The biggest problem with most poker players is they don’t actually want to win.
They think they want to win, but what they truly want is to play perfectly. They never want to fold and be shown a bluff. They never want to bluff and be caught. They want to feel good about themselves, and they’d feel terrible if any of those things ever happened. They want to sit there, see flops for cheap, and hopefully hit some of them. And they never want to be criticized. They don’t want to be given the side eye if they do something out of line. They want to fit in. They want to feel like a cardplayer.
This is horseshit!
Some of you have to remember this is No Limit Hold’em. There is a reason why many pros refuse to play this game. There is a reason why so many guys have lost their mind playing this game.No Limit Hold’em is the fist fighting of poker. If you walk into a fist fight, you can expect to get hit in the face. That is exactly what happens every time you play No Limit Hold’em. You need to learn how to love living in the abyss.
Most guys are just trying to play perfectly all the time. They’re not focusing on how to make money. They’re focusing on how to not look stupid. There’s an adage in racing. Where your eyes go, that’s where your car will go. If you think about all the mistakes you could make, you will make a mistake.
Did you ever read the book Think And Grow Rich? I honestly think the reason that book is so famous is because it engages your subconscious. Most of us are constantly thinking about how to pay our next round of bills. So, that’s all our mind focuses on. Think And Grow Rich has likely been a best seller among the business elite for close to a century because it tells you what to focus on: Providing a service or product others don’t have. Your subconscious is a real thing that is always working. They can track your subconscious working in brain wave technology.
The best example I’ve ever heard of how the subconscious works is this: Have you ever heard a tune that reminds you of a song you heard years ago? You can’t quite place what song it is, but you know you heard it? Then, you will be doing the dishes six hours later, not thinking of anything, and you’ll exclaim, “oh yeah, it was that song!” How did your mind find the name of that song? You weren’t thinking about it at that moment. It was because your subconscious was working on the problem for those six hours.
So, when you play poker, you need to think about how you’re going to take all of your opponent’s chips.
If you look at a big stack at your table and go, “oh God, I hope he doesn’t take advantage of me” that is exactly what is going to happen! Your subconscious will start working on a way that exact event could take place. If you look at the big stack and think, “how am I going to take all of this guy’s chips?” guess what your mind is going to start working on? You have to remember this is a damn game. Nothing bad is going to happen if you lose, but wow is it fun taking someone’s chips.
You have to love the fight. No Limit Hold’em always makes me think of wrestling in middle school. In gym class one day, a wrestling coach recruited me for the school team. I had no idea what I was doing, and I wasn’t very good at the sport, but I had a blast. I couldn’t believe this was a school-sanctioned sport. They were literally letting me pick guys up and slam their heads on the mat and then belly flop on them. When I’d go for a head and arm takedown I’d always “accidentally” bash the guy’s head with my forearm. I didn’t think anything of it, because that was how my friends in football and I always goofed around. Then, one day, the wrestling coach justifiably told me to tone it down. He paused for a couple seconds, then turned to the rest of the class. “Why is Alex the only one I have to tell to tone it down out there? You guys do realize this is a fight, right?”
No Limit Hold’em is another form of fight. You’re trying to take every chip off of another person using cunning. Have fun with this! It’s a civilized game. There are tournament directors and dealers there to protect you. The stakes are defined from the outset. There are rules designed to make the game fair for others. Hell, they won’t even let me talk to you deep in a pot anymore.
Have fun with this. Start daydreaming about ways to bluff people off their chips. Start coming up with ways to trap people in big pots. Don’t worry about making a mistake! We all make them.