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Old 01-24-2019, 01:49 AM   #1
bdc
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Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game"

My tilt is zero control whether I will play my "A game" vs. "B game" vs. "C game", even though I make a conscious effort to play only when I feel really good and alert (good sleep, good food, no partying, no drinking, no arguing with gf in the last 24 hours, etc).

But I notice occasionally I make really dumb mistakes when playing (as if I have brain freeze for a micro-second). I instantly recognize these crazy mistakes, but it's usually too late.

It's like I momentarily go on auto-pilot and lose focus; e.g., slow-playing top set on a wet board instead of pricing out draws.

Has anyone else had this problem where they instantly recognize when they've made stupid mistakes, but have later been able to improve their concentration? How did you do it?

I'm assume Tendler's two books discuss how to maintain focus, but I thought it would be more valuable for actual poker players to discuss how they addressed this problem, if any.

Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2019, 02:45 AM   #2
C_Gilliam
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

Sometimes I do that after I've been playing for around 3-4 hours. For me, that's just my mental queue letting me know that I'm no longer 100% interested in playing anymore. At that point, I just find something else to do and come back another day. For me there's no question that I play my A-game when I'm really excited to do so, AND when my life is balanced. Happy wife, happy kids, good day at work, plus a little free time and the itch to play often leads to a very fulfilling session.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:11 AM   #3
Chiggs
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

Two suggestions:

1) Play slower. Make a real conscious effort to play slower and carefully consider every decision.

2) Experiment with single-point focused meditation (e.g. following the breath) and open awareness meditation before you play.
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Old 01-25-2019, 03:42 PM   #4
Darth_Maul
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiggs View Post
Two suggestions:



1) Play slower. Make a real conscious effort to play slower and carefully consider every decision.

Yes. When I started playing live more often I realized I had a problem with playing too quickly and not thinking through decisions properly. I realized it was because I was used to playing online turbos where you only have seconds to act, so my play in general had gone on auto pilot. What I did was I came up with an acronym that I wrote on my hand, something I would see and it would remind me to slow down and think.
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:42 PM   #5
0NoobiePoker0
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

This all comes down to taking a breath and taking your time and not rushing into your decisions. But you have to remind yourself constantly to take that breath, take that time, and not rush. Then over time you just naturally start to stop and think and breathe before every decision. It's great to get that into your game, when you're naturally in the flow of thinking things through and happy with your decision before you actually make it.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:53 AM   #6
tmo1120
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

" Mistakes are going to happen , the bigger mistake is allowing one to turn into more."

I think we all make these types of mistakes from time to time; they are simply unavoidable; however we can work towards limiting the amount of mistakes that we make

I like that people saying play slower; taking that extra couple seconds can be huge

I like to take a 20 min break every 3-4 hrs; being self aware is HUGE; usually when you go blank or do something stupid , the warning signs were there prior, you just didn't notice them

increased recognition is the first step to identifying mental game leaks
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:11 PM   #7
FellaGaga-52
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

Helpful candid discussion about slippage and A-game, B-game, C-game etc. Often there is much denial about it. Naming it to yourself openly while in session helps with corrective action, while married to an image like, "No, I'm a computer always playing great" is BS.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:18 PM   #8
pucmo
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

The C-game happens to me if I have been doing much something else different to the type of mind needed in playing poker, or I need rest to clear my mind, or my energy is just not there.

Usually we play the B-game and it makes no sense to expect more. The A-game is like a talented mind as so, additionally to them having better "people skills" as far as nature goes.

The B-game has no influence in making or not making mistakes, as that is the knowledge and average part. The A-game can often avoid the mistakes but the A-game is a pipedream. One can get more experience and overcome the mistakes by knowledge and repetition.

The C-game is easy to spot with experience and as long as one gets all the information from the memory and observations and processes it correctly, one is not in the C-game. The A-game happens a part of the time and part of the sessions and then it is good to invest time in playing something a bit more challenging.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:49 PM   #9
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

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Originally Posted by tmo1120 View Post
I like to take a 20 min break every 3-4 hrs
You're talking about live poker, right? :O
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:23 PM   #10
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

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You're talking about live poker, right? :O
yes lol why?
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:10 AM   #11
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdc View Post
My tilt is zero control whether I will play my "A game" vs. "B game" vs. "C game", even though I make a conscious effort to play only when I feel really good and alert (good sleep, good food, no partying, no drinking, no arguing with gf in the last 24 hours, etc).

But I notice occasionally I make really dumb mistakes when playing (as if I have brain freeze for a micro-second). I instantly recognize these crazy mistakes, but it's usually too late.

It's like I momentarily go on auto-pilot and lose focus; e.g., slow-playing top set on a wet board instead of pricing out draws.

Has anyone else had this problem where they instantly recognize when they've made stupid mistakes, but have later been able to improve their concentration? How did you do it?

I'm assume Tendler's two books discuss how to maintain focus, but I thought it would be more valuable for actual poker players to discuss how they addressed this problem, if any.

Thanks.
Hi bdc:

Poker is mainly a game of knowledge where you need to know and understand a finite and manageable number of concepts that will govern how you should play a hand. However, just knowing the concepts is not good enough since some of the concepts that can come into play on a particular hand can seem to contradict each other.

So, to handle these situations well there are two things that need to happen. One, you get experience playing. And two, when situations occur where the contradicting concepts give you trouble and perhaps lead to an incorrect play, you spend time away from the table thinking things over and reviewing various ways to play the hand.

I doubt very much that shortly after the hand was played you can quickly come to an accurate conclusion that you made a mistake. If that was the case, it's highly doubtful that you would have made the mistake in the first place and may be influenced by a negative result such as getting a set beaten.

See my book Real Poker Psychology for more discussion.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:15 AM   #12
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

Quote:
Originally Posted by pucmo View Post
The C-game happens to me if I have been doing much something else different to the type of mind needed in playing poker, or I need rest to clear my mind, or my energy is just not there.

Usually we play the B-game and it makes no sense to expect more. The A-game is like a talented mind as so, additionally to them having better "people skills" as far as nature goes.

The B-game has no influence in making or not making mistakes, as that is the knowledge and average part. The A-game can often avoid the mistakes but the A-game is a pipedream. One can get more experience and overcome the mistakes by knowledge and repetition.

The C-game is easy to spot with experience and as long as one gets all the information from the memory and observations and processes it correctly, one is not in the C-game. The A-game happens a part of the time and part of the sessions and then it is good to invest time in playing something a bit more challenging.
Hi pucmo:

I highly doubt that you go to the poker room, sit down in a game, and immediately start making plays that you know are wrong. But if you're playing your C-Game, that's exactly what you would be doing.

There are, however, psychological states that players can enter, and tilt would be one of these, where your game deteriorates. The others I call pseudo tilt, searching, and apathy. See my book Real Poker Psychology as well as my psychology section in our book Poker and More for more discussion
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:08 AM   #13
Yoshi63
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

There's a lot of results orientation that goes into assessing your level of play as well. Days that seem to be your A-game might appear that way because you ran hot in the more abstract areas like running into the bottom of other players' ranges.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:41 AM   #14
FellaGaga-52
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

Tilt involves abandoning one's knowledge, even if subconsciously, much more than processing problems per se. "I abandon my discipline, judgment, standards and sound strategy ... trying blindly to win RIGHT NOW." That's pretty much the essence of tilt, imo.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:43 PM   #15
pucmo
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Re: Despite preparation, no warning whether I will be playing my "A game", "B game", or "C game

A blunder is a decision that is based on missing something that is very readily available. One is at the bottom of the C-game at that moment; blind. One sees it as a blunder instantly after one sees it.

A mistake is a decision that one made during one's B-game (the usual online level for a winning player also) and in cases, it is possible to instantly see it also if it comes as a part of learning. It wasn't a blunder nor a mistake according to one's knowledge component at that time.

At A-game level, one might build up a better/stronger component during the thinking process already. In both cases, it is a learning process, like it is when one thinks about hand histories.

Emotions can lead one to make C-game decisions and it is similarly a learning process. If one had known better, one would have played better.

In a way, it is all about knowledge. But the game of poker is complex enough for the current knowledge component not covering it all. It is also complex enough to make A, B and C possible.
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