A-Game Poker Master Class by Elliot Roe – Complete Review
The game of poker has changed a lot over the years. Back in the day, it was enough for someone to put in a bit of extra work and adopt some new strategies to gain an edge over the field in their game of choice or at a particular stake level. Slowly but surely, the poker landscape has changed, and today beating the game becomes harder and harder to reach.
These days, everyone who takes poker seriously is constantly working on their skills utilizing various poker software solutions and different training options from coaching sites to one-on-one sessions. Thus, being the winner is no longer as easy as learning a few new strategies and implementing them into your game-plan.
In fact, those striving to compete at the highest level, have to understand that beating the game is much more than just math and numbers. It is a constant struggle to stay ahead of the curve and deal with all the challenges that are guaranteed to come your way.
The term “mental game” is not a new one, but for those playing against the best or looking to become the best, it has a very different meaning. And the latest Elliot Roe's course on Run It Once focuses entirely on these other aspects that you can’t find in charts or poker solvers.
Taught by Elliot Roe, one of the leading mindset coaches in the poker world, this course is designed to help set players on the path of success without dealing too much with any strategic aspects of the game. Throughout the six separate modules, the A-Game Poker Master Class introduces and explains a number of concepts and ideas that can be applied to many walks of life but with a specific focus on poker and challenges that those who choose the path of a professional player are guaranteed to face.
Week 1 by Elliot Roe – What’s Holding You Back?
As mentioned, the course is divided into six modules, and Elliot Roe suggests everyone takes at least one full week to go through a particular module and do various exercises contained within before moving on to the next module. Since the class is envisioned as a fully rounded plan for success, it is important not to rush things.
The first week’s module focuses on things that are likely holding you back. Before moving on to fixing anything, it is important to understand what it is that’s preventing you from where you want to go – and, perhaps even more importantly, where it is that you want to go.
One of the central questions posed in the first module is why is it that you want to be an A-Game player? Clearly, we all want to make more profit playing poker, but what are other underlying factors? Some people are playing purely for the money; for some others, the freedom that comes with playing poker professionally is the most important factor. Others enjoy the game for its competitive aspect, etc.
To find the path to success, it is important to take a long and hard look to define your personal vision. Understanding what it is that you want to achieve through poker will help you plan every step of the way. For example, maybe relocating would be better for your playing schedule but if that would mean leaving your friends and family behind, is that a sacrifice worth taking for you?
Getting to Your A-Game
The purpose of the course is to help players get from where they are right now to where they want to be. One great thing about this class is that it doesn’t try to force any goals onto you. Instead, it is designed in a way to help you look inside, define your own goals and create your vision within the poker framework.
An important thing about this journey, explains Roe, is understanding that this isn’t a magic pill. It is a long and hard process that players have to trust if they want it to work for them. There will be many obstacles along the way, many of them internal in nature, and they are addressed along the way. Getting rid of these mental blocks is essential to our success.
In the first module, Elliot Roe addresses four main areas that are most likely to hold you back on your path to becoming an A-Game player.
To be honest, I felt that these are right on the spot, and something that we usually miss or don't want to confess to ourself.
Some of these ideas you may dismiss at first, but that’s only natural. Roe emphasizes the importance of “implementing before dismissing” and taking a scientific approach to things. You have to believe in the process if you want it to work for you.
Within this context, the course also sets out the “B.R.A.VE” principles which will help you battle many roadblocks. One interesting piece of advice found within this module deals with detrimental mental programs, how they’re holding us back and, more importantly, why.
The final video in this deals with the mindset monologue, or simply put the way we talk to ourselves when we are alone, whether internally or externally. Roe emphasizes how we are often too harsh on ourselves with this internal monologue – much harsher than we would be on a friend who made a mistake at the tables. Doing so does nothing beneficial for our mindset – there is no reason to put ourselves down unnecessarily.
Week 2 – Laying A-Game Foundations
After identifying these factors that are likely holding us back, the Week 2 module focuses on setting up foundations for success by rewriting these detrimental mental programs with new “code.” To do this, Roe brings seven core principles that should be implemented into our mind operating systems to achieve long-term success.
Elliot starts by explaining the importance of what you can and can't control, and it is way more than just the variance.
Understanding these principles let you make much better decisions, and this is how you will be getting impressive long term results. Each of the topics is touched in-depth, and in the ways, you most likely did not think about it.
As a result, you should discover a well of useful information (I know I certainly did) when covering each point step-by-step. Most importantly, you can easily apply it to your game.
To hit your peak, you need to understand how poker fits into your journey of becoming the best version of yourself. You can come up with an approximation of what this version is. Think of your vision as an ideal state of being you’re constantly working towards. Your vision is your mental module of the best version of yourself, consisting of several smaller components:
Who you are – what motivates you?
Who you associate with – family, close friends, who will your progress impact
What you do and don’t do – what activities are a regular part of your life
Week 3 – Becoming an A-Game Poker Player
To become an A-Game player it is not enought to know poker rules or basic strategy, you need to be someone who optimizes their approach to poker in line with their life’s vision. You should take advantage of every edge possible and available to you to become the best version of yourself. This is what makes true A-Game players stand out from the rest, and that’s why there aren’t many players at that level.
There is a difference between mission and vision. Your mission is to take action on your vision. Traditional goals don’t work for poker. The game can be highly motivational at first, but you can easily become demotivated if you’re trying to set traditional goals.
All we can control in poker is our input, i.e., what we do every time we sit down to play. So, we want to create systems to constantly give the best input. Therefore, Elliot Roe suggests focusing on the process, only using results as data points to create better systems. Even outside poker, goals are rarely achieved without a good system in place, save for odd lucky occurrences.
It may seem counterintuitive to have a schedule in place and stick to it for someone who plays poker primarily for freedom that comes with it. However, having this schedule is a key component to achieving the freedom we strive for. You’re still free to plan your time because you are the one in control of your schedule.
Lack of energy is one of the main roadblocks for many poker players. If you don’t have enough energy, not much else matters. Your strategic knowledge may not be a big factor if you don’t have enough energy when playing – this simply leads to poor decision making.
In this part, Elliot Roe talks about four main ways to give yourself enough energy so that you could have a serious edge over your competition.
Obviously, sleep is the most important one. Not many people can function on a high level with little rest, so if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re probably underperforming. The main takeaway here is that most poker players would be better off creating their playing schedule around their sleeping schedule, not the other way around.
But that is just the first step, and to get the best possible results you should create your whole environment to help you in every possible way — more about this in the course.
The A-game Skill Stack
You could give yourself a massive edge before you even sit down at the tables. Pure talent for the game isn’t all that matters. It’s more of a combination of skills that makes someone one of the highest-paid individuals in their respective field.
Everyone knows how important is bankroll management and game selection, but there are many more crucial areas that are not as commonly discussed.
In poker, players with most technical knowledge aren’t necessarily the highest earners. These players have a different set of skills that gets them in the best games where they can make a lot of money, even if their technical skills, albeit good, aren’t at the highest level.
A-Game Skill Stack covers topics that most players do not even consider important or don't know it at all, so if used corectly this information alone can quickly pay for the course.
Rapidly Leveling Up Your Game
Of course, the technical side of things still matters a lot. To be successful, you need to improve faster than the competition, and Elliot Roe addresses a number of thoughts and ideas on how to do just that. He explores three main stages of studying:
These three segments work together. Acquiring new skills is important, but you need to do it in a way to actually improve your game, not hinder it. Thus, it is better to acquire fewer concepts and take time to practice them properly than to try and acquire as many new ideas as possible in a passive way, where you don’t really get to practice them.
Reviewing concepts you already know in light of newly discovered facts and information is very important.
A good way to go about this is by creating a blueprint for the particular game you’re playing. What do you need to win in your select game type? Elliot Roe explains how to use this blueprint to compile resources and set yourself for success.
Week 4 & 5 – Perform Like a Champion
Week 4 and 5 modules deal with performance. Elliot begins by explaining what high performance really means and then presents two main factors for achieving higher performance in your everyday play.
Having the information is essential, but it isn’t enough on its own. You need to use the information to make the best decisions possible and remove unnecessary motions from the picture.
The Focus Formula from A-Game Poker Master Class
Both of these aspects revolve around the focus. Everyone wants to be more focused, but it is easier said than done. Many players will start their session feeling great and fully focused but will then fade away. For some, it happens sooner, for some later, but it is quite common for the focus to start drifting away at some point during the session.
For an A-Game poker player, the ability to control their focus is one of the key skills. There are so many distractions out there, whether you play live or online. We’re bombarded with stuff fighting to grab a share of our focus.
Thanks to the focus formula laid out in this module, we’re given a step by step tutorial to combat these distractions. You will learn how to take full control over our focus and play “In The Zone” more often, which naturally leads to better results.
Every poker session is a high-performance event, so to perform at your peak, some preparation is required. Preparation is perfectly normal in many other activities, especially with athletes, so A-Game poker master class suggest that poker players need to adopt the same approach.
Usually, 20 to 30 minutes is enough to get you prepared for the session. Using this time correctly can create a massive change in your results, so do not view it as a waste of time. Quite contrary, it could be the best time investment you can make, and Elliot Roe shows exactly how to do that!
Decision Making & Controlling Your Emotions
The Week 5 module focuses on decision making and emotions. Roe defines decision making as the ability to compare options and choose the best one. For poker players, this means choosing the one with the highest expected value. It can be quite hard as poker players have to make many tough decisions during every session.
Several things are likely to influence our decision-making process:
Energy is one of the critical factors, which is why it is being mentioned over and over again. To be on your A-game, drugs and alcohol are probably a bad idea.
While they may help players relax and reduce inhibitions, they also impact the decision-making process. The willpower and ability to control emotions are influenced as well. The cost of using these at the tables is just too big to justify any positives.
Poker also puts us in many high-stress situations, and it isn’t uncommon for a player to make a decision just to get it over with, often leading to less than favorable results. Stress induces the fight or flight response, where your physical reactions are quicker, but your mental capacity is hindered as we’re supposed to rely on reactions in these situations.
This often happens in situations we’re uncomfortable with, i.e., playing high stakes, going deep in a big MTT – a lot is on the line for you or you’re feeling intimidated. One of the best ways to deal with these situations is by accumulating experience. This is why professional players do so much better deep in MTTs as they’re used to these situations and can make rational decisions as opposed to amateurs who’ll often find themselves not knowing what to do.
Emotions – Tilt Control
Emotions are a natural occurrence – trying to suppress them in doesn’t fall in line with the A-Game Poker plan. Even if you could somehow become emotionless, this would hardly go in line with your broader life’s vision that includes things beyond poker. Suppressing emotions isn’t possible in the long run, and this behavior often leads to major blowups at one point or another.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is giving in to emotions, namely tilt. Poker players often joke about tilt, but it is no laughing matter. People have smashed their computers and done many more extreme things due to tilt. This is unacceptable behavior in almost all walks of life, and it’s not how you want to behave.
Tilting is deviating from your best strategic decision based on emotion, good or bad. Whatever the emotion, if it causes us to deviate from A-Game, it’s tilt – which is why Elliot Roe prefers to use the phrase “emotional decision making.” Being mad and frustrated can be just as damaging to your game as being overconfident.
For long-term success in poker, it is vital to learn to manage tilt and handle emotions. You have to understand that it is impossible to remove all the triggers, but Roe suggests a strategy called “Notice & Name” to deal with all of this in a positive way.
Also, I really loved the example about seeing things as it is. Think of yourself as a casino – you’re making money all the time, but there are also gamblers hitting their lucky numbers on roulette tables. It is a long term game, just like poker. An occasional streak of good luck for the gamblers won’t destroy your business – and it won’t end your poker career, either.
Elliot emphasizes it is important to stay in full control every time we play by making sure we’re playing our best game at all times. For this purpose, he built an A-Game Audit, a 30-second checklist to inspect the quality of our play. Using it several time during the session, you can recognize if your game has deteriorated and if you should continue with a session or call it a day.
While it doesn’t provide definitive answers about when to quit, it does offer some pretty good guidelines, like checking if you’re playing on autopilot, what’s your energy level like, what’s the situation with other players at the table, etc.
Week 6 – Finalizing A-Game Poker Master Class
The final part of the A-Game Poker Master Class addresses one of the biggest things in poker – the one of longevity. The poker world has seen many one-hit wonders, but only select few have actually managed to stay at the top for a long time and continue to grow and develop as players.
One of the biggest parts of making in the long-run is the ability to recover after the session and go back to your normal daily routine without obsessing over things that happened at the tables. Many players don’t have the skills to properly transition from playing a session to the rest of their day, often jumping straight into it without giving themselves enough time to recover.
Having a proper post-session routine is very important. Our minds tend to remember unfinished tasks, and with poker being the game of incomplete information, we’re often left with many unanswered questions after a session. This creates a loop that can be difficult to close. A good post-session routine helps you close this loop or postpone it for some point in the future, giving you the ability to continue with your day.
During this period, Elliot Roe suggests you should also focus on the positives instead of negatives. Were you able to meet those session goals you set before starting to play? What kind of roadblocks did you encounter during the sessions, and how did you handle those?
Recovery is a process of recouping your resources so you can play at a high level again. Without sufficient recovery, it is virtually impossible to reach the highest levels in poker. It is important to have a good life balance to protect yourself from burning out and feeling sick of the game. Elliot Roe suggests several tactics we can use for quality recovery systems.
Master Your Motivation
Almost everybody struggles with motivation in poker. Yet, poker is unique in a sense that if you’re a good player and lose your motivation to play, other players are probably happy about it. Many players will fall in love with poker initially, but when they start seeing what it takes to succeed, many will give up.
Those who decide to hang around must embrace the grind and everything that comes with. By approaching the game in this way, you’ll be able to get through all the difficulties and go a full circle, once again reaching the point of original enthusiasm and infatuation with the game.
This is, once again, where vision becomes very important. Players who have a clear vision won’t struggle with motivation because playing the game and excelling at it is a part of that vision. Motivation isn’t about pushing yourself to do something you don’t want to do – with this approach, you’re destined to fail. Rather, you want to set up yourself in position willpower doesn’t matter that often – you have the vision and you don’t have to force anything – it’s the part of who you are.
Bonus Video by Elliot Roe: Dealing with Downswings
The final video in the A-Game Poker Master Class addresses the matter of downswings. Although everything within the course is structured, in part, to help players understand and deal with downswings, Elliot addresses this as a separate topic since it is an issue that many players have to deal with.
He tries to bring the point across that there is no such thing as being in a downswing – it is just a pattern of results that are worse than expected. Past events aren’t indicators of future events. Each poker hand is independent of the next one. There is no real connection unless you allow the past to influence your future decisions.
If you believe you’re in a downswing, it is almost impossible for this belief not to influence your game. Maybe you bluff less, raise less, or give opponents more credit than they deserve and make big folds you shouldn’t.
Don’t randomly change your strategy. While it is a good idea to check your game when you find yourself on the bad side of variance, don’t make any major changes without a good reason for it. Instead, change your outlook and look outside the window of the losing streak.
Short time results only have meaning if we give them meaning!
Conclusion: Is A-Game Poker Master Class Worth It?
The price tag of $999 may force you to think twice whether this is an investment that’s worth the money, and that is a fair question.
The truth is, A-Game Poker Master Class isn’t something you can watch in one sitting or go over it quickly and expect magic results.
This course is geared to teach you how to change your entire approach to the game of poker, and even your life goals. It involves plenty of exercises along the way, which you will need to do if you want the course to work, and that takes time.
However, I am more than impressed. I have done a fair share of reviews over the years, and A-Game Poker Master Class stands out from the crowd by giving exact step-by-step explanations not only WHAT you need to do, but most importantly – HOW to do it.
If you are determined to succeed, are willing to put some work, and make the required adjustments along the way, then A-Game Poker Master Classcourseeasily worth the money.