Posts Tagged ‘poker psychology’

Neutralize Stress, Reduce Pressure

by , Aug 11, 2011 | 5:06 am

Jen Dunphy

Poker Life Coach

Making a distinction between pressure and stress is important at the poker table whether you are playing tournament or cash; so let’s get the details straight.

– Stress in any form generally happens or just exists like pollution, life changes or traffic.

– Pressure is imposed by yourself or others in the form of deadlines, personal standards and beliefs about the “right” way to do things.

Leaving room for reality that neither is always the case; we often think of stress as pressure and pressure as stress. Makes sense right? However, this isn’t always true.

Most players when faced with stress (small stack, the bubble, aggressive opponent) react with resistance. Resistance is hard work and can make you tired (another stress) which can make you want to give up on what’s important to you (a personal pressure) and so on and so on…

Whether a heart rate goes up or a body gets tense, we tend to resist stress. The irony is resisting magnifies the stress, which tends to have you put more pressure on yourself to be successful; creating a self feeding cycle that leads people to a state of pain – aka. Tilt!

To minimize any negative impact on your game, do a bit of self-searching to notice how you react to stress and where there is pressure in your life. Being aware of your reactions, beliefs and internal self-talk will help you keep stress and pressure in check.

Whether you notice it at the table or just going about your day, ask yourself: How do I react to stress, and where is there pressure in my life?

Your answers will give you the ability to identify when and where you are resisting stressors and creating pressure.

Another strategy is to practice being with the stress without reacting to it (like watching a movie instead of being in it). Pull yourself above the situation to witness it from the outside. See yourself as a character and make decisions as a director. This perspective will help you make a decision based on the facts with less stress, and thus pressure removed.

If you are anything like my clients (and myself of course), you may be putting undo pressure on yourself by responding to stress with negativity or resistance. Check it out, see what you notice and start making a conscious choice to relate to stress and pressure in a way that supports you and your game.

Certified Life Coach Jen Dunphy shares her mind-and-body insight for poker players semi-regularly on Pokerati. You can read her columns here, and follow her on Twitter here.

Sammy Inspiration for the WSOP

by , May 21, 2010 | 6:44 pm

A few years ago, Mike Matusow was drinking pink Vitamin Water for the critical focus he needed during the WSOP. The next year it was just a matter of keeping up with his meds and occasionally mumbling about happy thoughts. Then, somewhere in there, he threw away his laptop and asked friends to forcibly prevent him from playing online.

Heading in to the 2010 World Series, we’ve learned from reliable sources, Matusow has retained the services of Sam Chauhan to give him a mental edge. Two other well-known TV pros also apparently signed up to become Sammy’s mindset disciples, but based on my own eavesdroppings, they want to keep the relationship private … so I’ll respect that (for now).

But maybe his luck is running out? He dad have a few clients on Team USA in this week’s WTP, including Matusow and team captain Phil Hellmuth, and yet the Americans had no one make the final table.


WSOPeople: John Monnette

by , Jun 4, 2009 | 11:29 pm

Imagine this … you’re heads-up against Phil Ivey for your first bracelet … up and down up and down … you start to believe you actually have a chance:

John Monnette, who banked $59,587 for finishing in 2nd place in the $2,500 2-7 NL-1d, can take pleasure in knowing that he won more money for his last win — “Big Poker October” — than Ivey did in this one.

Not counting sidebets, of course.

How to Win a Bracelet

by , Jun 1, 2009 | 9:50 am

Good post by Gugel over at AnskyPoker where he breaks down the three things you need to be a great poker player. These kinda-sorta go without saying, but at the same time, it’s always good (for many of us) to see a visual reminder for a more embraceable understanding of the concept:

I think the only thing he forgets in this model is “lucky rivers”.

RE: Brian Townsend Admits Multiaccounting (2)

by , Sep 11, 2008 | 1:34 am

Just watched this week’s episode of the WSOP … and saw Phil Laak in the Old Man disguise for the first time. Couldn’t help but think, as pointed out by a commenter, how is this any different than someone’s having two different accounts online?

He gave an interview in July to CardPlayer* where he talks about the stunt sociological poker experiment, the benefits of anonymity, and how players can change their live persona at the table over the years.

*CardPlayer goes embeddable!?! Great, now what’ll we bitch about? Nice!

Best pic of Phil in disguise here.

Pokerdoodle: Sick

by , Aug 27, 2008 | 7:41 pm

Funny poker cartoon by Gabriel Utasi about getting sick of poker

What Does Phil Hellmuth Do on Break?

by , Jul 12, 2008 | 9:20 pm

With 92 players remaining, Phil Hellmuth is in about dead-middle of the pack, with 1.28 million chips. He had climbed up from near the bottom of the pack some two hours earlier, where he had to fight off some major steam after some bad beats/21st century plays. On break, Hellmuth asked if he could stay in the Amazon Room just to pace, but tournament staff said sorry, they couldn’t make any special exceptions (even for him), which conceivably added to his steam factor … so he went outside into the hot Vegas sun (actually, it was a relatively cool, humid 94 degrees) and paced back and forth along a straight line for the full 20 minutes.


You Make the Call

Correcting an overchipped table after the start of play

by , Jun 23, 2008 | 9:53 am

There haven’t been too many difficult floor decisions this year. There was supposedly a confusing situation during the heads-up tourney where two players took the wrong seats after the break and played out a few hands before the mistake was realized … but other than that, the most difficult theoretical situation was handled rather quickly and decisively without much alteration to tournament purity:

The event was one of last week’s big-field $1,500 NLHs … and the problem began with a single table in which every player started with an extra 1k in chips. Conclude what you will about donkament ethics and how the “prisoner’s dilemma” applies to poker … but no one said a word, and cards went in the air with every player at one table given a 33 percent starting-stack advantage.

It was supposedly about 20 minutes into play when a dealer recognized the problem. Floor supervisor Jimmy Sommerfield made the quick decision to rectify things by removing 1,000 chips from each player’s stack. Sounds simple enough, and in this situation it really was — very few chips had moved around, and not many decisions affected by falsified stack sizes. And besides, every one of them at the table was technically a dishonest bastard, so what are they gonna say?

But what if a few more hands had passed, and one of the players had only 900 chips remaining?


Poker Tells: $11 Tourney

by , Mar 24, 2008 | 9:54 pm

Pokerdoodle: Shrinkage

by , Mar 22, 2008 | 2:51 am