Hey everyone, dp179/AngryPitbull here; I hope everyone’s doing well and had a fruitful IOPC NPS and FTS (results-wise or learning-wise or both :P). Been a while!
So I’ve been reading this book called ‘The Mental Game of Poker‘ by Jared Tendler, and one of the first things he tells you to do is to be aware of your emotions and reactions during a session – while involved in big crucial pots, or after a bad beat, after sucking out or taking down a big tournament – you gotta reflect on how you felt in these moments so you can then work on the undesirable reactions/emotions like tilt/frustration/entitlement, etc.
This is one of the things I’m trying to imbibe in my game. Today’s blog will be about what went on in my mind during a relatively big Friday session – with NPS SHR and other high-value tourneys being on the schedule besides the regular ones.
I did a small warm-up for the session (also something I am trying to adopt, started very recently), wrote down some thoughts and goals for the session, took a few deep breaths, put on some music, and jumped into my first few tables. Within the first 30 mins, I was on 2nd/3rd bullet in a bunch of these tournaments and was down to half SS (starting stack) in the SHR after losing a few 75-25 situations in very big pots. 3-6 months back, this would’ve been enough to tilt me/emotionally charge me enough to ruin my whole session effectively. I would probably play my B/C game and expect to keep losing high equity pots, flips, and whatnot, and I would unconsciously already write this session off as a bad one.
However, this time I didn’t let it affect me for more than 5 mins. I took the 9:25 PM break to regroup, refocus and completely reset.
“Half SS in the SHR was still 40-50bb, and that’s more than enough to work with. It is early days in the session, and it’s far from over. Having a negative reaction to losing high equity pots is normal as a human, but it’s your job to control how long that reaction lasts,” these are some of the things I told myself.
I was operating at my personal peak levels the next few hours, with almost 0 tilt, a 100% focus, and fully zoned in, in the ‘flow state.’ And personally, results good or bad; this is where I love being at. I spun stacks everywhere and took a moment to tell myself I did an excellent job by controlling my emotions and getting back in the game.
Then I busted the SHR 43rd, w 36 paid. I took a spot against a reg, and it didn’t work out. But since taking that spot is profitable, the bust out didn’t bother me much.
However, soon after this, I was involved in a massive 200bb pot (when avg stack <40bb), 10-12 away from the money, in a tournament I was chip-lead all throughout. It was a tough spot. I had an overpair in an already huge 3b pot versus a good reg and was facing a jam on the river. I knew it was very difficult to have bluffs in that spot, and the villain would have it 9/10 times. But I also felt this particular villain was capable of finding creative bluffs. My gut was screaming fold, but I leveled myself into a call and couldn’t escape the overpair. Needless to say, he had it. THIS tilted me. I don’t tilt over bad beats nearly as much as when I make big mistakes that cost a lot of EV. And this was one of them. How was I going to get to world-class levels without being able to make these big folds, especially when I know I’m almost always beat?
Being deep in a few other places, I tried my best to come out of it and focus on it later and managed to make the FT of another big tournament. On this FT with 5 left, I made what was probably the biggest blunder I have made playing MTT poker professionally. And what’s worse, I was so confident my action was right that I didn’t take more than 10 seconds before going through with it. It wasn’t right. It was so wrong that I’m tilting writing this a day later. And that was the final straw, thankfully, it was also my last table, so no games suffered because of my reactions, but I was really pissed w myself for doing this.
Felt like a massive punt. I couldn’t sleep till like 9 AM. Funny how a profitable session can be one of your most painful ones, more than when you lose heaps, lol.
And funny how the significant chunk of this session I played well and felt good; I felt proud for getting back in it after a rough start. But by the end of the session, I was feeling horrible about myself.
That’s sometimes the roller coaster of emotions this beautiful game can take you on.
Anyhow, after sleeping it off and having some time to think, I decided writing about it would help, and so here we are, and it did! What’s done is done. What’s important is to learn and move on and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again.
That’s it for this one. Good luck on the tables 🙂