 2022 | 11:09 a.m.
Mindset reflections: Expectations and Objectivity
Currently I’m enjoying a working holiday in my home country Czech Republic, which will soon transfer into full holiday for a few weeks. Besides playing a couple of sessions back in the long night sessions I used the time to reflect and investigate some of my recent mindset struggles.
Expectation - every time there’s a good opportunity I tend to create big expectations e.g. when running deep in some big guarantee or even in a single hand when I play a huge pot and flop good. Of course I am not always going to ship the tourney or win the big pot and in that case the expectations cause tilt, loss of focus and mental distortion. The way to approach this is to focus on staying present - not thinking ahead of how it’ll feel when I win the pot or ship the tourney, which creates emotional attachment. A mantra that I often use in my meditation and also put on a note at my desktop is: “I will play to the best of my ability with no expectations of immediate results.”
Objectivity - often what unfulfilled expectations or other mindset issues lead to is losing objectivity and starting to base my decisions on subjective feelings, which is no doubt -EV in the long run. I realised this when reflecting back on my game and found some illogical deviations from my standard strategy. To tackle this the work outside the tables must be done I believe. Reviewing hands with other poker friends and studying together is a great way to build objectivity in my game, because studying/reviewing alone can still be done in a very subjective manner. This is one of the reasons I progressed quite fast in Poker Detox - it’s thanks to the community of other players and the coaches that provide regular feedback on my game and always put me back on the right track.
July 12, 2022 | 8:18 a.m.
Edge of the tables: 4. Dopamine
I’ve mentioned my top three ways of gaining an edge of the tables - sleep, nutrition, sun. The next one is managing dopamine levels - the main driver of our motivation. This is something I wasn’t paying enough or maybe even no attention earlier in my life until very recently. I was always that type of guy seeking immediate pleasure and dopamine boosts in any way possible. At the poker tables we are all exposed to dopamine highs and lows all the time which can cause some very serious issues in the long term but if managed correctly it can bring balance, calmness and objectivity to the tables.
I’ve witnessed other poker players, and even experienced this myself to some extent, getting their dopamine levels completely out of line. As a reference I’d use a cocaine addict as extreme as it might seem. A person addicted to cocaine gets a dopamine boost every time he accesses the drug (actually already with a single thought about the drug), which makes him feel on the top of the world. He will start to build tolerance and seek higher doses to reach that same level of satisfaction and when he doesn’t have the drug he will feel completely bored and even depressed. His dopamine levels will be disrupted to the point when he won’t be able to enjoy anything else. And this is the state of being which I witnessed caused by playing poker. So the dopamine highs from watching big flips, running big bluffs and playing final tables for big money caused that then in regular life the poker player will find it very hard to enjoy anything. It just won’t be pleasurable because the dopamine tolerance is now very high, which leads to anxiety and depression. Honestly, I can experience this every Monday after playing huge fields and big tourneys on Sunday, the low guarantees are just not thrilling to me. But now I became more informed and aware of this and learnt ways how to maintain dopamine levels balanced and controlling the peaks and baselines, here’s some tips:
-Cold exposure - ice bath is my ultimate favourite, it will immediately increase the level of dopamine but after that it will cause long-lasting increases in dopamine baseline (I started doing 8-12min ice bath every Monday before my poker session to balance out the dopamine highs from Sunday)
-Intermittent fasting - eating cause dopamine release, fasting 12-16 hours a day can balance the dopamine levels
-Avoid doing activities which spike the dopamine simultaneously - such as not playing poker and watching a favourite movie, not working out and listening favourite music, and so on
-Source of caffeine used - e.g. yerba mate which can preserve the survival of dopamine neurons
So the edge it gives me is that I experience much less of moments when my dopamine levels are very low, therefore I lack motivation and feel like I don’t care about anything which makes me play spewy. On the other hand the moments when I’m over motivated (high dopamine levels) I use a lot of energy and become more emotionally attached, which can very easily lead to tilt, are also happening way less when I pay attention to the dopamine regulation.
In my opinion dopamine is a crucial thing to understand, especially for a poker player. I recommend checking out a very detailed podcast about this topic from Dr. Andrew Huberman:
Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction | Huberman Lab Podcast #39
July 9, 2022 | 11:05 a.m.
June sum-up: The highest ABI so far and great swinging comeback
So this month I started to leave out 25-33$ BI big field tournaments and rather played smaller field 109-215$ BIs which made me climb to 100ABI this month which is the highest I played in my career.
When I checked sharkscope to post the graph I realised I was down over 8k in the second half of June. Ending up 8k plus is besides the luck and variance thanks to two factors.
First, not checking daily/weekly results which spared me a lot of anxiety, stress and pressure. Of course, I knew I wasn’t running particularly well at the start of the month but just trying to stick to my game and keep playing was the way to go.
Second, 13th of May I received a quarterly review from Poker Detox - detailed analysis of my game, leaks and place of improvement and how to fix them. This might be due to after SCOOP tiredness or mindset shift after running bad, I’m not sure but there were several leaks where I was bleeding EV that started to show up, when I realised it’s mostly caused by projection in game and subjective thinking rather than some technical misconceptions.
- Play min 400MTTs - YES 423 MTTs played
Study min 30h - NO - 25h only
Review min. 2 deepruns - YES
Post min 2 hands on HH server of Poker Detox - NO only
Catch up on posted hands in HH server of Poker Detox - YES
Mindset work min 1h - YES
-Investigate and work on self talk during the game by using visualisation, meditation and proper preparation for the grind - YES
July 1, 2022 | 10:12 a.m.
Long distance travel
Long way to go from Mexico to Czech Republic. When I was booking the flight I decided not to make the same mistake like many times before and book the cheapest flight, which is usually very long with long layovers as well. If I’d travel for 5-6 hours more I might even spend the difference of the price of the ticket for the expensive meals at the airport, not to mention the impact on my body and mind, recovery time and even my hourly rate.
Anyways I booked some kind of middle option but in the end turned out I was running pretty bad on this journey. First they changed the route and added one stop on Havana which added another 3-4 hours on the plane, then I had to pay extra 100usd for tax which apperantelly was’t included. I flew overnight and managed to sleep more than half of the flight, which was great. What wasn’t great was that on my transfer in Milan to Prague I spent a couple of hours at a totally overcrowded airport watching the delay of my time rising to the point when they just cancelled the flight completely. So that meant one more night in Milan before arriving home. Money lost, time lost but that’s the reality and nothing I could do about that. I surprised myself that I didn’t tilt at all although I was very tired after around 16h of travelling already and looking forward to getting home.
I just booked my trip to Brazil where I plan to spend one month after EPT Barcelona and play the WCOOP from there. So more long travels are upcoming. Here’s couple of things to keep the travels as smooth as possible:
-If possible, choose the longest flight overnight to sleep as much as possible and avoid the shitty airplane food
-Sleeping mask - bought a sleeping mask for couple of bucks which leaves total darkness and it was great
-Noise cancelling headphones - I downloaded 6h deep sleep music/wave from brain.fm and let the crying baby two rows behind to bother everyone else but me
-Good seat selection - I made a mistake and booked a window seat, which is definitely better than a middle seat but next time for a long distance flight I will exchange a nice view for comfort to get up and stretch anytime I want by choosing the aisle seat.
Ok, that’s enough travel blogging. Now I’m gonna take a few days off to spend with my family and then get back to a somewhat adjusted playing schedule next week - going back to playing European time zone so it will be late night grinds again.
June 25, 2022 | 8:51 a.m.
Progress of goals when starting the blog
1.Move up in stakes and crush 200$ games in daily schedule and 500$ - 1k$ games during the series
-I gained solid confidence in 200$ in my daily schedule, also got some nice scores there and the last series played several 500$ and two 1k$ tournaments, gotta admit tho that in those I still felt significant pressure
2.Reach 200k$ profit in one year from today (12.11.2021)
141k right now. Getting closer and closer, time getting shorter. LFG
3.Upgrade my understanding of GTO concepts (yep, it’s true until now I was going on with pretty much basic theory concepts and exploitative strategies only)
Feel solid progress here as well and with my fellow players from Poker Detox we’re currently working on a huge GTO project beside other parts of the tree in 3bet pots, so only the hours I will put in will improve my GTO understanding.
June 22, 2022 | 2:56 a.m.
Edge of the tables: 3. Nutrition
How we fuel our body and brain will affect performance and cognitive function. First I’d like to mention that there are many studies that research the connection between the gut and the brain and the science suggests that gut health and proper function impact the cognitive function and neurotransmitters in the brain. Second, there are studies regarding specific food that improve concentration and cognitive function as well as food with the opposite effect causing tiredness and slowing down the brain. Although I’m very far away from being a nutrition specialist I’d say that nutrition is one of my hobbies and I spend a decent amount of time every week investigating this topic through different podcasts, articles and books and then in a way experimenting on myself.
It is necessary to mention that every single person has different deficiencies and tolerances to different types of food therefore it is very unlikely someone can bring up ‘a perfect diet’. That being said I’d like to point out a couple of basic directions regarding nutrition in order to maximise performance and brain function.
1. Fats - eliminate unhealthy fats mainly from vegetable oils that are proven to cause long term damage to the brain and replace them with quality olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil and use them with proper heat temperature to avoid releasing some undesirable substances.
2. Sugar - avoiding foods that contain lot of processed and added sugar can improve concentration and energy levels, these can be replaced by fructose, stevia or other natural sweeteners
3. Processed foods - which usually contain at least one of the undesirable from above and are packed with excess of sodium
4. Diversify the diet - as I said there’s no perfect diet, for me personally making sure to have different types of foods including veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, meet and so on is important to get big scale of vitamins and minerals for proper function of my body and brain and potentially adding a supplement of something that is hard to get (with backed up science or medical advice)
Generally my diet is pretty healthy and at the same time I don’t feel I limit myself in any way. I created a habit of craving healthy foods in order to feel good rather than craving unhealthy food for the instant pleasure and undesirable feelings later. So without any inner fights I’m seeking healthy nutritious foods especially on my most productive days and I as well enjoy a slice of a nice cheesecake or a juicy burger with bacon now and then when I don’t intend to perform my best.
Any other basic diet rules someone has to share?
June 18, 2022 | 11:03 p.m.
Working on the negative self-talk
So the investigation is on. The plan regarding mindset work for the next several weeks or months is the negative self-talk and victimisation.
Challenge yourself whenever you use harsh language to yourself.
What would you say as a coach?
By reflecting back I realised the talk I tend to use is very often repetitive, illogical to my conscious self and interestingly I would use wording and even the same voice as my father did in the past when he was angry (often about things he had no control over).
So i wrote down three sentences I use the most during the game with the goal to reframe them into mature and positive sentences:
‘It’s impossible to win.’
-after series of bad beats, coolers and lost spots I start saying this., that’s the point where I often start seeing a bit red and tend to act fast and overaggressive
Reframe: ‘Short-term and current results are not important, because I know that in the long-term I’m a winning player.’
‘It always scrws me.’*
-this comes up often during deepruns when I suffer a bad beat and lose a big stack.
Reframe: ‘Sometimes I lose when I’m ahead, sometimes the opposite. The way I will handle these situations can give me extraedge.’
‘I hate it.’
-strong words which alarms that I’m possibly in very bad mindset state and comes up after series of bad outcomes and bizarre spots and/or big mistakes
Reframe: ‘I love poker for its unpredictability and the challenge it gives me.’
To build this into my subconscious I practice this every day during my morning meditation, when I visualise challenging situations in poker where I’d use the undesired language and see myself actually saying the reframes of the negative talk. Then whenever I catch myself going that way during the grind and focus on actually saying the reframes. It is very interesting practice, what I found out the first couple of days is that as easy as it might seem it is actually damn hard. I often literally feel resistance to say those things and it’s almost like part of my just wanna scream ‘Shut up, what a bullsh*t!’ but with more and more practice this will happen more naturally and become more legit.
The skill of mastering one’s own mind is not something that can be just learnt and solved once and forever. It is hours and hours of continuous practice and self awareness and that’s why I believe it can become a huge edge for crushing online poker.
June 14, 2022 | 5:12 p.m.
Antidote to Ego
Ego is the number one enemy of personal growth. I think every poker player - live or online - has seen someone making plays driven by ego and most likely has made them himself. One might argue that it is a part of poker and maybe the beauty of the game to bluff someone in an insane spot for tons of chips and be ‘the table captain’. I am no exception to this and many times found myself in such spots. Honestly in my puberty and some years after I was a very egoistic person in general. In the poker example it can feel very good with all the endorphin releases but I’m sure it’s not profitable in the longterm. That’s not to say that coming up with big bluffs is a bad strategy, just the motivation for doing that should be based on objective data points rather than trying to prove something. These are some examples when my ego takes over and what it causes to my game:
- Makes me to win all the lost chips back and play suboptimally, usually becoming overaggressive with preflop ranges (RFI, 3B, 4B) and postflop lines
- Makes me to act fast without allowing me to think carefully about important spots
- Makes me to justify bad plays, blame others and refuse to admit that I made a mistake, which stops me from further development
In practical terms one advice from a high stakes crusher from PD was to actually tighten up from baseline ranges and in postflop play when I become aware of this behaviour.
It’d take more than one blog post to break down ego, it’s tendencies and impacts on my life but I’d like to share an idea which is simply practise something that is the biggest enemy of the ego - that is gratitude. If you think about it then being grateful for simple things that we have just don’t let the ego take over. When you’re honestly grateful for something, you can’t act from your ego. Daily gratitude practice - either in the morning or evening or both for that matter helped me not to let the ego enter my game that often. Sometimes the reality can be harsh in our eyes (at poker tables but also in everyday life) yet still there are many things that we have and should be grateful for - friends, family, hot shower, food to eat, and so on - that we often take for granted.
Let’s be grateful. Peace
June 9, 2022 | 11:33 p.m.
- Play min 400MTTs
- Study min 30h
- Review min. 2 deepruns
- Post min 2 hands on HH server of Poker Detox
- Catch up on posted hands in HH server of Poker Detox
- Mindset work min 1h
-Investigate and work on self talk during the game by using visualisation, meditation and proper preparation for the grind
This month my goals are on the lower spectrum, that’s because first 4 days of the month were used to revamp after the series and the last week I will be leaving Mexico and travelling back home to Czech republic for a month, then going to Poker Detox team trip in Barcelona combined with playing the EPT Barcelona in August.
June 4, 2022 | 8:42 p.m.
SCOOP 2022 sum-up
Very challenging four weeks of poker are now over and it’s time to get back to the regular schedule of playing and studying. Overall I had lots of fun playing higher ABI with huge fields and guarantees, encountering some crazy lines and plays by recreational and battling some world class players as well. Besides the 20k score I made a few final tables, a couple juicy deepruns, but unfortunately busted those with 3-4 tables left. To be honest I am happy it’s over now as at the end of the series I felt more and more frustration, likely caused by huge expectations which did not come true. Let’s sum it up from few different perspectives:
- one of the most problematic areas over time for me as I mentioned a few time here I tend to overdo the volume and get close to burn out as a result of that
- proper preparation and scheduling all the tournaments was very helpful in this regard and I am satisfied how I managed this issue
- I felt sufficient energy each session and even though it wasn’t perfect I finally sticked with the rule more is less (maybe that’s one of the reasons why I finally had a profitable series)
-Social life and studying
- I feel I preserved great balance between playing, studying and socializing, I did a hand review 1x a week, rested well on my days of and still had a social life with my girlfriend and friends
- the beauty of playing poker for living is you are constantly challenged and you learn a whole lot of new things about yourself and I’m truly fascinated of the psychology and mental part.
- by reflecting back on this series I observed and noted couple of areas of the mental game I want to focus on going on:
- expectations and disappointment - this was a big one the last month, obviously all the major events created a big expectations for me and anything that went wrong there was pretty painful and triggering to me, besides that I noted that this happens with single hands as well - i.e. when I flop the nuts with lto of chips in the middle my mind is filled with joy and I expect to win lot of chips just to face some awful run outs which cause me to either loose or not extract value - those situations triggered me a lot and my EV in all tournaments likely suffered as it led to mind distortion, loss of concentration and therefore mistakes
- the story narrative - this is something very fascinating because I am consciously aware of that and realise that it hurts my game in both short and long term but still there were parts or even whole sessions when I got trapped in my mind playing the victim with negative self talk going on, besides the EV loss it took lot of my energy and overall optimism and good mood. In those moments it seems impossible to take a step back and see the bigger picture. On the other hand I had sessions where I would comment to myself on a bad beat in a supportive way, acknowledge and accept my mistakes as an opportunity to learn and calmly continue to solve every spot
I believe the difference between those two types of self talk are the key to my success. With the negative self talk I end up making fast, subjective, usually over aggressive decisions and blaming everything outside my control leading to hatred and negativity while with self supportive positive self talk I am able to make objective, profitable decisions and learn and grow as a player at the same time.
June 2, 2022 | 9:58 p.m.
Removing decision fatigue by scheduling
Decision fatigue is in my opinion something worth paying attention to as a MTT poker pro. I am able to play 20-30 tournaments during one session which could be approximately 2000 hands therefore I must make more than 2000 decisions over 8 hours (some of them will be trivial but often one hand will require more than one decision). It is a hell of a lot of decisions to make and the tricky part comes at the end of the session where each decision becomes worth much more in $ terms and obviously the brain would be more tired.
How many decisions I make during a session is out of my control, however there are many more decisions to be made outside the poker tables which I can control - this brings me to scheduling. I have a friend who is an absolut hater of scheduling and planning - he’s also a MTT pro and he loves his freedom and refuses to schedule and plan. I see it the other way - when I schedule and plan everything I gain more freedom, because it removes all the decisions I would have to make which takes time, therefore makes me more efficient and obviously when I plan something it doesn’t mean I cannot change the plan so I feel more free and I strongly believe it creates more time in my day as it minimises the time between tasks and keeps me more relaxed by removing the decision fatigue. The caveat here is not to become slave of my own schedule and still be able to be flexible and rational about the planning and later changes in that.
Few examples that I focused on during this SCOOP to remove as much decision fatigue as possible:
-Hour by hour plan for each day (e.g. when to start playing, when to shop, cook,…)
-Meal plan - prepare meals for playing weekend, have some back up meals in the freezer, knowing exactly what I’ll eat before I start playing
-Tournament schedule - knowing beforehand which tournaments I’ll play so I don’t have to scan the lobbies all the time
Remove all decisions from the 5min break I have each hour of my grind is absolutely crucial. Running in the kitchen and preparing something to eat real fast in the only 5min I have to let my mind relax is the last thing I want to do (and I was guilty of doing exactly this many many times).
Good luck for the last weekend of SCOOP!
May 28, 2022 | 3:33 p.m.
Ready for the weekend
Feeling fresh and ready for another juicy weekend after Friday completely off poker, which became a rarity over the last few months.
Just finished a short deeprun of my final table of Battle Royal 200eur from Thursday where I encountered many tricky spots because bounties were often bigger than the payjumps. Studying ICM PKO spots with HRC is probably my favourite way of studying. I found out I made some mistakes and shoving too wide in some spots (A2o as a shortstack from BTN with 8bb but very little fold equity due to huge bounty) and folding too tight in other spots (76o vs 6bb shove from BB vs SB with 20bb stack). And a couple more interesting spots. Finished 4th in this one and excited for next deepruns.
A quote for this weekend:
“Nothing is as important as you think it is, the moment when you’re thinking about it.”
Bad beats or mistakes in big tournaments may feel like the end of the world but hey, after another 100k hands played that one bad beat or mistake will be most likely forgotten anyways. Staying relaxed and balanced throughout the whole sessions is still one of the biggest challenges for me although I realise how important it is in order to access my A game in the deepruns and preserve energy for upcoming sessions.
May 21, 2022 | 2:30 p.m.
Mindset reflections and FOMO
Every day when I play a session it always reminds me in one way or another how mindset is an absolutely crucial thing for success in poker. Even a player with very good GTO knowledge and exploitative understanding can end up being a losing player over the long term just because of mindset issues and nothing else. Since I implemented a reflection and journaling I end up investigating more and more my mind and behaviour and here are two observations I made after last few sessions:
1.Self compassion and self support -
- I used to be a big time hot head and was terrible at losing as a child. I also grew up in an environment where getting angry, screaming and learning things the harsh way was considered pretty normal (although I had a very nice childhood) and all this obviously reflected in my behaviour today especially in the poker world
- Here’s what I discovered: when I get tilted for whatever reason I tend to see red - this is not a new thing and it’s a work in progress for some time. The improvement there I already made is that I am able to gain awareness over my feeling in that situation BUT I am being very urgent for it to go away and fighting with myself - this is very counterproductive and to overcome those tough emotional moments and not let them affect the session as a whole it is important to build a up a legit honest self compassion and be able to accept and support the inner child in those moments. Only this way I believe I can get back to my A-game.
2.FOMO - Fear of missing out
- This is something I have struggled with for almost two years. I have the tendency to play every single tournament in the schedule and whenever I have a full table count I find myself thinking how many tournaments there are yet to catch up on and how much time for late reg is left. When I'm downsizing this feeling intensifies and I may spend too much of my focus on the lobbies instead of the tournaments I am actually playing.
- Two ways to go about it: First is a technical one which is simply scheduling and creating rules for table count and registering times and being strict with that. Second is a mental one which is to reframe the EV and ROI of playing a specific table count and focusing more on games I have vs on starting to play new tournaments. As an example for the current series: yesterday after quite an expensive session I registered 3 tournaments outside my planned schedule at the end which caused me to lower my table count 1 hour later than I intended too. This arguably hurt my EV in that session as I would focus less on each tournament in progress and in the whole month as it wouldn’t let me finish earlier and recharge
Small details can sometimes make a big difference. Going ahead the aim is to be more supportive in difficult emotional moments and just accept it is understandable I sometimes react ‘inappropriately’ giving my childhood and personality and to realise on the consciousness level that to miss a tournament is totally fine and will not make literally any difference whatsoever.
May 18, 2022 | 5:56 p.m.
My second biggest lifetime win
I officially broke my bad luck on PokerStars by shipping the Mini BB HR 55usd on Stars and left behind 4 thousand players and won little over 20k usd. I also finally broke the series of lost heads-ups which were at number 6 already, so finally I enjoyed the sweet taste of winning.
It was a sick run where pretty much everything went my way. I won the important flips and went to the final table as a close chip leader. I was lucky to have a position on the second biggest stack which was a good Brazilian reg, then when down to 5 players I lost most of my stack and went down to 7bb stack but managed to bounce back. With last three I shoved A3 of spades blind vs blind for 12bb, ran into pocket kings, turned an Ace and went to the heads up with equal stacks and preserved my good luck so it was done in half an hour.
I’ve always dreamed of shipping this tourney so I;m very happy it came through.
Friday is a deserved day off because there are no SCOOP events going on. I’m looking forward to the weekend - made a day to in 33usd rebuy SCOOP with average stack coming 100/250 left with 30k up top and also a first time playing a mystery bounty 25usd on GG where I qualified with 80bb stack so there should be some opportunities to bust others and win the mystery bounty. On Sunday we’ll have the 500usd Sunday Million on Stars and 525 BB HR 1.25m GTD on GG.
May 13, 2022 | 7:27 p.m.
First days of the series
After 4 days of grind since the series started I feel pretty good and I’m still very excited to play. I made day 2 in the Sunday Million with an average stack but unfortunately it lasted only 7 minutes until I lost a big flip AKo vs QQ. Next one, please.
Yesterday I managed to finish 2nd in Fifty Stack on GG for around 6k usd which will probably just bounce me back over the zero line on the dollar graph for this month - gotta admit that I was a bit tempted to check the profit so far for this month when I’m playing higher but I resisted in the end and stick to my rules of not checking daily or weekly results.
One nice upgrade I discovered from a podcast is to listen to binaural beats to boost concentration and brain performance and after a 3 day trial I think I’m gonna pay for the subscription. It really feels like I’m able to focus and think more clearly with this music in my headphones and there are other useful types of music that I can use for relaxation, creative work or sleeping - it’s called brain.fm if anyone wants to check it out (no affiliation).
Today I took a first day off to attend short coaching, hit the gym, do hand history review and watch some of my teammates streams. Later I’ll go to the sauna and tomorrow I’ll get back to the tables.
May 11, 2022 | 9:58 p.m.
So here comes the spring series on Stars. GG announced the series too as expected and even Party will bring some special events so there will be plenty of action for the MTT players for the rest of the month. I am very excited to get playing but this turned out to be a somewhat dangerous approach in the past so I spent a bit more time preparing in terms of scheduling, mindset and routine.
Here’s the plan:
- Playing days: 5x/week (Fridays and Wednsedays off)
- Playing hours: Normally starting around 11.30am local time and finishing registering around 5.00pm with Sundays starting 1-2 hours earlier
Table count: my max table count is 12 tables, the plan is to start with around 10 tables to avoid missing slots for series events that start later. For every session I set time to go down to 9 tables and then to 6 tables
Daily routines - I’m gonna stick to my standard morning, pre-sess and cooldown routines as they are pretty optimised already
- Work-out - my gym routine is going to suffer, which is okay. I’ll stick with light exercise on playing days and optional heavy workout on non-playing days
- Study - only HH review for previous week with my HM3 filters for punts, bluffcatach and 3bet pots
The motto is: THE MORE IS LESS
When there’s lot of action at the tables I always tend to overdo the volume so this time it is non-negotiable to stick to the table count rules and ot my tournaments schedule - after consulting with my hypnotherapist/life coach he made me create a schedule for tournaments that I am going to play incl. series and non-series events for every single day. First I was a bit annoyed as it seemed like a waste of time but actually already after finishing it I could feel determined to stick to the rules and imagine it will be much easier to let go of the voice in my head that says I can still play some more or that I have energy to keep higher table count. On a conscious level I realize this will increase my EV in the course of the whole series and one day or couple of tournaments won’t make much difference. This will also help to relax and maintain energy for the upcoming days.
So I made a very detailed plan, took some days off to relax before, recapped strategies and other technical stuff. Last month was great money results-wise which will help to keep the expectations down and I feel ready to sit down and have some fun at the tables.
I’m gonna start on Saturday with a lighter session to warm up and then go full speed on Sunday. I’m gonna tackle pretty much all the 215usd SCOOP events, some 500usd and the 1k main last Sunday.
LG and GL to everyone who’s gonna play too
May 6, 2022 | 6:04 p.m.
Play min 450MTTs - YES - played 577 based on SC
Study min 60h - NO - my study sheet counted 40h of study, which is still acceptable due to 1 ‘study week’ missed due to my trip to Costa Rica. I wanted to push studying pre-series and this week before series I am to study more or less 10-15h extra which can be counted in. In general I want to stick with 10h/week as an absolute must for study and challenge myself to add some extra hours if possible.
Review min. 3 deepruns - YES - 2x alone and 1x with my peers from Detox
Post min 4 hands on HH server of Poker Detox - NO - managed only to post 3 hands, no excuse here
Spend min 3h on mindset work/reflection - YES - hypnotherapy and revisiting my mindset notes
Min 2x a week visualisation of my best self handling difficult spots - NO - to be completely honest with myself I did it the first week but then for lack of organisation I might have done it couple more times, but for sure didn’t reach the goal
Create a time slot for a weekly reflection and follow it - YES - probably the biggest accomplishment of this month! I set a date and time to do my reflection and after that I found myself reflecting and journaling even more often than I had planned. I can feel so much benefit out of that simple habit I believe I just created.
Goals for May - the main focus is the series so I will focus mainly on mindset, planning and performance optimization. I will set the goals that I failed last month. And will post a bit more detailed plan for the series in the next few days.
- Study 1x per week doing HH review of the previous week.
- Post min 4 hands on HH server of Poker Detox - as hand review will be the only study I plan to do I should manage to post a hand every week to get some feedback from my teammates
- Min 1x a week visualisation of my best self handling difficult spots - going down from 2x to 1x/week in order to build a habit. The idea is to set exact day and time for that
May 4, 2022 | 7:04 p.m.
Back from a short vacay
First to complete my collection of second places from this month, here's another nice score from last Sunday on Winamax in Highroller 250eur. In the end I was on a pretty sick heater the second half of this month.
The trip to Costa Rica was great, we spent one day surfing in Santa Teresa (I’m the second left in the picture below), one day visiting a waterfall and beach near there and one day in a rainforest in Monteverde. Overall we had lots of fun with my teammates from Poker Detox and I feel very refreshed and relaxed. Costa Rica is an amazing place and definitely deserves more than 5 days, so I’ll definitely come back one day to explore more - especially the nature which is really beautiful there.
Now the plan is to get ready for Sunday and Monday poker grind and during the next week I’ll do April sum-up and prep for May when there is gonna be the SCOOP series.