dedeblazek's avatar

dedeblazek

30 points

November sum-up and December goals
November was a very productive month. I feel very great progress in terms of fixing my leaks and discovering new areas. Results-wise it was great, also I had a bunch of big deepruns and got close to some huge scores. Performance-wise it was a bit of a rollercoaster. Mostly coming from mindset issues and pushing myself to my limits when not necessary. This reflects in my goals evaluation and will in my December goals as well.

What did I do well?
Study and fixing technical leaks
Lowered my table count to 10 as standard

November goals:
Stick with registration hours and table count rules
-This seems to be the main driver and/or the result of bad performance. When I don’t have some deepruns I feel like I need to maximise my registering hours and table count. On the days when I performed very well I managed my registration and table count very well and the opposite when I performed poor.

Study at least 60h
-In my study sheet I ended up on 62h and feel like I covered everything that I have planned. Started doing short study sessions 1-2h on playing days in the morning after my morning routine either alone or with my peers reviewing hands

Play at least 500 MTTs
-ended up on 600 which is 20% above my goal therefore indicates an alert for me that I might be pushing too much - not in terms of playing days but more with registration hours

Devote at least 1h/week for mindset
-Total spent 2.5h for mindset work which is a progress but not enough to fulfil the goal. I need to reframe the time spent on this because I often feel like I would rather do some technical studying instead, but this is something that will undoubtedly increase my EV, especially in the long run. I have plenty of materials and areas to investigate for now.

December goals:
It will be a week or two off the tables during Christmas as my family is going to visit me in Mexico, therefore lower requirements for grind and study and more days off.

Registration and table count
-week days:
Start playing 11-11.30am 8 tables as warm up
Peak 12.30-4.30pm 10 tables
Ease off 5pm 8 tables - register only table filers
Cooldown 6pm 6 tables - no more registering

-Sunday
Start playing 10-11am 8 tables as warm up
Peak 11.30-4.30pm 12 tables
Ease off 5pm 8-10 tables - register only table filers
Cooldown 6pm 6 tables - no more registering

Play at least 300MTTs - focus on quality rather than quantity

Study at least 30 hours

Time spent on mindset at least 2h

Dec. 1, 2022 | 12:12 a.m.

Good reads: 2. E. Tolle - The New Earth
This is another book that is and most likely always going to be one of my all time favourites. It is simply filled with the presence, peace and wisdom of life.
It gave me a new way to see the world and myself. I once listened to an audiobook and once read the kindle version. Time to time I listen to E. Tolle’s teaching on Spotify where he goes deeper to some of the concepts from the book.
I think soon it’ll be time to re-read this piece again and that’s really my intention to do every year or two because it’s helped develop myself in my personal and professional life and most importantly caused at least a partial ego dissolution. Powerful stuff. Simply a must read.

“The ego isn’t wrong, it is just unconscious. When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. Don’t take the ego too seriously...Above all, know that the ego isn’t personal. It isn’t who you are. ”

“There is the dream, and there is the dreamer of the dream. The dream is a short-lived play of forms. It is the world – relatively real but not absolutely real. Then there is the dreamer, the absolute reality in which the forms come and go. The dreamer is not the person. The person is part of the dream. The dreamer is the substratum in which the dream appears, that which makes the dream possible. It is the absolute behind the relative, the timeless behind time, the consciousness in and behind form. The dreamer is consciousness itself – who you are.”

Nov. 23, 2022 | 8:06 p.m.

Evaluation of the goals from starting the blog a year ago
Before going to the goals, just a quick update on my mystery bounty virginity - I did it guys! It was rather fast and clumsy but it made me feel great! No big expectations for the first timer and humble acceptance of 40eur bounty. Remarkably it was the only one I won and I managed to play for hours and get from 1k runners left to around 150 left. Anyways I heard the second time and forward it’s just getting better and better so…

Here are the goals:
1.Move up in stakes and crush 200$ games in daily schedule and 500$ - 1k$ games during the series
-Feeling great about that, I got a couple of titles in 215, 250 and 320 and I’m not stopping here.

2.Reach 200k$ profit in one year from today (12.11.2021)
I’m a bit late for this and missing quite a big chunk still. I decided to give myself more chances to reach this (with all honesty this is the less important goal for me, but do it for fun) and extend it to the end of the year. The idea is to set new goals for the new year and have a more memorable deadline not to miss it again.

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)
-I work with a couple of GTO tools for learning now and I feel I’m expanding my knowledge little by little. Again, not stopping here.

GL all

Nov. 19, 2022 | 12:05 a.m.

Weekend playing marathon continues
My usual playing schedule is from Friday to Monday but this week I had to extend it. All the fun started on Sunday when I made a final table in GG Masters 150$ and finished 6th for almost 14k$ and also qualified for day 2 in Winamax 250e PKO HR. On Monday it was a juicy session again as I made it to day 3 on Winamax with 30 players left and shipped BB 109 on stars for 9k. Tuesday I played only the deeprun and busted 18th after 2 hours of playing and took the rest of the day to relax and recharge to get ready for Wednesday grind - normally I’m off or studying but I qualified in Mystery bounty 20eur 600k GTD on Winamax. Fun fact - I have never won a single mystery bounty yet in my life and I played some tournaments of this type. Who knows maybe I won’t be a mystery bounty virgin anymore tomorrow. The field is still huge so I decided to play a full session today.
Let’s have some fun. GLGL

Nov. 16, 2022 | 2:29 p.m.

Nice scientific explenation! Makes lot of sense to me. Just last week I experimented and did a moderate-heavy weight dead lifts before my session and ended up pretty much autopiloting the whoel session and feeling quite drained. So another anecdotal experience matching with the science. Never again, gonna stick to my short aerobic excercises.

Nov. 16, 2022 | 2:22 p.m.

Edge of the tables: 4. Exercise
Pretty simple and straightforward one, but yet very effective.
As I learned there is a lot of scientific evidence that proves the benefits of regular exercising. Besides the longevity, improvement of metabolic functions and many other long term benefits, there are short term and immediate effects of exercising that can undoubtedly bring edge to the poker table:

  • Endorphin release - these chemical improves mood a trigger positive feeling, which is a great way for overall mental health and good mindset for a poker session
  • Dopamine release - releasing the chemical of motivation with a way such as exercise can help to stabilise the dopamine levels during the highs and lows which a poker rollercoaster can bring (a bit more detail about dopamin above in my Edge of the tables: 3. post)
  • Improvement of concentration and energy - paradoxically by exercising we burn calories, which makes us more tired in the moment of performing but at the same time increases the energy and concentration levels later during day (there will be a sweet spot, different for every individual)
  • Improvement of cognitive function - some types of exercise will better cognitive warm up than others, what I learnt the best are tennis, swimming and running as it requires the brain to keep coordinating the movements of right side and left side of the body

I think it’s important to mention that the time and intensity of exercise is something to consider and will depend on one’s shape and readiness on the exact day. I have a friend who would do an hour long, very intense heavy weight crossfit session and feel great to play poker after that, while for me what works best is 15-20min intense exercise, mostly I stick with swimming or bodyweight HIIT but sometimes even a 10min walk in the sun is a good way to go. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend anyone to run a marathon and then expect to perform the best at the tables. There are limits to everything (except the pot size in NLHE).
Personally I found this a very effective way to boost my energy and performance for a session! GL!

Nov. 10, 2022 | 2:48 p.m.

October sum-up and November goals
Pretty tough month in general. Didn’t manage to make that many deepruns as usual and neither did I run that good in those I made. That caused quite a big swings, therefore a big mindset challenge. I also discovered some obvious leaks, therefore it’s time to start working on my game even more. But besides the results here’s a a sum up of how it went the last month:

What I did well:
Got back to my top performing lifestyle (sleep and readiness scores on my oura ring were through the roof)
Go back to my study routine (47 study hours, even with first week off due to travelling)

What could I improve:
The main adjustment for next month is to lower my table count from 12 to 10 as standard
The reason for this is adding some higher buy-ins in my daily schedule (Bounty King 315 and BB HR 530 on GG) and as well to put more focus on quality rather than quantity in order to battle the downswing
Stick with registration hours and table count rules
Study at least 60h
Play at least 500 MTTs
Devote at least 1h/week for mindset

Nov. 1, 2022 | 9:21 p.m.

Small stakes, high BI Sunday bink & stoic wisdom
It’s been a while since I shipped a tournament and even though I am grateful for every deeprun and final table score, there’s always the lack of satisfaction even if I finish 2nd place in a huge field. ‘In it to win it’ is the motto. This was a fun one. Sunday's PKO run, where I was very lucky throughout the whole tourney but also it was one of my best sessions in terms of mindset. I managed to stay calm and patient, manage my table count to the deepruns and be patient and relaxed with my decisions and the outcomes I faced.

Most day of the week I listen to short passage of stoic wisdom (Daily Stoic podcast by Ryan Holiday) and the last I listened to really resonated with me - it’s titled ‘You Make Your Own Good Fortune’
The idea is that in everyone’s life there’s time where everything goes their way, they are lucky and fortunate, kinda the exact opposite of Murphy’s law. Which of course does not last forever. But instead of looking at it as: ‘I was once a fortunate man, but at some point fortune abandoned me,’ we should see the fortune in our good character, good actions and good intentions, in how we see the world and what we do for ourselves and for others. So instead of being fortunate meaning being lucky it’s more of gratitude and acceptance.

GL

Oct. 25, 2022 | 4:39 p.m.

My goals:
1.Move up in stakes and crush 200$ games in daily schedule and 500$ - 1k$ games during the series
- Getting more and more comfortable playing 200$ buy-ins and adding some 250$ and 300$ to my daily schedule. During the series playing the best 500$ and 1k$ - it is an area where I put the most focus mindset wise right now and planning to keep doing that.

2.Reach 200k$ profit in one year from today (12.11.2021)
- Still missing quite a big chunk to make this real. With higher ABI the swings at higher and low volume during summer months didn’t help either. No stress though, MTT poker has ups and downs and big scores can come any time.

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)
- This is an area where I am starting to put more and more focus as it becomes necessary in many parts of the game tree against very good opponents. I’d say I improved a lot since last year but definitely still have tons of work to do.

Not stopping, on my way up. LFG

Oct. 18, 2022 | 10:07 p.m.

Making peace with variance
For poker players and especially for MTT poker players variance is an inevitable part of the process. Having only profitable months and a graph aiming only upwards sounds like a dream but is rather a utopian idea. The truth is that variance is actually necessary and is what makes the game profitable for professionals. All this is very easy to forget in the storm of thousands of hands every week.

Let me get back to the graph with a line going up. I’m sure there are many crushers whose graph looks exactly like this, so that is not to say it is impossible. It is, however, under one condition - enough sample. On a low sample a graph like that is pure luck. Here is a way to seeing the bigger picture and visualise variance:

Zoomed out:
Focusing on the process rather than the short term results
Being consistent with lifestyle (sleep, nutrition, exercise), studying and playing volume
Evaluate every session/week/month based on those parameters above rather than $ results
For that reason ideally not checking any short term $ results
-> this is the recipe for skyrocketing graph over long term

Zoomed in:
If you take big enough sample of this type of graph and zoom in - on any part of the graph, you will see the variance - I call it the ‘graph’s teeth’
Let’s say you have all the aspects for a long term success on point. With all the rational points kept in mind, there’s two ways to go about it during the process:
1. Getting angry about the graph’s teeth and wasting energy everytime a big flip on semi-final table is lost, getting 3-outted in a spot for a chip lead, getting a cooler on major final table or bubbling 5 tournaments during one session, whatever it may be.
2. Making peace with variance and accepting everything that is happening at any moment with the intention of playing to the best of the current ability, learning and improving.

All this is much easier said than done. But it is absolutely crucial for success in poker, because the feedback loop is very long and therefore hard for the human mind to accept and understand.
The big danger of not understanding this is that:
- A poker player with an optimal lifestyle, study routine and volume playing a profitable winning strategy may feel like he needs to drastically change his attitude or even a technical aspects, when on a downswing, while the reality is he just needs to get through the graph’s teeth.
- A poker player with a suboptimal lifestyle, study routine and volume playing losing strategy, may feel like he’s in a perfect place and doesn't need to change a thing, while on a heater.
Both will end up losing in the long term.

Lately, I found myself taking many bad spots very personally, blaming the poker gods and feeling like a victim of variance. That’s why I put my thoughts on this page.
Let’s make peace with the variance again and the results will naturally come.

Oct. 15, 2022 | 4:13 p.m.

Hola papi!
Agree that in those situations it's likely better to step back, let it flow and relax - the exact opposite of what our instincts said. And self compassion is a big one too, just be fine with whatever happens and support yourself as much as you can, if it is mistake, pressured situation, bad beat or whatever.

Graph update coming soon!

Oct. 15, 2022 | 4:11 p.m.

Moving up in stakes - Pressure
‘Ignore the $ value and only focus on making profitable decisions’ is easier said than done. Everyone who’s aiming to move up in stakes in poker will face challenges on the way in one shape or another.

For me personally, this is a constant challenge as I have started on micro stakes almost years ago and aim to keep increasing my ABI. Here’s a funny observation:
‘Alright, now focus, don’t fck it up, this is the most important tournament of the session with quite a lot of money on the line, so better avoid making punts and mistakes.’*
Something along these lines would be going on in my head every time I play higher than before. During the last series I noticed similar self talk when playing 500/1k$ buy-ins and I realised that I was in the very same spot a couple years back when I played Big 22$ and Bounty Builder 33$ for the first time and felt exactly the same stress and pressure.

Pressure
- It is the natural response of the human mind when being put in a challenging situation. It is a very counterproductive tool. (The challenging situation being playing the tournament itself, therefore it is a constant state of mind as long as the tabel is on the screen)
- Being in pressured, stressful situation usually triggers the fight or flight mode and will lead to response depending on one’s archetype - risk averse person will end up playing way to tight and giving away EV by not bluffing and bluffcatching enough and the risk taker might end up spewing his stack in completely unreasonable spot.

How to go about it?
- Be aware of your archetype and in unclear spots go the opposite way - in my case it’s the risk averse archetype for the most part - therefore, whenever I am in a spot when it feels very close to bluff or bluffcatch I should take the riskier decision.
- The main goal is to make profitable decisions which will make money over time, the immediate result doesn’t matter - remind this to yourself and keep it in mind
- Feel and live the challenge - 90% of the spots in the higher games will be exactly the same as in the lower games, great! I can be confident it is the right game for me to play; 10% of the spots might be very difficult ones, facing tough players and feeling like being exploited, great! Now I can change the gear of my poke brain and try to solve it to the best of my ability and if I’m lost or make a negative EV decision, I can mark the hand and improve my game in a certain area that I never could’ve done unless playing this high.

So when I look at my poker journey until now as a whole I can differentiate between two states of mind whenever I play higher than I used to
1. Pressured, risk averse, emotionally attached, looking for uncontrollable outcomes that I can blame and feel like a victim - which causes playing my B or C game, missing many data points and idiciations, creating story narrative and justifying my plays on subjective feelings rather than well grounded knowledge
2. Being ‘in the zone’, being excited about the challenge, sticking to my standard play most of the time, using my intuition in some spots where I don’t have vision and being happy about whatever outcome it brings, being grateful and see it as an opportunity to battle very good opponents to learn from them

Oct. 6, 2022 | 4:13 p.m.

WCOOP 2022 reflections
The winter series are over and it’s been quite a rollercoaster for me. With the skyrocket starting to swing down for almost the rest of the series with a couple of big chances that were close to reach but missed in the end.
Huge field tournaments (1500 entrants avg) and I reached my highest ABI of my career, mainly due to playing as high as $1k and 400-500$ flights. Objectively I didn’t run that well in the highest range of my buy-ins but with all honesty there is as well a ton of work to be done to improve in those tuffer fields. Both technical wise and mindset wise - I felt a pressure and emotional attachment in the highest tournaments and it’s something I need to reflect on more (I will write a post about climbing up in stakes).

What went well:
- Balancing of grind, study and rest
- Reflecting on table count, volume and playing hours and adjusting accordingly

What could I improve?
- Staying present in difficult spots and put the effort to solve them to the best of my ability
- Self support and letting go in deep runs
- Handling expectations

Overall it was a great experience to share a grind house with my teammates. I learnt a lot in terms of technical poker as well as mindset and lifestyle choices. Even though I ended up down, these four weeks of intense grind opened my mind and uncovered a lot of areas for improvement and at the end of the day that’s my ultimate goal for every day - looking to improve.

Oct. 1, 2022 | 5:37 p.m.

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

GLGL

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

GL all

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
LFG

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.

August sum-up
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.
Vamooo!

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
MP calls
BB 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.

GL all!

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.
Cheers

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.

GL everyone

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.

June goals
- 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.
GL

June 25, 2022 | 8:51 a.m.

Progress of goals when starting the blog
My goals:
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.

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