How to Improve Your Poker Mindset – Expert Tips by Fedor Holz
Last Updated: November 5, 2023
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In this article, I want to focus on the importance of constantly working on your mindset and reflecting on the emotions you face as you play poker.
Many decisions we make at the tables are driven by our emotions. If you’ve played for a while, you’ve probably experienced a situation where you questioned your decision after the fact, only to realize it was driven by anger, frustration, or another negative emotion.
Like everyone else, I experience a whole range of emotions of different intensities when playing poker.
The way I approach them, though, is by facing them and reflecting on them instead of looking away. In the long run, this allowed me to make better decisions. But how do you get to this point?
Constant Practice Is Key
Dealing with your emotions isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a process that you need to repeat over and over again to achieve success. You need to dive into it and face it without looking away.
For me, working with Elliot Roe, a very experienced and successful mindset coach, has been a tremendous help as well.
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During one period of working with him, we had a very interesting experience. I had many big scores that year, and, on the outside, it looked like things were going great. The truth, though, was that I was losing money on the overall.
This created a divide where I wasn’t sure about what things I could or couldn’t share with the others.
Starting to work with Elliot helped me dive into these emotions and challenge them. He also taught me strategies such as visualizing future situations that could feel uncomfortable. This prepared me for the real thing.
Not long after achieving this more positive mindset, I had a couple of the biggest cashes in my career, and it was a great experience.
Sharing Your Emotions
As I hinted above, I wasn’t always able to share my emotions. I used to feel that I had to appear strong on the outside and never show any weakness.
However, this attitude kept me away from embracing my emotions and growing.
What you need to understand is that poker is a very emotionally draining game at times, and it’s perfectly fine not to feel fine all the time.
It’s important you’re able to talk about things such as downswings and rough patches to the people who are important to you. This will help you keep a positive attitude and have fun at the tables again when you get back to the game.
Disappointments will come in poker, and you need to let them out instead of keeping them inside you. Doing so will prevent you from making good decisions in the future.
Use Correct Logic
One thing that has helped me deal with these situations is logic. If you apply logic to these feelings, they’ll be much easier to deal with.
Poker is the way it is (i.e., not always “fair”), but that’s perfectly fine. Even the best players need to lose sometime.
Without variance in poker, there would be no big money to play for, and good players would have a much harder time making a living out of the game.
To sum it up, it’s totally fine to be weak and vulnerable at times. If you’re trying too hard to project the perfect image, it will stop you from growing further. By reflecting on your feelings and growing emotionally, you’ll become a better poker player pretty much by default!