That is definitely useful stuff, and we'll touch that a bit deeper later on. But let‘s talk a bit more about hypnotherapy itself. I heard you have a very inspiring story of how you started working in this field, can you share it one more time?
Elliot Roe: Yeah, of course. So I'm a hypnotherapist, which is a bit of a strange job, but it is not a career I was expecting to have.
To begin with, I had a fear of flying, so I would be sort of uncomfortable for around a week before I would get on a flight. Even if it was just short-haul, it could ruin my holiday.
When I was on vacation, I'd be spending time worrying about getting on the plane to go home, and I have actually refused a number of regular trips just purely because of the flight fear.
Then someone recommended going to a hypnotherapist for it, and she managed to cure it in an hour, which absolutely blew my mind.
And it was the logic of how it worked, which was the most interesting to me.
When you go into the hypnotherapy session, you get very relaxed. It's nothing like in the shows on stages, you just feel like you're meditating.
Image from Unsplash
When you are in the session, memories start to come up from the past. And I had a memory come up with me being a very young child, being shown a picture of a plane at my grandfather's house and being told that his business partners died on the plane.
It's not shocking that because I've been shown that as a young child, I then believed that planes were very dangerous, and I placed that in my memory.
But the interesting part of it is that it wasn't something I actually remembered. It only came up during the hypnotherapy sessions, and we worked through it.
Then I spoke to my mom, and she confirmed that it was a real thing that did happen, so I was getting this secondary evidence afterward.
So a memory I wasn't aware of came up, we were able to overcome my irrational fear, and I feel completely different about flying. So for me, that was a really huge, huge moment.
I just realized that I want to learn hypnotherapy because of that.
Initially, I wasn't expecting to be a hypnotherapist. I thought I would just learn it so that if friends or family had anxiety or other issues, I could help fix it. So just a fun skill to have.
Later on, I started working with friends and family, and then they began recommending their friends as they got the results. Those people started recommending other people, and this is how it all began.
At some point, it reached the stage where it became more sensible for this to be my career than anything else because I really enjoyed doing the work. So I decided to take the step.
Wow, that really sounds amazing, man. It is even hard to believe that you can fix such an issue in a one-time session.
Elliot Roe: And in all honesty, that's not very common, and it usually takes a few sessions to cover one issue. But it's generally not very many sessions with hypnotherapy, and it all depends on the problem.
The bigger the fear, the easier it is to find out the reason behind it.
So for someone's just slightly uncomfortable with something, it will be harder to find out what is causing the problem than when somebody is terrified. So the more significant the issue is, the bigger the emotional response you will have, and typically, the easier it is to find the resolution. So, I was very scared of flying.
But is it one session, two or three – it doesn't change much if you can fix these things, it's life-changing. However, the first time I heard about hypnotherapy, to be honest, I was quite skeptical because I didn't realize what it was. So maybe you can explain what it actually is and how it works, so people understand what we are talking about.
Elliot Roe: Unfortunately, when people hear hypnosis or hypnotherapy, they usually think about TV shows or the guy on stage. Hypnotherapy is nothing like that.
You know, I can't tell someone to dance, and they start dancing like in on stage shows. The work that I do is much closer to a guided meditation.
If we are talking about traditional meditation, you try to get into a very relaxed state, a very calm state and look to clear your mind as thoughts came up. If thoughts come up, you let it go and clear your mind. If a thought comes up again, you let it go and keep doing that while meditating.
With hypnotherapy, we're using that same very relaxed state to focus intensely on one thing.
So it's actually just extreme focus. And as you extremely concentrate on one particular issue, your subconscious opens up, and you're able to find out the reasons behind that issue in a way you wouldn't be able to understand in the normal conversation.
Just like I was describing in the session that I had, it brought up memories that I wasn't consciously aware of.
That is the amazing part for me because it helps you fix issues that you did not even know you had.
Elliot Roe: Exactly. And this is where it's interesting when compared to other talking therapies because I could have gone to a typical therapist, and it might have taken a very, very long time for that to come up because it wasn't even a conscious memory.
Whereas in hypnotherapy, you are basically asking subconscious where is this coming from? If your subconscious has a big emotional response to something, it knows where it's coming from.
Otherwise, your subconscious wouldn't be responding in that way. It's just following a program inside you.
So hypnotherapy sort of allows you to hack into that program, find out what's going on, fix the core programming code, and then come back into life with a more effective one.
The way I describe it is it's like going into the operating system of the computer. So instead of trying to fix Windows on the Windows page, we're going into the programming code of Windows to fix it. And then coming out and the change has already happened.
It changed the course of my life completely in terms of what I decided to do for my career.
So anxiety issues, fear of failure, fear of success, procrastination issues, ego issues, those sorts of things.
If you are someone who has ego wars with regs, just imagine what it would mean to your bottom line if you resolve the feeling of having the ego wars. Fixing these and other issues can dramatically change your bottom line.
I think to this time and date no one is arguing that it's working. Right? But probably not all players can start with a personal coach. The first time I heard about you was when my friend recommended trying your warm-up mp3, so I went to your site and brought it, which has helped me a lot.
Now, on top of your mp3 recordings, you also offer Primed Mind app, which could be a great help as well. Can you elaborate on what it is and how players can benefit from joining your community?
Elliot Roe: So in Primed Mind, we have around over 200 audios, and it covers all areas of life.
I have transitioned a bit, and now around 30% of my clients are poker players, and the other 70% is athletes, business people, and Wall Street traders. So I‘m creating more content that is not exclusively specific for poker but could be useful for everyone.
I realize that sleep and resting are essential to many people, so we have a big section on that, also on „priming“ yourself for the day. It is like preparing for the beginning of your day to get yourself in the right mindset.
We also cover performance stuff, working out, and other general life improvements since they work in the same way.
With the App, you have access to suggestion hypnotherapy. You get very relaxed, and then you're listening to my voice, and you're creating mental pitches to work through.
So the suggestion hypnotherapy is like a band-aid that helps you through the day.
If you got a bit tournament coming up, you could listen to the recording to boost your focus.
And not just for poker, if you have a big day in your life, if you are taking an exam, have a vital meeting or anything like that, it is essential to get your head in the right place, and the Primed Mind can help you with that. It is a temporary solution that will have a big impact on you.
However, it's important to see the difference between hypnotherapy sessions, which can help work through your memories and suggestion hypnotherapy in the App, which is preparing you to perform better on a specific day to use your full potential.
I have also joined Primed Mind, and particularly liked the part about building better habits and want to talk about that a little bit more. I firmly believe that to have lasting results, we, as humans, need to build proper habits. So I was wondering maybe you can name a few habits or routines that the best players have, or you think are most important for poker players?
Image from Unsplash
Elliot Roe: The best I saw is Fedor even in his early days.
Fedor Holz used to base everything that he was doing around how it would impact his poker.
So when he was looking at sports, he would pick sports that he felt would help his mindset at the table. He was really picky about everything that he purchased from the monitor to the mouse and the chair.
He did anything that would give even a 0,001% improvement over his competition. And as a habit, it provides an extraordinary advantage over everyone else because it compounds over time.
So if you're eating the right food, getting the right amount of sleep, you have all of the setup as perfect as it can possibly be, you are prepping yourself before each, you meditate.
All of these are small advantages that add up to an enormous edge over time, and I would say that that is a huge key to success.
Another thing is the power of a social network.
Not so much a habit, but I would like to frame it as a habit because of its level of importance. Building a social network in poker and then really looking after and maintaining that social network is incredibly important when it comes down to your success in the game.
There are very, very few players I ever come across at the top level who don't have a strong network of other world-class professionals.
There are people who sort of say that poker is an isolated game. If it's an isolated game for you, you can only reach a certain level.
It doesn't have to be meeting people in person, but at least find an online community or very strong place to learn poker, not the trolling stuff so that you can learn together and see yourselves as sort of a team looking to progress.
Can you give any tips on how to effectively build such habits? And most importantly, how to make it last when the initial boost of motivation fades away?
One of the keys to this is setting up your mind to react to failing because, at some stage, everyone does.
So let‘s take an example of a diet.
You've decided that you want to follow a healthy diet, and after three weeks you go to a party where you eat too much food. Most people see it as they have broken the diet and as something that is already over.
The people who are successful around dieting, and this is the same for every single habit. Instead, what they'll do is they'll get to that moment, and then they'll say: „Oh, it lasted three weeks. I did really well, and I'm going to start again tomorrow. I'm looking to beat the three weeks mark and last longer this time.“
They jump back into it, and at some point, it just becomes the food that you eat.
It is the same for poker players, no matter what habit they are trying to build.
I truly believe exercise is very important for poker players and is one of the things that's quite difficult to turn into a habit.
And I'm not talking about super intense exercise, but just a level movement. So it might be going for a 20-minute jog every day or even a fast-paced walk if you're out of shape. But some level of exercise is very important.
Again, treat it the same way I just described the diet. You manage to do it for two weeks. Great. Let's see how long you can last now.
At some point, it becomes routine that they're not even thinking about it. They just go for their exercise because it's the way they live their lives past that point.
You just got to reach the stage where it's your new normal.
And is it possible to build a few new habits at once, or do you think players should stick just with one new routine at a time?
Elliot Roe: A lot of people are successful in adjusting their diet and exercise at the same time because it‘s very related.
What I don't like to see are people who look to do really extreme shifts in their life. It's more about the sustainability of the habit than anything else.
If you look at your calendar and see that it is unsustainable in the long run, you probably should not be making all of these changes at once.
So if you were doing zero studying and you decide to add an hour's study a day, probably you could do that along exercising and following proper nutrition diet.
What I often see with players when it comes to studying or volume issues, is they go to the extreme. If they are playing for three hours, they suddenly decide to play nine hours each day.
Then they have great five days, burn out, and can't play anymore. So small changes are better in the long run simply because it is much more sustainable.
Try to create a calendar or schedule for yourself that if you had to repeat it every week for the year, it would be reasonable to do that.
If you look at your calendar and you think no human can do this long term, it's not even worth starting it like that.
Because all that's going to happen is you're going to last a month or two, and you're going to burn out. Probably have some terrible poker sessions before you realize that you need to stop, so you will lose a lot of money, and then you go on a three-week vacation just to recover.
All of the extra volume that you've put will be wiped out, and I've seen these situations hundreds of times.
That's a great tip, thanks! Since you mentioned learning and playing times, I also want to discuss the procrastination. I know that this is a huge problem for many players, and I am guilty of postponing my work as well.
After talking with you, I know that hypnotherapy can probably help to sort this out, but maybe there is something easier that you can suggest for the players that they can try themself?
Elliot Roe: First off, it's an awareness of what's usually going on.
When I do the sessions on procrastination with clients, it is usually a fear of failure or fear of success.
Usually fear of failure.
Often it comes up a situation where we have to go back to school times.
So I have a player who's procrastinating at the table, and if we look back at their school life or their college life, we see that they were someone who didn't particularly study for exams.
A lot of the time, they were intelligent in school, and they could get away with getting high grades without having to study.
They tell themself: „I am very clever, and I would be getting A‘s if I studied, so if I get B‘s, it is OK because I would easily get A‘s if I studied.“
So basically, by procrastinating, they are directly protecting their ego because their ego is telling them, don't worry, you're smart. It is your choice not to study, and therefore you don't have to fight.
Same way, you're never putting yourself at risk of finding out that you're not as clever as you think you are in poker.
It's exactly the same thing in poker. So a lot of the players are saying, well, if I did the same study as that guy, I'd be the best in the world because I'm naturally talented or whatever else.
But if you don't study, you always have an excuse: „Of course, I'm not going to get the same results as him, but I could get those results if I put in the effort. I'm still really smart.“
And like battling this ego, your subconscious is just trying to keep you where you are because where you are is safe, and it is a subconscious job to keep you alive and comfortable. It's going to work hard to keep you where you're at and not take much risk.
That is not going to change until you understand that it is ok to fail. It‘s actually good to fail because if you fail, then you have something to work on.
So the failure shows you weak points, and working on those weak points then allows the eventual success.
Image from Pixabay
So we can say that it depends on how you look at the failure itself?
Elliot Roe: Exactly. So if the failure becomes feedback and something that provides the information of your weak points and where to work, you're not failing.
You're just on this journey, and you're collecting more information on the way.
The issue is, most people think in much shorter timeframes.
If they take a shot at higher stakes and fail, they do not ask themself what they could learn from that, what they can change, or what they need to improve.
If you say OK that is fine, I need to work on this, and then I will try again, and you do it.
With procrastination issues oftentimes, it's exactly the story that I've described that comes up during the sessions. An awareness of that can help you start to solve it.
Ask yourself, do you really need to be scared of failing? Sometimes just asking yourself that question will be enough to drive you to do your sessions.
But if it's paralyzing you, if it costs you a lot of volume or a lot of study time, that's the sort of thing where I'd say speaking to the specialist on this is probably financially sensible.
Because if you miss playing a couple of sessions per week, the compound of that is enormous. You will slow down your progress, poker bankroll building, and even moving up the stakes, so it costs a lot to be missing your sessions.
So if player identifies that they have such issues and can't solve it themself, they can contact you to sort it out?
Elliot Roe: Yes, I help players with these issues.
However, it only really makes sense to work with me if you're playing nosebleed or very high stakes.
But I do have other hypnotherapists that I've trained specifically around poker, which I could recommend you to. So if anyone wants to reach out, just send me an email on my website.
I believe that removing procrastination can help many players perform better, but that is just one piece of the puzzle, and players have to deal with many issues along the way.
I recently joined your “A-game masterclass” (you can check it here) on Run It Once and was amazed by all of the content.
Before seeing your course, I thought I was taking poker very seriously, but I found so much more room for improvement that I was amazed. One thing that helped me a lot was building a proper sleep routine. Can you talk a bit about that and share a few tips in regards to optimizing energy level and why that is important?
Elliot Roe: I believe that energy is incredibly important with poker, and it is one of the bigger issues for most.
As you say, we have A-game masterclass on RIO, and we have whole sections on really just how to manage your own energy. There's a science to it.
We have videos from doctor Bruce, who is known as the sleep doctor in America, and you get to see a seminar about optimizing sleep, getting used to different time zones, resting efficiently, and things like that.
But really, there are some quick tips that everyone can implement.
For example, the temperature of your room should probably be lower than you expect.
Typically, people sleep best if it's 67 to 69 degrees (19-21 °C) in the room, but most have the temperature of their house higher than that.
And that directly impacts sleep quality.
Also, making sure you don't have the screen time before you go to bed is very important and can have a massive impact on the quality of your sleep.