gazjax69's avatar


403 points

Though i will misse reading your opening post from your last blog. Always made me chuckle.

Cant wait to get stuck into the new content too.

March 23, 2024 | 1:21 p.m.

8th March
Don't unintentionally hand over your freedom

“if a person gave away your body to some passerby, you'd be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled - have you no shame in that?”
Epictetus, Enchiridion

I always struggle to align my thinking with these types of quotes. I see them often on social media about keeping yourself to yourself and not sharing any of your personality etc with anyone. But ive always been excessively honest, not in a rude way where I might upset someone, but I am always happy talking about myself. It’s the only topic I know better than everyone else! Lol. But for me its not about telling my life story to anyone, its more about answering questions honestly. I don’t think I have anything to hide and im pretty proud of who I am so if someone wants to know details then I’ll usually tell them (Not bank details though).
I think there is a lot to be said about sharing your experiences etc with others in a realm where we are all adversaries, it might be the only genuine way of creating a strong connection with others beyond just helping ourselves to the knowledge they have and then moving on.

March 12, 2024 | 8:03 p.m.

7th March
Don't trust the senses

“Heraclitus called self deception an awful disease and eyesight a lying sense.”
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers

This has poker written all over it. There are so many areas of the game that I thought ‘I knew’ how the pool was playing and how recreational players were thinking. But having seen the data and having received some guidance on the key data points I was missing has opened my eyes massively to what is actually going on at the tables.
I would recommend trying t do some detailed MDA work to anyone (though the samples and computing power you will need for some lines is staggering) but the message I would follow that up with is this. Don’t make huge changes to your game and don’t assume all players will play the same as the pool. But use what you know about the data to better understand the psychology and range construction behind the data and use that with some reliable stats to adjust to the players.

March 12, 2024 | 7:57 p.m.

6th March
Don't tell yourself stories

“in public avoid talking often and excessively about your accomplishments and dangers, for however much you enjoy recounting your dangers, it's not so pleasant for others to hear about your affairs.”
Epictetus, Enchiridion

I think many poker players and gamblers are very quick to tell you when they’re winning or have just taken down a big score. For many it’s a justification of the time they spend on a gambling hobby, others its about ego and showing people how skilled they are.
I always find more value comes from the players who are willing to show their bad months as well as their winning months. In fact, if you are part of a poker community, it is especially important to share the downswings. Firsty, because it might highlight an area for development but mostly, its about showing team mates that even consistent winners should expect a downswing for significant periods of time.
I still reference Patrick when coaching guys who are concerned about things like this. He had his best year ever winning money that normal jobs can only dream of, yet he had a 200k hand breakeven stretch. He will admit that some of this was linked to game selection and maybe poor decision making as a result of poor variance. But this is an example of a top player with a very good WR just having to accept that variance can really kick you when you’re least expecting it.
But messages like this allow less experienced players to accept the enormity of variance and not to focus on short term results.

March 12, 2024 | 7:52 p.m.

5th March
Cutting back on the costly

“so, concerning the things we pursue, and for which we vigorously exert ourselves, we owe this consideration - either there is nothing useful in them, almost aren't useful. Some of them are superfluous, waffle this aren't worth that much. But we don't discern this and see them as free, when they cost us dearly.”
Seneca, Moral Letters

I think it is important in many aspects of life, to have clarity of what we hope to achieve with our actions and how best to achieve them. This is why I always recommend simplicity in both our play and our study strategies. Now obviously simplicity is on a sliding scale, studying XR defence strategies for me can be made simple or very complicated. But someone who hasn’t played much or hasn’t done any solver work will naturally find what I consider a simplification as quite complex.
But if we can firstly, have a strong understanding of what we are capable of remembering in game and then make simplified versions of this, then we can gain more clarity in our game. Once this becomes embedded we can add layers of complexity. But by this point, it wont be complexity, it will be a simplified version of the next step.

March 10, 2024 | 1:50 p.m.

Playng catch up.

4th March
Awareness is freedom

“the person who is free lives as they wish, neither compelled, nor hindered, nor limited - whose choices aren't hampered, whose desires succeed, and who don't fall into what repels them. Who wishes to live in deception - trip top, mistaken, undisciplined, complaining, in a rut? No one. These are base people who don't live as they wish; and so, no base person is free.”
Epictetus, Discourses

The best poker analogy for this is to be very conscious of where your winrate comes from. Yes it might be more convenient to grind a FF format of poker and im sure you can convince yourself (as I and many others have in the past) that you have better focus in those games. But The longer you play them, the more difficult it becomes to maintain that high level of focus consistently. At which point you will require your B game to have an edge over the other regs in the game. Otherwise the win rate you generate from the limited number of recreation in the pool (who also play tighter than reg tables) will be lost to the rake. There are certainly people who are beating these games, but be honest about your own level of play and keep a close eye on the data to decide if you can justify playing those games.

March 10, 2024 | 1:45 p.m.

Currently have a ton of IRL work stuff to get done, but will catch up with the quotes over the weekend.

March 7, 2024 | 10:30 p.m.

3rd March

“These things don't go together. You must be a unified human being, either good or bad. You must diligently work either on your own reasoning or on things out of your control - take great care with the inside and not what's outside, which is to say, stand with the philosopher, or else with the mob!”
Epictetus, Discourses

This quote is about trying to avoid switching between different personalities, between being reasoned and focused on what we control, compared with following the crowd and allowing negativity to seep in. From a poker perspective I always think of my strategy as something that spent a long time flip flopping back and forwards between what I perceived as better based on the public content available at the time. What I (eventually) came to realise is that firstly, I would often have been better trusting my original ideas. This was particularly true in the early days when decent content was limited. Secondly my I also now realise that my strategy should be a gradual evolution of layers that build on and compliment my base strategy. Not just going for blue line or red line etc.
Consider what parts of your strategy you know are right and think are right. Whenever yo find a node in the game tree you are unsure about, go away and take time to study it and integrate it into your game plan before moving onto something else.

March 4, 2024 | 10:25 p.m.

2nd March
Accurate Self-assessment

“Above all, it is necessary for a person to have a true self estimate, for we commonly think we can do more than we really care.”
Seneca, On Tranquillity of Mind

An accurate self assessment could be applied to several areas f poker. Firstly, our own skill level and weaknesses in our technical game, secondly, on our commitment to achieving our goals and lastly to our state of mind when sitting down to play.
Because poker is a game where a bad day at the office can actually cost you money (different from almost all other careers), it is important to ensure that you have a clear understanding of how you are feeling before you decide to play. Consider doing an A Game analysis of your focus, motivation, concentration and overall energy levels before deciding whether to play or not. To do this you will need to create a set of thresholds that you would expect to be at when on you’re a, B or C game. If you can generate practical ones such as a HH quiz on google forms or drilling vs a solver etc to more accurately measure your levels then even better.
You will also have to decide (which is almost impossible to truly know) if your C game or B game are good enough to make $$$. It might be that on your C game you take the time off, on your B game you table select more rigorously and on you’re a game be willing to reg battle to improve.

March 4, 2024 | 10:13 p.m.

1st March
Where philosophy begins

“An important place to begin in philosophy is this: clear perception of one's own ruling principle.”
Epictetus, Discourses

From a personal perspective, I have some clear principles/rules that guide my decision making when playing poker. These principles can fit onto an A4 piece of paper and they are my baseline for how I expect to play. They are of course short hand for years of study and a solid understanding of theory, but when things become challenging or you have to make several complicated decisions at the same time, it's good to have a solid foundation to hold up your overall strategy.
This can further be related to how you plan to achieve your goals, have a set of principles that guide your study and play. For example, I will learn a set of heuristics based on a small number of flops/turns etc, I’ll then test my heuristics against the solver over a wide range of boards being very strict with them to make sure they are >95% accurate over a reasonable sample, and then I’ll use them in game to review in HH sessions to ensure im executing them effectively. These principles mean that I can have confidence in my strategy and therefore are less likely to have a negative emotional response when things play out badly.
What’s you underlining philosophy for poker?

March 1, 2024 | 8:19 p.m.

29th Feb (Was hoping I might get a day off 😊)
You cant always get what you want

“when children stick their hand down a narrow goodie jar they can't get their full fist out and start crying. Drop a few treats and you'll get it out! Curb Your desire - don't set your heart on so many things then you'll get what you need."
Epictetus, Discourses

Totally true in the sese that so many people aim to become a specialist in a variety of fields. Take Holdem and Omaha, or Cash and MTTs. Its extremely difficult to become a specialist in multiple fields, because if you could achieve it in half the time then those who committed fully would out shine you and you would no longer be a specialist. Obviously there is a plateau in the gains we can make as players once we reach a certain level of play and at that point it becomes more about fine tuning and execution. Maybe then you can turn your transferable skills towards another game (E.g. Demondoink), but if you are still trying to climb the stakes and have a full time job etc then dividing your attention with another project is very likely going to make you mediocre in several areas.

March 1, 2024 | 8:11 p.m.

28th Feb
When you lose control

“The soul is like a bowl of water, and our impressions I like the ray of light falling upon the water. When the water is troubled, it appears that the light itself is moved to, but it isn't. So, when a person loses their composure it isn't their skills and virtues that are troubled, but the spirit in which they exist, and when that spirit comes down so does those things.”
Epictetus, Discourses

Losing control is one of the most costly mistakes we can make as poker players. The cost of the mistakes can range from losing some Ev when a key data point is missed, all the way to huge blunders because we are making emotional decisions.
But when we do feel these intense emotions, its not our skill level that changes, but how we apply the skill we have. Jared Tendler popularised the idea (for poker players at least) of having varying levels of competence where skills learned to our unconscious competence will be executed regardless of our level of engagement and our conscious competence skills need a bit more focus to be consistently executed. It’s therefore important for us to not only manage our emotions, but organise our study time to ensure that the new concepts we are learning are being embedded and practiced in a way that will promote them to a level of unconscious competence.
To do this I recommend concepts are learned and practiced in a 3 part system. Firstly learned and practiced in isolation (Think drilling a specific node and formation) to develop understanding without too many other factors distracting from the core concept we are learning. Then onto a practice situation which mimics the real situation but without the time constraints and additional cognitive requirements needed in the real game (Example of this is HH reviews of the same specific node/formation). Then finally practiced in a real life example. Ideally this example should be low stress and provide feedback, however getting instant feedback in poker is too unreliable. So our example of this is playing a stake below your normal game and tagging every HH that you play in that formation.
There is more we can do with this including finding similar but different examples to identify key differences or being able to explain the concept to someone who doesn’t play poker etc, but the 3 steps outlined above a very solid strategy for skill development.

Feb. 28, 2024 | 5:11 p.m.

27th Feb
Cultivating indifference where others grow passion

“Of all the things that are, some are good, others bad, and yet others indifferent. The good are virtues and all that share in them; the bad are the vices and all that indulge them; the indifferent lie in between virtue and vice and include wealth, health, life, death, pleasure, and pain.”
Epictetus, Discourses

This quote focusses on avoiding strong emotional responses and feelings. Strong desires towards or against something only empowers it as another element of our lives that has the potential to hold you back. Many of the guys ive coached have struggled with consistent volume, particularly those who have played the game for a long time. Naturally we lose that motivation to play as we do with anything that is forced. Even the most entertaining computer games, designed to be super addictive, become monotonous given enough time.
My response to this is often 2 fold. Firstly, create a habit of going to “work”, its easy for those who aren’t their own boss to know the impact of persistently calling in sick. But for poker players its different, so it needs to be as easy as possible to start your grind. Everything from the schedule, the snacks, the sites, pre game warm-up etc, everything needs to be as easy as possible to gather that momentum. The second part is to find an area of motivation that you can attach to your play. It might be focussing on tracking a specific spot you are studying or looking for an opportunity to try an aggressive move in a certain node etc. But you have to have something that can focus your mind and motivate you to sit down and start clicking the right buttons.

Feb. 26, 2024 | 10:24 p.m.

26th Feb
To each his own

“Another has done me wrong? Let him see to it. He has his own tendencies, and his own affairs. What I have now is what the common nature has willed, and what I endeavour to accomplish now in what my nature wills.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Another quote reminding us to focus on what we can control, don’t be concerned with the opinions and behaviours of others, focus on what you can control and what you can achieve through your own will and dedication. We can relate this to many areas of poker, whether its allowing a poor play from villain to cause us to lose our temper or begin to tilt, or whether its focusing our study on something that hasn’t been justified, just because someone else says that it works.
Focus on what you think is right and how you want to act and let go of what others do.

Feb. 26, 2024 | 7:51 p.m.

25th Feb
The smoke and dust myth

“Keep a list before your mind of those who burned with anger and resentment about something, of even the most renowned for success, miss fortune, evil deeds, or any special distinction. Then ask yourself, how did that work out? Smoke and dust, the stuff of simple myth trying to be legend…..”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I had to seek a bit of help from Ryan on this one. But Ryan talks about how Marcus Aurelius was always conscious of the fact that so many great people before him had come and gone un-remembered. This is likely true of many high stakes players. The problem many face when climbing the poker ladder is that the ones who make swift progress based on an initial obsession and some natural skill can often burn out and fade away. Of course many go onto other ventures, but there are also plenty who wither completely burnt out and stopped trying to develop their game, eventually falling off the pace, and those that felt that they had a natural talent that didn’t need to be worked on. Carol Dweck is the leading writer on the concept of a growth mindset, the theory being that anyone can be successful with the right amount of work. Id say im in the inbetween camp in that we all have our limitations and potential, but hard and smart work will give you a better chance of being at the top of your potential.
So the main points to take away from this ramble is; make sure you don’t overwork yourself just to reach high stakes and then stall or fall behind. And secondly, if you make sure that you are constantly putting effort into tweaking and evolving your game in a smart and dedicated way then its likely you have the potential to achieve what you set out to achieve.

Feb. 25, 2024 | 9:58 p.m.

24th Feb
The real source of harm

“keep in mind that it isn't the one who has it in for you and takes a swipe that harms you, but rather the harm that comes from your own belief about the abuse. So when someone arouses your anger, know that it's really your own opinion fuelling it. Instead, make it your first response not to be carried away by such impressions, for which with time and distance self mastery is more easily achieved.”
Epictetus, Enchiridion

More evidence towards the concept of considering our perception. This time, specifically towards an individual. Consider then how you might adjust your play vs a specific opponent based on emotion and not on data. The most common adjustment is when we perceive a player is running over us and so we decide to call down in a spot where it isn’t justified. Always be mindful of how you are adjusting and if possible, set out parameters for how you should be adjusting and from which data points. Its likely that the villain running over you has just run well and isn’t targeting you in anyway.

Feb. 25, 2024 | 9:45 p.m.

Hey mate, thanks. Definitely find keeping up difficult on non-poker days (mainly the weekend) as I'm just not at my PC to write anything. Hence why I'm a day or 2 behind. But I'll catch that up tonight. SO as long as I'm keeping on track each week I'll be happy. Though the plan is to get to 100 and then reduce it down to a weekly one and maybe focus more on other areas of the mental game.

How's poker going for you?

Yer I've really enjoyed the stoic stuff and the more I read the more I can see tat the principles that they advise are actually supported by psychology. So if people want a less brain intensive way of learning strong mental principles its a great way to go.

Feb. 25, 2024 | 10:05 a.m.

23rd Feb
Circumstances have no care for our feelings

“You shouldn't give circumstances the power to arouse anger, for they don't care at all.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

This is a great reminder of how to perceive our tilt issues. Why are we letting circumstances have power over our emotions? Obviously from a more scientific perspective its about observing others and the social psychology of acting in a similar way to our peers, even when we know that its not the best way to respond. But it becomes ingrained in our subconscious and then is difficult to change because we react before we even think about the situation. However, if we can identify the triggers we have for negative emotional responses (tilt) then we can start to stop them earlier and over time we will begin to respond to them in a more neutral way. To do this though, try to think about why you react this way, its probably a very natural response, so you need to explain to yourself a more suitable way to respond and why its important or a more logical way to respond based on cognitive thought and not just “that’s bad = im angry” loop.

Feb. 25, 2024 | 9:54 a.m.

22nd Feb
What’s better left unsaid

“Cato practised the kind of public speech capable of moving the masses, believing proper political philosophy takes care like any great city to maintain the war like element. But he was never seen practising in front of others, and no one ever heard him rehearse speech. When he was told that people blamed him for his silence, he replied, ‘better they not blame my life. I begin to speak only when I'm certain what I'll say isn't better left unsaid’.”
Plutarch, Cato the Younger

Tricky one to relate to poker, but the final line highlighting only saying something that he has confidence should be said, could be relatable to our strategy construction. There are so many various strategies out there from various winning (and possibly not winning) players willing to provide advice. Our role as students of poker is to make sure that strategies are only added when we are confident that they need to be added.
When considering whether to add a different strategy to your game plan, consider whether it will add value or not. Just because a solver says it is ‘correct’ doesn’t mean that it will actually increase your WR as you may have already chosen an exploitative strategy that generates more EV.
Where possible, try to make an accurate assessment of the situation and better yet, see if your theory can be proven as a change that will increase your EV given the situation you plan to apply it to. Because only when we have confidence in our strategy can we resolve the mental game issues that arise from fear and doubt.

Feb. 22, 2024 | 7:56 p.m.

21st Feb
Wish not, Want not.

“Remember that it's not only the desire for wealth and position that debases and subjugates us, but also the desire for peace, leisure, travel, and learning. It doesn't matter what the external thing is, the value we place on it subjugates us to another…… where our heart is set, that our impediment lies.”
Epictetus, Discourses

This is a great reminder that it’s not just striving for power or money etc that might get in the way of our goals. But the other factors that might need to be sacrificed if we are going to achieve a dream that so many others foster. In any competitive endeavour where the majority of people start from a similar starting point, it’s the players who work the hardest and smartest who will come out on top.
Balance is of course important and there’s very little point in making significant amounts of money playing poker if you don’t have a plan for why it is going to benefit you. However, I also expect there are plenty of people reading this (If anyone is reading this 😊 ) that spend far too much time on unproductive tasks like watching youtube videos, scrolling social media, checking short term results, or just any kind of procrastination that stops you from putting in the true number of hours you planned to dedicate to poker this week/month.
Think of the main ways you procrastinate and consider how you could put actions in place to minimise this.

Feb. 21, 2024 | 10:56 p.m.

20th Feb
The grand parade of desire

“robbers, perverts, killers, and tyrants - gather for your inspection their so-called pleasures!”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

To be honest, im at a bit of a loss as to how I can link this to poker. So instead I’ll do a mini update.
Over the past few weeks I have noticed a significant slip in my lifestyle and as previously mentioned, its something that can have a long term impact that we might not notice in our drive to increase our volume. My plan is to wrap up my poker stuff by 10:30 so that I can get a decent nights sleep and still do some exercise before doing parental jobs like getting 2 kids off to school on time. This hasn’t really gone to plan. I also started a bit of a high protein Keto diet on Monday which was not great to be honest. The food and not snacking on sugary stuff hasn’t been a problem and I even went swimming on Monday night. But I think I must have become dehydrated or something, because on Monday night my brain was complete mush. Ended up going to bed early and not playing any poker because I couldn’t concentrate on anything.
Tuesday and Wednesday have been better as ive really upped my H2O and feel pretty decent for it. However, I did wake up to a really sharp pain in my neck which stopped any chance of exercise. I’m not sre how sustainable the Keto thing is, partly because alcohol is so high in sugar and I really enjoy the social element of sitting down with beer and wine with the wife after a week in work. But the plan is to keep it up until Easter and reassess.

Poker wise this year has gone well, Ive done a decent amount of coaching and the tables have been kind even if they might not feel as fishy as I would like. Getting FR tables above 200 is pretty rare and a seat almost never comes up until the recreational player leaves.

Feb. 21, 2024 | 10:48 p.m.

19th Feb
The banquet of life

“Remember to conduct yourself in life as if at a banquet. As something being passed around comes to you, reach out your hand and take a moderate helping. Does it pass you by? Don't stop it. It hasn't yet come? Don't burn in desire for it, but wait until it arrives in front of you. Act this way with children, a spouse, toward position, with wealth - one day it will make you worthy of a banquet with the gods.”
Epictetus, Enchiridion

This is a reminder to not seek out our goals to eagerly. The things that are worth achieving take time and so you should be patient. Many players I’ve worked with, and me included, have an urgency to succeed. Ironically, this only slows the process because when we start making poor decisions in the hope it will speed up our progress it actually does the opposite. One of the best examples of this is how we prioritise our lifestyle factors. I am far to quick to prioritise time working on poker over diet, exercise and sleep. This is one of the areas I plan to work on the most over the next few weeks, making sure that I eat healthy, go to bed at a set time so that I can have the energy to get up and exercise before work. Although it feels like I am going to reduce the amount of volume I put in, because the quality of the volume will be better (less punts or missed data points) it will likely have a neutral impact on my profit in the short term but a positive impact in the long term.

Feb. 19, 2024 | 9:33 p.m.

18th Feb
Prepare for the storm

“This is the true athlete - the person in rigorous training against false impressions. Remain firm, you who suffer, don't be kidnapped by your impressions! The struggle is great, the task divine - to gain mastery, freedom, happiness, and tranquillity.”
Epictetus, Discourses

So similar to the previous quote in the message. However, Ryan references having a plan and using that to support our progress. This is especially important in an endeavour as volatile as poker. Although we cant make predictions about the outcomes as accurately as we would like, what we can do is plan for the most common eventualities and plan against the risk of ruin that is around the corner for every under-prepared poker player. Make sure you have a plan both on and off the table, consider the rules you can follow when lost in a hand, consider the buffer needed to account for the volatility of the game. Once you have a plan you are confident with, then go out and execute it effectively.

Feb. 18, 2024 | 8:12 p.m.

17th Feb
The enemy of happiness

“it is quite impossible to unite happiness with a yearning for what we don't have. Happiness has all that it wants, and resembling the well fed, there shouldn't be hunger or thirst.”
Epictetus, Discourses

The principle behind this is…. Enjoy the journey. We talk about setting goals and achievements, constantly trying to move up in stakes (as we should be due to doubling $ compared with less than 50% reduction in WR). But if we are constantly focussing on the end goal, what happens when we achieve it? Studies have shown that sports performers are actually less motivated because they now don’t have anything to strive for. But if our goal is to follow a well-designed set of processes that will continue to move us forward then by consistently achieving these targets we will eventually reach the performance goals that we could have set anyway. The difference is, we will often go well beyond those goals because we are still focused on our processes.
Enjoy the journey, you’ll go further that way!!

Feb. 18, 2024 | 8:07 p.m.

16th Feb
Don’t make things harder than they need to be. *
“If someone asks you how to write your name, would you bark out each letter? And if they get angry, would you then return the anger? Wouldn't you rather gently spell out each letter for them? So then remember in life that your duties are the sum of individual acts. Pay attention to each of these as you do your duty……. Just methodically complete your task.”
**Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I actually interpret this quote differently from Ryan (the Author). From my perspective this reminds us that our success (duties) are the sum of several individual parts. This is especially true in poker where there are so many elements to the game itself. Not just several opinions on the best way to play strategically (think red line vs blue line winners) but also the overall strategy of maximising EV over the long run. Compare a live pro who has networked his way into huge games filled with weaker players there to gamble, with the online superstar who has such a great understanding of GTO that he can play in any line up. Also compare that of the MDA guys who are finding leaks in the pool so that they can use exploits.
What is important to realise is that, there is more than one way to make money playing poker, but making sure that you are working on all of the areas you need to, to make money is essential.
Think about what areas of your game you’ve been ignoring recently.

Feb. 16, 2024 | 3:46 p.m.

15th Feb
Only Bad Dreams

“Clear your mind and get a hold on yourself and, as when awakened from sleep and realising it was only a bad dream upsetting you, wake up and see that what's there is just like those dreams.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

This goes back to how we perceive grievances against us. We often feel like something is far worse than it is, particularly when directed at ourselves. The purpose of this quote is to remind us that when something negative happens in our life we should take a step back and consider whether or not, once its over with, was it really as bad as we perceived it in that moment. Being able to regularly reflect on the negatives such as downswings or bad beats or just typical set ups in a more logical way will minimise the impact that they have in the future. So when something bad happens, take a breath and consider how bad it really was. Does it happen to others? Will it destroy your world? Or is it just a common part of the game that everyone deals with in their own way and it will have a small negative impact on your progress but won’t bring you to a complete halt. If it does or could then you need to think through your logistics to reduce the impact that things like negative variance can have on you.

Feb. 15, 2024 | 9:46 a.m.

14th Feb
Think before you act

“For to be wise is only one thing- to fix our attention on our intelligence, which guides all things everywhere.”
Heraclitus, Quoted in Diogenes Laertius Lives of the Eminent Philosophers.

There is another common quote (not sure who by) that states think smarter not harder. This is particularly true of games so immensely complicated such as poker. You could spend a significant amount of time focussed on the wrong areas of study. This is where having a high level coach or being part of a CFP can increase the rate of your upward trajectory. If you don’t have access to something like this then be considerate of what the 80/20 principle. What are the main principles you could be working on to make the biggest improvements? Id start with flop defence ranges, value thresholds in the most common lines and identifying spots where villains under and over defend or bluff.

Feb. 15, 2024 | 8:14 a.m.

13th Feb
Pleasure can become punishment

“Whenever you get an impression of some pleasure, as with any impression, guard yourself from being carried away by it, let it await your action, give yourself a pause. After that, bring to mind both times, first when you have enjoyed the pleasure and later when you will regret it and hate yourself. Then compare to those the joy and satisfaction you'd feel for abstaining altogether. However, if a seemingly appropriate time arises to act on it, don't be overcome by its comfort, pleasantness, and allure - but against all of this, how much better the consciousness of conquering it.”
Epictetus, Discourses

There are many areas in which we can reference choosing immediate pleasure at the expense of later pain. This is essentially the basis for habit building, if we can make good things immediately rewarding and bad things immediately unrewarding or challenging then we are more likely to maintain the positives while discouraging us from taking part in the negatives.
Use this principle when you are planning to make healthy lifestyle or planning schedule improvements. Make the good ones stick by making them immediately rewarding and the bad ones less likely to stick by making them immediately less rewarding.

Feb. 13, 2024 | 2:10 p.m.

12th Feb
Protect your peace of mind

“keep constant guard over your perceptions, for it is no small thing you are protecting, but your respect, trustworthiness unsteadiness, Peace of Mind, freedom from pain and fear, in a word you're freedom. For what would you sell these things?
Epictetus, Discourses

Ive mentioned perceptions a few times during this blog, but I think it maye be one of the most under rated aspects of our mental game. How one person reacts to something compared to another is so often a result of a different perception of the situation. Therefore, if you can change your perception, or align it better with your goals, then you will respond in a more positive way.
If you let things work you up or upset you. Consider what your perception of the situation is. Could it be less negative or personally intrusive? Try to reframe the situation into something more realistic and positive than it currently is.

Feb. 12, 2024 | 9:15 p.m.

11th Feb
Hero or Nero?

“Our soul is sometimes aching, and sometimes a tyrant. A king, by attending to what is honourable, protects the good health of the body in its care, and gives it no base or sordid command. But an uncontrolled, desire fuelled, overindulged soul is turned from a king into that most feared and tested thing - a tyrant.”
Seneca, Moral Letters.

The quote is about how power corrupts, but a poker example is how success could drive laziness, procrastination and arrogance of our own abilities to succeed. It is important to keep in mind the dedication and hard work that got you to where you are now. Very few, if any, top pros made it to the top by innate talent and good fortune. The cast majority worked harder and smarter than those around them. Remember this when success comes to you, it is the result of effort and will only stay if the effort continues.

Feb. 12, 2024 | 9:15 p.m.

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