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The more I play poker the more I realize that the mind has a lot to do with results. I don't mean knowing the strategy and the moves in the game--that is certainly important. I mean what is going on in your mind as to your expectations of what will happen both before and during the game.
How often have you heard a poker player call out the river card that will make him lose the hand?
How often have you witnessed a poker player take a bad loss on one hand, and get knocked out a few hands later?
How often have you heard a poker player talk about a bad beat?
Positive Thoughts Attract Positive Results. Negative Thoughts Attract Negative Results.
Let me give you some personal experiences and see if these are similar to your own.
I always try to enter a tournament expecting to win. But if I'm feeling tired or distracted or impatient, I have second thoughts about going since I believe I won't be at my best. Sure enough, I go to the game and my results are lousy.
Yet, there are other times when I feel ready and I just know that things will go my way. I will end up being that player who gives other players bad beats. My opponents may even call me "Mr. Lucky" or "a donkey." It's not lucky. It's just that I know I'm suppose to win.
In the late stages of a tournament, my positive feelings sometimes start to falter. I don't know why it happens. It won't be because of a bad beat or a lost pot. It is just my attitude about the game changes. Sure enough, I will end up one or a few places out of the money. I tell myself to be positive, but it just doesn't work.
If I don't go negative late in a tourney, it's because I know I can't be beat. In fact, if I don't win, I am shocked. I can be all-in against pocket Aces, and I know things will go my way.
I experience bad beats like everyone else. While I don't go on tilt usually, it does effect me mentally. And my negative feelings and thoughts attracts bad results.
In a specific hand, I can be in the lead on the flop and the turn, but I will think of the one card my opponent needs to beat me on the river. Sure enough, more times than I care to recall, that one lousy card appears.
Yet, with positive thinking, I may move all-in with a hand like A-9 suited of hearts and the chip leader will call me with A-K. I don't why but I know I am going to win. It is an attitude or a feeling I get.
Do any of my experiences ring true to what happens to you?
Mike Matusow and Being Positive
I watched Mike talk briefly about being positive during a recent WSOP main event ESPN telecast. He said that the change in his attitude from being a negative person to thinking positive improved his poker results.
I believe him! I don't think it is a coincidence. I believe that having a positive mental attitude will improve your results.
Maybe that is why "rushes" happen in poker despite the "math" guys telling us that they don't. \
An interesting story from two weeks ago. I was playing in a $6-$12 ring game at the Oaks. The game is going along like any other limit cash game.
After a player won a big pot, the woman to my right whispered to me that she would have won the last hand if she stayed in. But her cards were like 8-2, so she folded. After the next hand she told me she would have won again. Sure enough, after the third hand, she folded her rag hand which would have won!
I told her to play the next hand no matter what. She did. She played J-4 offsuit, and hit two pair on the flop to win a nice pot. She won the next pot as well.
When she folded the next hand, I asked her why? She said it was the worst hand in poker 7-2. I told her, it didn't matter. Play the next hand, no matter what.
On the next deal she looks at her cards, looks at me, shakes her head no, and reluctantly limps into the pot. I find pocket Aces and raise. She calls. The flop is 2-2-8. She bets. I raise. And she re-raises. I cap it. The turn is a 9. She check-raises me! I can't believe it (or can I?) She tells me to fold. I call. The river misses me. She bets. Again, she tells me to fold. I muck and she reveals 3-2 offsuit.
She goes on to win 12 out of 15 hands! I call that a rush.
Maybe a rush is the product of the expectation (positive thinking) that you are going to win, and the expectation (negative thinking) of your opponents that they are going to lose?
The key for me, and perhaps you, is how to maintain positive through the 6+ hours of a poker tournament, or during the ups and owns of any poker session? Any ideas?