Mindset and Reflection

I’m always reluctant to post small updates every day or two as I feel the most constructive posts I have are when I really feel like posting and making an active effort to talk about a lot of things on my mind. However, this might not be optimal. I feel my mindset for many years has been to let things drift by and to not be proactive about much until it’s too late. Well you could argue it’s too late currently which is why I find myself in this predicament again.

So yes, you guessed it, this post will talk about my current mindset towards life and poker and what I feel I need to change.

I feel one of the most important things that I need in my life right now is regular self-assessment. To me at least it feels way too easy to just let things fly by even if you’re not fully content at where you’re at in life. This has definitely caused me to not fulfill my potential in multiple aspects of my life.

However I’m not writing this to dwell on the past and talk about my regrets. You can’t change the past, you can only learn from it. A reasonable example of a poker related incident is let’s say running 200BI below EV in a year. It sucks and it’s easy to whine and want sympathy, however, there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s no good imaging where you’d be if you ran like most people etc etc.

One thing I’ve realised over time is that humans are great at being irrational and not getting over things. In a lot of cases if we spent even a small fraction of that “irrational time” into proactive thinking about what we can learn from the experience then we would all be much better people.

I feel it’s time to stop generalising and instead talk about my own battles with mindset and draw some conclusions. I’ve been playing spins for a while and let’s just say I haven’t had the start I was hoping for. I feel I’ve improved a bit but I still have some limitations in regards to applying strategy, as well as some mental game and focusing issue’s.

When I delve in a bit deeper I feel that there is definitely some entitlement issue’s. I get tilted pretty easily losing vs fish and often find myself berating other people when they play badly which is pretty laughable considering my own game isn’t exactly water tight.

I find it hard to know what approach to take when battling both positive and negative variance. Let me explain, of course there’s a lot of variance and it’s easy to argue that you have little control over the results over around 1000 spins. It’s also very easy to put it all down to variance and take the blame away from yourself when running bad. This, whilst it makes one feel comfortable, is also a detriment to one’s self improvement.

If we flip the tables and jump into a scenario in which we are running good it’s extremely easy to be in the limelight. Everyone’s congratulating you, you’re happy because you haven’t had a losing session and your CeV is great etc. I mean you’ve put in the work right? Why wouldn’t you deserve this. However this can also lead to overconfidence which is why self assessment and especially perspective is so so important.

All in all I think there is a line which can be drawn between variance and input. Whilst it’s different for everyone I feel very no player has this completely nailed down. And it makes perfect sense why no-one has, it’s because we’re human beings, not robots. We don’t fully understand variance, and it’s unlikely we ever will.

I’m in a current spot where I know I have to improve but I also feel slightly unfortunate in regards to negative variance. My CeV is pretty bad for 7s and whilst I have a million things I can improve on it’s also hard to deal with the fact that after a lot of reviews of hands in my DB there often isn’t much to be said apart from “that’s unlucky”, “that’s a cooler” etc.

And I again I could go on about how bad I’ve ran but I can’t change that. I could also use the same quotes to make myself feel better and prop myself up and weight my current results more on variance.

All I need to care about is how I’m playing and not the short term results but it’s far easier said than done. It’s hard to disconnect after the session, it’s natural for everyone to have a change in emotion based on how the session has gone.

So let’s draw light on some positives before concluding about what I plan to change.

For one my parents are extrememly supportive of me playing, I guess being in a stable is effectively a receipt and they know I’m somewhat smart and it suits the kind of things I’m good at.

Actually **** it I want to draw on something I’ve thought about for a while, and that’s self assessment vs external assessment and what to take from both as well as reacting on improvement and advice.

I wrote about how self assessment is extremely important earlier on in this post. Assessment from others is also very important as it’s very easy to lie to yourself about the reality of the situation you’re in.

Again we can draw a line where the net advice would be optimal but again that’s hard to find and also dependent on other factors like your own current mindset and who’s giving you the external advice. I feel too much of either one is pretty terrible and I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

I find reacting on improvement and advice is incredibly important and something I’m pretty bad at. Over the past couple of days I’ve realised a pretty big flaw in my thought process. I’ll give you an example.

So from the age of about 14 to 18 I was a very cynical person. Everyone was an idiot, that advert on tv was stupid, that guy is a mug, these people don’t get it. This just made me an ******* and generally unpleasent to be around, as a result I was a pretty big introvert and was depressed at times.

Now I’m happy to say I’ve moved on-

There it is, “moved on” is what I wanted to type at that point in time. Just because I’m not the exact same way I was a couple of years ago doesn’t mean I’m completely cured of being a cynical *******.

It’s very easy to improve yourself as a person and completely detach yourself from what you used to be and strike it off as it no longer being an issue. However, actually moving on from anything is in my opinion extremely difficult to do and maintain in the long run.

The issue with that mindset is you feel that aspect of your life is no longer an issue and you don’t need to work on it. I used to get tilted to absolute **** playing online chess when I’d make a mouseslip at 14 years of age after playing for 40 minutes. Has my mentality whilst thinking changed for the better since then? No ****. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get annoyed when playing poker now. However, I found myself time and time again telling myself I had a good mental game instead of thinking about how I should improve it (this ties in with the irrational thinking point).

So what can I do to move forward in a positive way from this point.

For a start hold myself accountable for most things. Whilst it’s true none of us have as much control over things as we think we do, I feel it’s still more plus ev to maintain a high concenctration of accountability instead of the polar opposite approach. That means posting here more often and admiting and noticing my own faults more often by spending a lot more time having constructive independent thinking.

I can also set myself a better routine by eating and sleeping better as well as timetabling my work and university. Having a routine is the foundation needed to succeed at anything in the long run. I’ve been slacking at this and hope to improve.

The potential drawback I see through this is generally being a lot more emotionally volatile as a result of constant self assessment. A big reason as to why I feel I’ve been passive and not proactive in the past is due to the fear of being upset or anxious. I still feel it’s worth a shot.

Whatever happens in the future I can happily say I’ll always be grateful for poker. Never have I encountered a game in which you can learn so much about yourself and pick up so many valuable skills. People often say once poker players retire they have nothing, I’d argue they have more than most people. I hope to keep playing and improving and make 2017 the best year for me both on and off the felt.