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Old 06-27-2020, 09:44 AM   #1
JulianPoker
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How do you manage tilt?

I'm looking at poker as a game of negotiation under incomplete information.
As I see it, the success comes from 3 main sources:
1. Luck
2. Skill (applying GTO decisions)
3. Emotional resilience - deviate from GTO as a result of "unfair" outcomes happening at the poker table - dynamic inconsistency of GTO decisions. This generally takes the form of ultra aggressive risk taking decisions which usually result in more losses.

I play for some time and I came to the conclusion that the behavioral factors are actually more important than skill (luck cancels out in large numbers).

I see myself having a winning streak of 2-3 weeks but losing all the accumulated profit in a single session because of having a tilt episode. For me, these episodes mainly materialize as:
- I engage in more risky bets/bluffs;
- I don't follow the bankroll rules previously set.

The problem with tilt is that it is easy to talk about it when you are not experiencing such episode.

In my opinion if you find a way to measure tilt you can find a way to manage it. I need to manage it effectively, as it is already causing important financial damage.

Do you guys usually try to manage tilt when playing poker? What are you doing?

I'm looking for some practical advice.
Thank you!!!
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Old 06-27-2020, 07:49 PM   #2
Theagent77
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

I usually play 10 MTTs per session and never rebuy/re-entry. This prevents me from playing in a bad mood. Also, I use a very conservative bankroll management strategy (>300 buy-ins)
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Old 06-27-2020, 09:33 PM   #3
Mason Malmuth
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theagent77 View Post
I usually play 10 MTTs per session and never rebuy/re-entry. This prevents me from playing in a bad mood. Also, I use a very conservative bankroll management strategy (>300 buy-ins)
Hi Theagent77:

Did it ever occur to you that you may be playing at a disadvantage to those players who do rebuy correctly?

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:10 AM   #4
Mr.Jones
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Theagent77:

Did it ever occur to you that you may be playing at a disadvantage to those players who do rebuy correctly?

Best wishes,
Mason
It's possible that he might be giving up some EV by not re-buying correctly, however he could be giving up even more EV if busting puts him in a "bad mood" and in turn he plays bad.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:25 AM   #5
Theagent77
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Theagent77:



Did it ever occur to you that you may be playing at a disadvantage to those players who do rebuy correctly?



Best wishes,

Mason
Hello Mr Malmuth,

Yes I am aware of that. I know I'm giving up on some money every time I do not rebuy, but I am also aware of what population does in rebuy tournaments, and I try to exploit their spewy behaviour. In this way I try to gain this EV back without risking a second tilt-driven elimination.

However, as my bankroll grows, I will eventually re-enter every tournament I am eliminated from. It is probably the right thing to do if you have a rock-solid mindset
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:52 AM   #6
JulianPoker
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

If you put hard limits on the re-buys is helpful but difficult to actually put in practice if you are already on tilt.

I play mostly cash/zoom.
Lately, I've been trying to count how many bad beats occur in a session and put a hard stop when reaching 3 bad beats.
But again, this is not very precise.

I want to have some sort of RED/AMBER/GREEN meter for my tilt:
- green is fine;
- amber need to pay attention to not play out of position or bluff "weaker" players;
- red is shut down.

This will also prevent leaving +EV on the table. What do you think about such approach?
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:01 PM   #7
Mason Malmuth
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Hi Everyone:

This is from my book Real Poker Psychology and I post it every so often. It does a good job of explaining what causes tilt and how to stop it.

........A Mathematical Model of “Tilt” — Cause and Cure


Many years ago, in 1975, I finally left my home at Virginia Tech and went to work as a Mathematical Statistician for the United Stated Census Bureau. Upon arrival, I found myself assigned to an office with several well educated statisticians. This meant that there was always a statistical journal around and an article to read.

After working for a few months, my supervisor brought over the latest journal article that others had already found quite interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the article, who the author was, or what particular journal it was in. So to this unknown author I apologize for not giving proper credit.

The article was about a mathematical definition of humor, and it’s my conviction that tilt follows the same pathways with one major difference. However, for those who don’t know, let’s describe tilt at a poker table:


Generally, what happens is that a player, after sustaining a series of losses will begin to play in a sub-optimal manner, and sometimes this can appear to be, and truly is, quite irrational. Usually it manifests itself by the tilted player playing far too many hands, meaning many hands for which the expectation would be negative. Thus this player will tend to have results much worse than what he would normally expect.

However, by playing too many hands, the tilted player can occasionally get lucky and actually do quite well in the short run. When this happens, the tilting will almost always stop and the steamer will return to their normal game.

Other characteristics can also be seen. This can include yelling at the dealer, demanding that new cards be brought to the table, getting upset at other players, and playing in an extremely aggressive manner.

In addition, I have even noticed that on occasion tilt can carry over from one day to another. On several occasions I have observed a new player sitting down in my game, and after announcing that he was a big loser from the day before, immediately begin to play in a tilted fashion. So it’s clear to me that tilt can last a long time.


Now that we have a definition of tilt out of the way, to understand what is to follow, we need to define a continuous function and a point of discontinuity. And we’ll use this very simple definition:

A continuous function is a line or curve that you can draw across a piece of paper from left to right without lifting up your pen or pencil.


In other words, it will just look like a line, not necessarily straight, that starts on the left side of the paper and finishes on the right. On the other hand, if it’s necessary to lift your pen or pencil up and then set it down at another point producing a gap in what you are drawing, this is a point of discontinuity, and your function is no longer continuous at that point.

Continuing with the article I read many years ago, it then argued that humor was simply points of discontinuity in the logic presented that your brain had to process. And it gave this example which to the best of my ability is repeated below:

There was a young lady who wanted to have a boyfriend. But she had some requirements. She told her friends that her future man needed to be short but well dressed. So her friends introduced her to a penguin.

Notice that this little joke is funny and it contains a point of discontinuity which we’ll call a logic disconnect. While a penguin is certainly short, and they do appear to be well dressed, this is obviously not an appropriate boyfriend. But the brain processes this discontinuity, understands it, and finds it funny. And it’s my contention that the fact that the brain can understand what has happened is what causes it to be funny.

Put another way, the brain has figured it out or solved the puzzle, and we’ll come back to this idea below. But as long as the puzzle is solved, humor appears and we find the experience enjoyable.

Three other examples of humorous discontinuities are when Groucho Marx, aka Captain Spalding, stated:

One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.

Or when Mae West commented:

When I’m good, I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.

Or when W. C. Fields said:

There is not a man in America who has not had a secret ambition to boot an infant.

It should be obvious, as in the penguin example that was in the original article I read many years ago, what the logic disconnects are. We see the logic discontinuity and also understand the error of the logic. Thus we laugh.

But what happens when a logic disconnect happens and we don’t understand the error in the logic. That is, our brain is unable to solve the puzzle that has been presented to it. Do we still find it funny?

It’s my contention that instead of humor, the brain sort of shorts out, or perhaps gets caught in an infinite logic loop similar to what can be caused by some sort of bad computer programming. This leads to frustration, and in extreme cases, irrational decisions.

Recently, I was sent a paper titled “‘This is just so unfair!:’ A qualitative analysis of loss-induced emotions and tilting in on-line poker” by Jussi Paloma, Michael Laakasuoa, and Mikko Salmela from the University of Helsinski in Finland. One of the things that they pointed out is tilted players often don’t sleep well. Could this disruption in sleep be caused by the infinite logic loop that our brain is stuck in still being active? I believe so.

When playing poker, despite what some others have claimed, I virtually never go on tilt. But there is something I do all the time where tilt occasionally gets the best of me. It’s playing tennis, and this is an activity that has been part of my life since I was a kid, and that was a long time ago.

What will occasionally happen is that I’ll miss an easy shot which is simply impossible to miss, or perhaps miss several shots in a row where I shouldn’t miss any of them, or my service toss isn’t straight when trying to serve, etc. And my mind will view these things as simply being impossible. That is, there is no logical way that any of this can happen. I’ve been playing too long and have too much skill for these events to occur. But they do occur and a logical point of discontinuity is manifested.

But unlike the humorous examples given above, there is no solution. I’m not able to realize that a penguin is not a potential boyfriend for a young lady even though he seems to meet some of the criteria, that an elephant was not really in Captain Spalding’s pajamas, that Mae West wasn’t referring to being polite and well behaved, and that we’re not suppose to be kicking little kids across the room. My logic just fails because, again, there is no solution, or at least it seems that way.

This brings us to poker. Here it’s my opinion the same problem occurs for many people. When they lose several hands in a row, or can’t understand how their aces are cracked, or have trouble dealing with running bad, it’s again a logic disconnect. To the person on tilt, in their mind, the events that just occurred are simply impossible, and thus their logical circuitry, so to speak, gets locked up as the information that their brain needs to process enters some sort of infinite loop.

So what’s the solution to this? It’s simple. Understand poker and the probabilistic events that govern it better. Once you get a grasp of the fact that your aces can be beat, it’s very possible, and eventually quite likely, to lose several hands in a row, and running bad for long periods of time can and will happen, tilt goes away.

In fact, when you see good players who are known not to tilt suffer a horrendous beat, they usually chuckle. Their minds have the solution at the end of the discontinuity. So instead of processing it as frustration, they process all the chips going the wrong way as an “elephant in my pajamas.” That is, they see these events as being funny, not frustrating.

On the other hand, you’ll occasionally hear about a player, usually because he has won a tournament or two, who claims to have never read a poker book. While this may be literally true, it’s also my observation that many of these people are steamers and do poorly in the cash games. I also don’t think their poor results here and lack of studying is coincidental, and suspect that their constant tilting is from an incomplete knowledge of poker, and an unwillingness to gain that knowledge.

On our forums at www.twoplustwo.com, I have written many times that understanding the game of poker well is the best cure for tilt. Now most of you can understand my reasoning behind this. Tilt is not a “fight or flight” experience as some people have proposed. (If it were, we would see lots of fights in the poker room, and a poker room fight is something that only happens on very rare occasions.) It’s actually something humorous where the logic that your mind requires gets hung up. And once you acquire enough information that your mind won’t get hung up in an infinite logic loop, tilt should be a thing of the past.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:30 AM   #8
JulianPoker
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Thank you for the reply.

I think your reasoning is quite interesting but does not tell the whole story.
I am a financial economist and during my PhD years I read a lot about behavioral analysis.

The main finding of behavioral economists is that there are 2 systems of thinking, the fast/automatic/instinctive system and the slow/rational/mathematical system.
While decisions taken with the fast thinking system are rooted on familiarity, rules of thumb or shortcuts (heuristics), the decisions taken with the slow thinking system rely on computation of probabilities and assessing the states of nature with an adequate (non-biased) view.

When tilt materializes, the player automatically migrates from slow thinking to fast thinking and his decision making process deteriorates. This can happen unconsciously.

I'm trying to find way to either prevent or be aware of this transition.
More experienced players probably have developed such routines.
What works for you?

Best regards!
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:38 AM   #9
RunningIsNotAnOptn
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hnLq0PlniU

This video does it for me. He talks about poker at the end but his ideas about being successful with women are also relevant.
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Old 07-08-2020, 01:55 AM   #10
Elrazor
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianPoker View Post
The main finding of behavioral economists is that there are 2 systems of thinking, the fast/automatic/instinctive system and the slow/rational/mathematical system.
While decisions taken with the fast thinking system are rooted on familiarity, rules of thumb or shortcuts (heuristics), the decisions taken with the slow thinking system rely on computation of probabilities and assessing the states of nature with an adequate (non-biased) view.

When tilt materializes, the player automatically migrates from slow thinking to fast thinking and his decision making process deteriorates. This can happen unconsciously.

I'm trying to find way to either prevent or be aware of this transition.
More experienced players probably have developed such routines.
What works for you?
This is an interesting idea. As a former midstakes player who at the time of playing was doing their undergrad dissertation on Kahneman and Tversky's work, I think it works slightly differently.

The way I see it, your deliberate "slow" thinking is largely done away from the table. This is reviewing hands, reading books and analysing your opponents.

The "fast" thinking then become more and more of an autonomous process. For example, a novice player might have to think more deliberately and critically about a situation during the game and perhaps override their natural impulse to play a hand.

For the "slow" player, this is much more of an unconscious process - it has to be when you are 12-tabling PLO. An experienced player who is multi-tabling will develop a ton of heuristics based on previous experience and analysis. Of course, you always sacrifice the ability to analyse a tough spot for volume in these situations, but this is determined by your bottom line.

Anyway, that's what worked for me

So, to come back to your question, I don't think slow/fast thinking is a factor in tilt for experienced players. I think you might see this behaviour from a relative novice, but in this situation tilt is much more likely confounded by the ability of the player.
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Old 07-11-2020, 10:44 AM   #11
ACR_Bovada
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Meditate
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Old 07-16-2020, 03:26 PM   #12
pucmo
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Managing the weight, disturbance, shock. Sure, one can manage it by doing logical decision, if one can cover all, feeling confident one can still play well. Obviously, it must be a matter of practise (not going into psychology here) but there are limits to everything and then it is a time off; I don't see it happening so often that one wouldn't have the time for it. Grinding makes one pretty good, experienced, tough, so one can sure manage some disturbance, that's like extra weight that one can as so measure and compare it to previous experiences.
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Old 07-21-2020, 09:28 PM   #13
nutella virus
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

OP your first sentence is spot on. But you are trying to do too much at once. What happens when someone asks too many questions? They lose focus and efficacy. Focus on primary and secondary should follow

I can't reply to your whole post, but your tilt issues and problems can be analytical or behavioral or a combo of both. You need to first learn to identify tilt triggers (influx of subjective emotions).

2 main methods to combat tilt is analytical and behavioural.
Analytical- use logic, math, psychoanalysis methods (introspection, causation, retrograde perspective). Used to solve boredom, table talk, rebuys/getting stacked and basically the search for causation leading to trajectory discovery (where am I, where have I been, and where am I going at any given time)
Behavioral-actual physical stimulus and response. Behavioural learning lacks main stream popularity and understanding. Everyone has heard of freud, but not skinner, watson or wundt. You can set an alarm for every xminutes, and that alarm can do whatever you want it to. Remind you of something to do, not to do, whatever. I used to use ring tone alarms for a few things, and behavioural adaptation can really shut down unwanted tendencies.

Point is: separate yourself from your subjective experience to combat tilt. You can learn how to do this by replacing emotions and feelings with facts and perspective

Last edited by nutella virus; 07-21-2020 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:15 PM   #14
CheckCheckFold
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Many experiments have shown that we essentially have a bottle that is filled up with the ability to tolerate annoyances. Each bad beat empties a bit of the bottle. When the bottle is completely empty, you are now on tilt.

When you rest or sleep, you refill your bottle. If you have bad sleep, the bottle is filled up less.

If you have had an annoying day, and then plays poker, you will empty your bottle quicker when you have losses, and go on tilt earlier.

There are ways to empty your bottle less when hit with an annoyance. But they take months to build up these skills. Rewiring your brain takes just as much time or more than building muscles.

Simple management of tilt is to have good sleep, exercise, eat healthy, have sex, be happy, fill your bottle to the brim before playing poker.

Don't read politics or news that get you angry at all the morons out there.

Take regular 30 minutes or hourly breaks to refill your bottle. Quit before your bottle is completely empty.
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:37 AM   #15
Elrazor
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CheckCheckFold View Post
Many experiments have shown that we essentially have a bottle that is filled up with the ability to tolerate annoyances. Each bad beat empties a bit of the bottle. When the bottle is completely empty, you are now on tilt.
This has largely been debunked by multi-lab replications and meta-analysis.

A Multilab Preregistered Replication of the Ego-Depletion Effect

A series of meta-analytic tests of the depletion effect: Self-control does not seem to rely on a limited resource.
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:42 PM   #16
VeniceMerchant
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Everyone:

This is from my book Real Poker Psychology and I post it every so often. It does a good job of explaining what causes tilt and how to stop it.


Mason, how come your ideas generally tend to go against conventional psychology? And how come you don't present your ideas to the scientific community to face scrutiny?

I mean, you rip on Tendler pretty hard, but he's the one with high stakes poker players offering tesimonials on his behalf. Where are the high stakes players getting good from your book and coming forward to praise it?
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:17 PM   #17
Mason Malmuth
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

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Mason, how come your ideas generally tend to go against conventional psychology? And how come you don't present your ideas to the scientific community to face scrutiny?

I mean, you rip on Tendler pretty hard, but he's the one with high stakes poker players offering tesimonials on his behalf. Where are the high stakes players getting good from your book and coming forward to praise it?
Hi Venice:

I suspect that since you're asking this question you're not familiar with my book Real Poker Psychology nor have you read my psychology section in our book Poker and More. I think your question is well answered here.

In addition, and this is where I would start first, read through this thread which Tendler participated in:

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/2...aches-1678554/

Then, as an exercise, think about what Tendler calls the "inchworm learning model." Think about why it would apply to an athletic sport like tennis, a game I have played a lot since I was a kid, and why it would have very little to do and not apply to poker even though he spends lots of pages on it in his first book.

And the reason there are no high stakes players getting good from my book is that it's not designed to get these people good. In fact, while my book is designed to explain how most poker psychology actually does work at the poker table, there is nothing in there that's supposed to make you into a better player. Yet, it should be helpful to many who read it.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:13 PM   #18
VeniceMerchant
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

You say the inchworm model doesn't apply to poker, I disagree. Applying psychology to poker can and does work and one good way of thinking about that incremental improvement is the inchworm model.

What are your thoughts on the fact that most if not all professional sports teams now employ full-time psychologists?
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:33 PM   #19
Mason Malmuth
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

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Originally Posted by VeniceMerchant View Post
You say the inchworm model doesn't apply to poker, I disagree. Applying psychology to poker can and does work and one good way of thinking about that incremental improvement is the inchworm model.

What are your thoughts on the fact that most if not all professional sports teams now employ full-time psychologists?
You need to read much of what I have written. You would see that in athletic sports where execution is important, I think this psychology stuff may be good. But poker is mainly a knowledge game which makes it very different.

As for inchworm, again in an athletic sport where execution is an important component, improvement comes slowly and after thousands of hours of practice you might become good. But poker is mainly a knowledge game where whenever you learn a new concept, improve your understanding of one you already knew, or learn to balance conflicting concepts better, your improvement can be fast and dramatic. And inchworm is just a silly idea when applied to poker.

And Tendler charges a lot of money for this type of advice, and if you read the new Konnikova book, he's still giving it. Now it may be that he didn’t understand these points a few years back and actually thought he was doing good, but at least you now know why something like inchworm has nothing to do with poker.

Also, you should go to this post, read what Tendler wrote, and then my response:

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/s...1&postcount=26

Mason
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Old 08-06-2020, 08:21 PM   #20
VeniceMerchant
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Calling, raising or folding are all forms of execution. Tennis is also a knowledge game. You don't just mindlessly hit the ball to your opponents forehand side, you prepare, learn tendencies and form strategies.

I think your book could best be summed up by the phrase, "improving your mental game has scientific support and high stakes poker pros in its corner, but I still choose to disagree."
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:04 PM   #21
Mason Malmuth
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Re: How do you manage tilt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeniceMerchant View Post
Calling, raising or folding are all forms of execution. Tennis is also a knowledge game. You don't just mindlessly hit the ball to your opponents forehand side, you prepare, learn tendencies and form strategies.

I think your book could best be summed up by the phrase, "improving your mental game has scientific support and high stakes poker pros in its corner, but I still choose to disagree."
I've played a lot of tennis since I was a kid, and there is also discussion of this in my book as well of discussion of the knowledge component of tennis.

Your phrase has little to do with what my book says and you obviously haven't read it.

Mason
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