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Old 09-29-2017, 11:35 PM   #176
Mason Malmuth
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Desultory View Post

...

But having said all that, I am open minded to thinking that different forms of meditation and relaxation methods could help some players when dealing with the stresses of poker swings. Maybe the 2 on the river example was a misinformed attempt at that, because the mental coach in question doesn't understand poker.
Hi Desultory:

This is an interesting point. My understanding is that stuff like meditation can make you feel better about certain things that are bothering you, and this can include poker. On the other hand, the important question is does meditation, and similar endeavors, help uou play poker better, and in most cases I doubt.

The possible exception might be if you're already an excellent player and perhaps feeling better about things helps you to concentrate or channel your thoughts better. But for the vast majority of people who play poker, and have many holes in their strategy, doing things like taking deep breaths just can't be of much value. They would be far better off improving their knowledge relative to all things poker, and this includes their poker mental game.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:02 AM   #177
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Hi Mason, I think you will enjoy this especially that it involves the #1 poker player mind in the world imo.

See 42.10 seconds in to around 44.55 roughly

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Old 10-02-2017, 01:45 PM   #178
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

"If we are doing math problem and 8+8=16, its not going to equal 20 because i'm mad. Thats not how maths works"

The #1 poker player mind in the world.

So he basically says right there he doesn't need a Poker mental game coach. But probably he could benfit health wise from some meditation
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:01 PM   #179
Mason Malmuth
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by ajikavix View Post
Hi Mason, I think you will enjoy this especially that it involves the #1 poker player mind in the world imo.

See 42.10 seconds in to around 44.55 roughly

Hi ajikavix:

What Jungleman says here is similar to what I've been saying. Put in my language, I think he's saying that since he's able to process the difficult information that gets presented to him, being upset with the results doesn't impact how he plays his hand. Or put in his language, 8+8 is still 16 and it doesn't change to 20 as it might with someone who is not able to process the difficult information.

Also, I have talked directly to Doug Polk on this subject and I think it's fair to say that we agree on most of it.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:09 PM   #180
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by chrisshiherlis View Post
This is a good point.
My nan would be a not-ineffective mental game coach, and she's been dead 5 years. Just prop her up in a chair and talk to her, get things off your chest. Point being, a mental game coach being somewhat effective does not mean that anything they are saying need be reliable or true, just that the client (/victim) gets chatting and have some confidence that their coach knows what they're talking about (which they often clearly don't). Coach then puts this info into book form (same stuff, minus the chatting benefits), and you have often a bunch of unreliable nonsense. But at least it'll get you thinking about stuff.
Most of the Poker Psychology stuff I've read on eg Adult Learning Model, Tilt, Zone, is just bollocks and the Psychology really dodgy. Don't rely on it.
El Razor and Mason have a good handle on stuff but I didn't see any of their objections properly addressed here. QED.
Hi chrisshiherlis:

Just to follow up a little on this, one of the thngs that I've learned since getting into this poker psychology stuff is that there is now an area of psychology, known as Positive Psychology, which of course sounds like the title of the first Cardner/Little book, Positive Poker, which is where a lot of this self-help/guru stuff comes from, and many serious psychologists don't think much of it. So when you write:

Quote:
Most of the Poker Psychology stuff I've read on eg Adult Learning Model, Tilt, Zone, is just bollocks and the Psychology really dodgy.
I completely agree. However, it doesn't mean that there aren't valuable ideas in psychology that might help poker players. It's just that they haven't really made it to the poker world and what is there, in most cases, is exactly as you describe.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:49 AM   #181
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
many serious psychologists don't think much of it.
I'm going to correct you on this point. Two of the psychologists who developed the concept of positive psychology, Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, are huge hitters in psychology and the volume and quality of their work speaks for itself.

I don't really know enough about positive psychology to pass informed comment, but most of what I have read is well argued and coherent, and I have certainly never heard anyone speak dismissively about it.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:43 PM   #182
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Hi Mason,

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

This is an interesting point. My understanding is that stuff like meditation can make you feel better about certain things that are bothering you, and this can include poker. On the other hand, the important question is does meditation, and similar endeavors, help uou play poker better, and in most cases I doubt.

The possible exception might be if you're already an excellent player and perhaps feeling better about things helps you to concentrate or channel your thoughts better. But for the vast majority of people who play poker, and have many holes in their strategy, doing things like taking deep breaths just can't be of much value. They would be far better off improving their knowledge relative to all things poker, and this includes their poker mental game.

Best wishes,
Mason
I think the bold is problematic in that everyone can benefit from clearer thinking when it comes to poker. Think of the difference between the drunk maniac playing 100% of hands for a raise preflop, compared with the 50% raising lag that plays ok postflop. I've seen more than one individual play both parts of that equation. On many occasions I'll ask my online opponents, "are you drinking or something?" and the answer is usually yes. When the answer is no, then I assume they're taking out their real life frustrations on poker. Pressing, as many would call it.

In other sports that require quick thinking and physical reaction, concentration and clear thinking is huge. Anyone that has ever got drunk on a Friday night and then played basketball Saturday morning would know this to be true.

Finally, there's the issue of not giving your opponents enough credit or giving them too much credit. It seems silly to me now that there are infinite potentially profitable poker strategies available to us, as well as infinite unprofitable poker strategies available to us. I think it's important to note that many players may have us fooled regarding their win and loss columns. Not necessarily to have you, Mason, fooled, but to the average poker player trying to improve his game? Knowing the difference between the 50% lag and the 100% maniac, and having the plan, the concentration, and the clarity of mind necessary to implement a proper counter strategy vs those imaginary opponents, are all integral pieces of the mental puzzle that is poker.

How does that relate to deep breaths? Well for starters, not everyone gets to lead traumatic stress free lives. Some people have heinous things that happened in their lives. You have literally no idea whether this opponent is thinking about poker, or as Tom Petty said:

"Maybe you were tied up, taken away, and held for ransom."

rip

So sometimes, yeah I need to take a few seconds to gather my thoughts before I even start to think about something as silly as a poker game. Occasionally it's my turn when this happens. A deep breath helps me during these times.

peace,
Bob

Last edited by Bob148; 10-03-2017 at 10:46 PM. Reason: not really a Bob, I just play one on the internet.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:22 PM   #183
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elrazor View Post
I'm going to correct you on this point. Two of the psychologists who developed the concept of positive psychology, Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, are huge hitters in psychology and the volume and quality of their work speaks for itself.

I don't really know enough about positive psychology to pass informed comment, but most of what I have read is well argued and coherent, and I have certainly never heard anyone speak dismissively about it.
Hi Elrazor:

You're correct and I have mispoken. So let me reword what I want to say.

The way I understand it, and I'm no where close to being an expert in this area, is that much of the silly stuff we see related to poker psychology is most likely coming from the area of positive psychology. However, it doesn't mean that there isn't much good work being done in this area and it certainly doesn't mean that the field of positive psychology isn't a worthwhile field.

Thanks for the correction.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:44 PM   #184
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Somebody should write to whoever those ppl are and tell them that if they want to see some real weird **** they ought to do a study of a poker player's mind in action.
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Old 10-04-2017, 02:51 PM   #185
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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

You're correct and I have mispoken. So let me reword what I want to say.

The way I understand it, and I'm no where close to being an expert in this area, is that much of the silly stuff we see related to poker psychology is most likely coming from the area of positive psychology. However, it doesn't mean that there isn't much good work being done in this area and it certainly doesn't mean that the field of positive psychology isn't a worthwhile field.

Thanks for the correction.

Best wishes,
Mason
This is a super important point, and I'm glad that you acknowledge it. I've been involved in positive psychology from its infancy, so I've seen it grow a lot, and it's facing the problem that a lot of fields that quickly gain popularity run into. People are seeing that it is a new and interesting field, and they want to get involved. Unfortunately, a lot of these people don't actually want to put in the work necessary to be knowledgeable about it. As a result, you get a lot of BS and pseudoscience all of a sudden flooding the internet about it. So, like a lot of other fields, it's important to consider source material and whether the author (or in this case coach) is credible.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'll address your original question in the thread (even though I'm a bit late to the party): telling a player to visualize a 2 coming out is crap coaching and pointless. That's not even psychology. It's just someone that is probably charismatic enough and good enough at marketing to build up a client base. However, the fact that he got endorsed on a big stage (and gave mental coaching a bad name) doesn't mean that the field is crap in general. It just means that that individual coach gave some pointless advice.

Now, if I haven't bored you yet, I'll gladly give a (brief) opinion on mental coaching from someone with a background in psych and counseling. I think that mindfulness and mental health can be coached in general. Things like meditation and awareness of what types of triggers cause strong emotions can be very helpful in making an individual healthier and more focused. The part about focus is especially important for poker, as well as being able to calm yourself after a bad beat. So, I'm skeptical about whether there's coaching that can be specifically targeted to poker's mental game, because it's so niche, but I think that working on your mental state and engaging in meditation and mindfulness can have benefits at the poker table.
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:29 AM   #186
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Howard Beale View Post
Somebody should write to whoever those ppl are and tell them that if they want to see some real weird **** they ought to do a study of a poker player's mind in action.
Haha true. Once I was having a good day at Foxwoods. My girlfriend texts me, "hows that going?" I replied, "I'm crushing it baby." and then she dropped an emotional bomb on me when she said, "great, bring home a ring. "

I definitely needed a deep breath after that.

----

Another example:

I was playing 4/8 at Foxwoods when one of the regulars, who was casually reading the paper, says, "oh look at that. A mental patient died mysteriously in a hospital. good riddance." which really pissed me off.

I definitely needed a deep breath after that.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:46 AM   #187
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Bob148 View Post

I was playing 4/8 at Foxwoods when one of the regulars, who was casually reading the paper, says, "oh look at that. A mental patient died mysteriously in a hospital. good riddance." which really pissed me off.

I definitely needed a deep breath after that.
I swear, I think people just say **** like that to throw other people off half the time. I told a guy I worked in counseling and he went on a massive rant about how PTSD doesn't exist.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:17 AM   #188
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

I think one of three things is happening there:

a) they have a reaction based personality that thrives on conflict; they choose to be disagreeable and controversial because they enjoy the resulting arguments.

b) they have a belief based personality that can function only if everything happening around them falls into nice neat believable categories; they choose to be disagreeable and controversial because the issue doesn't fall in line with their belief system.

c) they are very misinformed and believe whatever they read on the internet or hear from others; they are the very definition of ignorance.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:24 AM   #189
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Hi Mason, I'm interested in your opinion and answer to this question.

If a poker player 100% knows the correct play from the incorrect play, lets say he has solved GTO in the game he is playing, yet still has many traits of a degan poker player, as in..

gambling it up in pots just to make the pots bigger
overbets hands and plays hands he shouldn't be, pre flop, and other streets, again gamble gamble
plays above his bankroll
plays in games he is not +Ev (ok delete this one since he has solved GTO in the game he plays, so there are no games/opponents that he would play are -EV unless playing another GTO player, then of course rake would make it -EV to play in that game)
understand variance and short term lack factor and everything from that point of view when it comes to BRM, but doesn't stick to BRM.


This player knows all the above are wrong in the exact moment he does them , but does the opposite to often because of his degan traits.

Again 100% does know the correct plays from the incorrect throughout the whole time he is playing.


basically he 100% agrees and understands everything you wrote in your book "real poker psychology", yet after all this, he still degans as a poker player at times (not always) but enough to take one step forward as a player and two steps back when in degan mode.

There is a lot of poker players that fit this, and that should be playing much higher stakes, but because of their degan traits are playing smaller stakes then they really should be.

what is your opinion of this type of poker player, and what advice would your give this type of player to change his degan ways?

Last edited by ajikavix; 10-05-2017 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:29 AM   #190
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Quote:
he has solved GTO
Quote:
There is a lot of poker players that fit this,
No, there are none such players.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:43 AM   #191
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

I'm not 100% sure this is correct but isn't limit holdem heads up solved at high stakes?

My point was more just a example to show Mason that its not because this type of player doesn't know the correct play to make. He knows the correct play, but simply doesn't do them "sometimes" because he might be on a downswing for example, and instead of being disciplined, he chases, by gambling it up at the tables when he shouldn't be, playing too many hands, making bigger pots etc etc. he understand its only short term luck factor as i said, and his poker database even shows he is running a heap below EV, but the urge to gamble it up when on a downswing makes him degan at times and he knows doing so is wrong.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:46 AM   #192
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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I'm not 100% sure this is correct but isn't limit holdem heads up solved at high stakes?
There's not enough time in one's life to memorize the solution, nevermind to implement it.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:57 AM   #193
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

either way my point was just a example >> a example lets say it is solved, just to be clear to Mason that its not because of lack of knowledge in any particular hand.

For example this is solved

Its 100% wrong to 4 bet heads up with 82os vs a tight player

Or to call with 82os in 6 max after two guys that hardly ever raise both total nits have raised and reraised each other and you still call with 82os because your so down for the day and the game is breaking in 10 minutes and your in chase mode. You know its wrong but you do it anyway. Much like someone taking some bad drug to get high, they know its not the correct play but they still do it, again not always but "sometimes" but enough to keep that say player playing at mid stakes when they should be playing at high stakes.
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:10 PM   #194
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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No, there are none such players.
Sure, but it's helpful for the purposes of the thought experiment he proposed.
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Old 10-05-2017, 05:43 PM   #195
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by WehrmatsWormhat View Post
I swear, I think people just say **** like that to throw other people off half the time. I told a guy I worked in counseling and he went on a massive rant about how PTSD doesn't exist.
I told a lady once I was training in Psychology and she replied, beaming

Spoiler:
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Old 10-05-2017, 05:52 PM   #196
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by WehrmatsWormhat View Post
This is a super important point, and I'm glad that you acknowledge it. I've been involved in positive psychology from its infancy, so I've seen it grow a lot, and it's facing the problem that a lot of fields that quickly gain popularity run into. People are seeing that it is a new and interesting field, and they want to get involved. Unfortunately, a lot of these people don't actually want to put in the work necessary to be knowledgeable about it. As a result, you get a lot of BS and pseudoscience all of a sudden flooding the internet about it. So, like a lot of other fields, it's important to consider source material and whether the author (or in this case coach) is credible.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'll address your original question in the thread (even though I'm a bit late to the party): telling a player to visualize a 2 coming out is crap coaching and pointless. That's not even psychology. It's just someone that is probably charismatic enough and good enough at marketing to build up a client base. However, the fact that he got endorsed on a big stage (and gave mental coaching a bad name) doesn't mean that the field is crap in general. It just means that that individual coach gave some pointless advice.

Now, if I haven't bored you yet, I'll gladly give a (brief) opinion on mental coaching from someone with a background in psych and counseling. I think that mindfulness and mental health can be coached in general. Things like meditation and awareness of what types of triggers cause strong emotions can be very helpful in making an individual healthier and more focused. The part about focus is especially important for poker, as well as being able to calm yourself after a bad beat. So, I'm skeptical about whether there's coaching that can be specifically targeted to poker's mental game, because it's so niche, but I think that working on your mental state and engaging in meditation and mindfulness can have benefits at the poker table.
Poker normally involves the organ between people's ears so I'm sure Psychology has a ton to offer it.
Psychology sounds like the subject concerning fixing mad people, to Joe Public, but in reality she's quite the whore. Population physically ill? Psychology. Plane passengers in emergency? Workplace management? Recruitment? Sports? Eyesight? All Psychology.
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Old Yesterday, 02:27 PM   #197
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Boffins in the thread

I haz a brain is not responsible for any other person who has been in a few years ago....
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