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Old 08-31-2017, 09:55 PM   #101
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Mason, I read your book and one thing I don't remember seeing mentioned is separating oneself from the money when playing. And, as a corollary, the smaller a percentage of one's bankroll one sits at the table with, the more easy (and realistic) it is to separate oneself from the money.

Most of the book emphasized that the importance of increasing your skill and knowledge so that you'll know what the correct decision is more often. If someone is silly enough to sit at a table with 20% of their bankroll, it can be really hard to call that aggressive player's river barrel with your top pair. With 2% of one's roll on the table it's trivial.
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:24 PM   #102
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by DalTXColtsFan View Post
Mason, I read your book and one thing I don't remember seeing mentioned is separating oneself from the money when playing. And, as a corollary, the smaller a percentage of one's bankroll one sits at the table with, the more easy (and realistic) it is to separate oneself from the money.
Hi DalTXColtsFan:

This dea is not addressed and I doubt if it's important.

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Most of the book emphasized that the importance of increasing your skill and knowledge so that you'll know what the correct decision is more often.
This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Real Poker Psychology is about. I argue that many of the psychology issues that the well known poker mental coaches try to address are easily solved, and much better solved, by those players who have a good understanding of what I call "all things poker."

For example, in the chapter "A Mathematical Model of Tilt -- Cause and Cure," my argument is that tilt is mainly caused by the inability for a player's brain to process some of the information, such as losing a number of hands in a short period of time, that gets presented to the player. But by increasing your knowledge of all things poker, this type of information can be processed and the player is then able to go on to the next hand instead of getting his mind "locked up."

Notice that this has little to do with knowing what the correct decision is. However, a by product of improving your knowledge of all things poker is that you'll also improve many of your strategy decisions.

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If someone is silly enough to sit at a table with 20% of their bankroll, it can be really hard to call that aggressive player's river barrel with your top pair. With 2% of one's roll on the table it's trivial.
I'm not sure what this has to do with my book, but I suspect that improving your knowledge of all things poker someone who might have put too much of his bankroll at risk would be less likely to do this. On the other hand, if you had read my book Gambling Theory and Other Topics, you would see that, in the short run, my position on how much risk you should take when playing poker is a personal thing. Just make sure you understand what you're doing. Also, you should understand that by constantly taking too much risk, usually done by playing in games that are large relative to how much money you have, your bankroll won't grow as fast (in the long run) as someone who does a better job in this area.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:59 AM   #103
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by chrisshiherlis View Post
What you're selling comes under the heading of Psychology. If most of your customers, I presume, have little knowledge of Psychology, how could they tell if it's BS or not?
You have a theory of tilt; of arousal v performance; of learning (unconscious competence etc) which all draw upon Psychology. What's to stop you just pulling out random theories, calling them Psychology, and selling them to these people with little ability to discriminate?
My integrity.
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Old 09-08-2017, 11:30 PM   #104
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

I don't question your integrity and I don't criticize your motivations. I'm certain that you sincerely apply your best practices to help poker players improve their mental game and expect that what has worked for others will work for poker players. For 'The Mental Game Of Poker' you made sure to have a good player to check things with. And to be fair to you, my copy is only half-read bec I thought that maybe this is good for something else but not for poker. When this thread appeared I picked up the book again and put it right back down. I'm going to try again. Here's my take:

Nobody who hasn't tried to play winning poker can know what is going on inside the player's heads. The good, the mediocre, the bad, they all are subject to a raging mental storm on a regular basis. It can be incredible. You KNOW that something can happen, you KNOW that it happens exactly as often as the math says it will, you KNOW that it can happen to you, you KNOW that it's why bad players can continue to play, and you KNOW what your play should be and you don't do it despite all of this.

And we are left with why. There's a usual list of entitlement issues, anger management issues, fear and all of the rest. Your advice wouldn't work for me. Maybe it works for other players but I don't see how, tbh, because there's one basic answer that it took me a very long time to realize: You not only have to understand what poker is, you have to embrace it. Accept it, love it, caress it, adore it. The worst thing to do is try to fight it. Once I understood the game, and played w/i what a comfortable BR allowed, w/e tilt I had nearly disappeared. I think it impossible to get rid of that last 1%.

I've stated a few time that I think Mason's book would be helpful to every single player. I would've worded a few things differently, I like his 'find the humor' approach, I have no idea if his mathematical model of tilt is right or wrong but it has one very redeeming quality and embodies the true answer. It's written by a long time winning player and keeps pointing to needing a better understanding of (Mason's phrase) 'all things poker.'

--------------------

I've often wondered why this sub-forum isn't the busiest poker related forum on 2+2. Quibbling about strat in what are often either standard situations or extreme rarities is worth fractions of bets most of the time while the mental game can cost the entirety of a player's career.
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Old 09-09-2017, 01:58 AM   #105
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

I understand Jared is a decent golfer. Now, golf and poker are different and I appreciate that for the most part, the "sport psychology" approach to poker is a flawed concept.

However, I think poker and golf have enough similarities within their mental game that someone who is a decent golfer would understand some, and perhaps many, of the issues encountered by a poker player.

Of course that doesn't mean Jared or any other psychologist is going to understand every aspect, but I think they would understand enough that, when combined with an academic background in psychology, they would be capable of helping a player improve their performance.

To put it another way, many psychiatrists are qualified to help people with a vast rage of mental illnesses. While some may have suffered from mental illness themselves, I don't believe that factor alone would make then a better clinician.

As for the integrity argument, most people would describe themselves as activing with integrity. However, some lack the self-awareness to see otherwise, while others lack the skill or critical thinking in their field to understand the work they are doing might not be as helpful or productive as they would like to think. I'm sure in both cases they sleep well at night though.
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:20 AM   #106
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Elrazor View Post
I understand Jared is a decent golfer. Now, golf and poker are different and I appreciate that for the most part, the "sport psychology" approach to poker is a flawed concept.
Hi Elrazor:

I won't go into detail again but I believe, and have been quite specific as to why, that the sport psychology approach to poker is highly flawed. An example is when Tendler says in his first book:

Unconscious Competence is the Holy Grail of learning, and by far the most important concept in this book.

This might be true if poker players had to make all their decisions in one or two seconds, but that's not the case. While in an athletic sport, this sort of thing happens all the time. An example would be a professional baseball player trying to hit a 95 MPH fastball, which can take thousands of hours of repetition to gain this level of unconcious competence. But it has little if anything to do with poker.

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However, I think poker and golf have enough similarities within their mental game that someone who is a decent golfer would understand some, and perhaps many, of the issues encountered by a poker player.
This might be true since while golf requires much coordination, it doesn't play at the speed that many other sports play at. However, based on what I've read, this is not a similarity that Tendler ever makes.

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Of course that doesn't mean Jared or any other psychologist is going to understand every aspect, but I think they would understand enough that, when combined with an academic background in psychology, they would be capable of helping a player improve their performance.
I concede that some of this stuff might help an expert player, who is mostly playing against other experts improve their win rate a little bit. And when you're mostly playing against other experts, your win rate should be, at best, small to begin with, so a little bit of improvement can be worth something, especially if you're playing at very high stakes.

But for the vast majority of players who are still trying to master the game, most of this stuff shold be fairly worthless and they'll be much, much better off trying to improve their understanding of all things poker, and if they latch on to this mental stuff and neglect trying to improve their understanding of all things poker, then it can become quite detrimental to the long range results for these players.

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To put it another way, many psychiatrists are qualified to help people with a vast rage of mental illnesses. While some may have suffered from mental illness themselves, I don't believe that factor alone would make then a better clinician.
Okay.

Quote:
As for the integrity argument, most people would describe themselves as activing with integrity. However, some lack the self-awareness to see otherwise, while others lack the skill or critical thinking in their field to understand the work they are doing might not be as helpful or productive as they would like to think. I'm sure in both cases they sleep well at night though.
Tendler claims to have high integrity and I suspect this was probably the case when he first got into the mental coaching of poker players. But in my opinion, he didn't understand that much of what he advocated had virtually nothing to do with poker players and their needs.

Now, he should be well aware of what the specific criticisms of his work are and why I say it has little value. But we don't hear from him addressing these criticisms and why these criticisms are wrong, and it seems to me this may be an integrity issue all by itself.

However, to be fair, perhaps Tendler does not understand this point of view or view things in this way. But it would sure be interesting to hear him explain why "unconcious competenceis is the Holy Grail of learning, and by far the most important concept in this book" when one of the main complaints about poker, especially no-limit hold 'em, is that many players take too long a time to make their decisions and a "shot clock" is needed.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:17 AM   #107
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

I broadly agree with all of the points you raise, and specifically with the unconscious competence aspect, which I don't believe hold nearly as much weight as Tendler's book suggests.

The bottom line is I could quite easily write a number of convincing essays supporting the use of sports psychology concepts for poker players. However, as a former player, I recognise the limitations of using this approach, which in some cases might be detrimental to performance.

Finally, I can understand the reluctance of authors to engage in dialogue about their books - they have very little to gain, and much more to lose. However, that's not to say all of their approaches are flawed, and strengths should be highlighted as well as the weaknesses.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:54 AM   #108
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Howard Beale View Post
I don't question your integrity and I don't criticize your motivations. I'm certain that you sincerely apply your best practices to help poker players improve their mental game and expect that what has worked for others will work for poker players. For 'The Mental Game Of Poker' you made sure to have a good player to check things with. And to be fair to you, my copy is only half-read bec I thought that maybe this is good for something else but not for poker. When this thread appeared I picked up the book again and put it right back down. I'm going to try again. Here's my take:

Nobody who hasn't tried to play winning poker can know what is going on inside the player's heads. The good, the mediocre, the bad, they all are subject to a raging mental storm on a regular basis. It can be incredible. You KNOW that something can happen, you KNOW that it happens exactly as often as the math says it will, you KNOW that it can happen to you, you KNOW that it's why bad players can continue to play, and you KNOW what your play should be and you don't do it despite all of this.

And we are left with why. There's a usual list of entitlement issues, anger management issues, fear and all of the rest. Your advice wouldn't work for me. Maybe it works for other players but I don't see how, tbh, because there's one basic answer that it took me a very long time to realize: You not only have to understand what poker is, you have to embrace it. Accept it, love it, caress it, adore it. The worst thing to do is try to fight it. Once I understood the game, and played w/i what a comfortable BR allowed, w/e tilt I had nearly disappeared. I think it impossible to get rid of that last 1%.

I've stated a few time that I think Mason's book would be helpful to every single player. I would've worded a few things differently, I like his 'find the humor' approach, I have no idea if his mathematical model of tilt is right or wrong but it has one very redeeming quality and embodies the true answer. It's written by a long time winning player and keeps pointing to needing a better understanding of (Mason's phrase) 'all things poker.'

--------------------

I've often wondered why this sub-forum isn't the busiest poker related forum on 2+2. Quibbling about strat in what are often either standard situations or extreme rarities is worth fractions of bets most of the time while the mental game can cost the entirety of a player's career.
Appreciate the post and you being open to my book/coaching helping other players. For some players like yourself, the mental/emotional reactions they have to the game can be summed up by "better understanding/accepting/embracing the realities of poker". But it's not that simple for others. They bring to the game a host of anger, fears, confidence and motivational issues that poker amplifies. These are not pure poker issues, but poker makes them worse. Thus the book and my coaching provides these players with an option to work through them in the content of poker, since poker is often the first place they've become motivated to correct them.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:24 AM   #109
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
But we don't hear from him addressing these criticisms and why these criticisms are wrong, and it seems to me this may be an integrity issue all by itself.

However, to be fair, perhaps Tendler does not understand this point of view or view things in this way. But it would sure be interesting to hear him explain why "unconcious competenceis is the Holy Grail of learning, and by far the most important concept in this book" when one of the main complaints about poker, especially no-limit hold 'em, is that many players take too long a time to make their decisions and a "shot clock" is needed.

Best wishes,
Mason
I've been open and responsive about addressing the criticisms you and other have laid out. I don't reply to every post because I'm busy, but get here as often as I can.

Regarding "Unconscious Competence", I think the reason you're having trouble with the concept is because you're assuming that I'm suggesting all decisions should be automated. I'm suggesting to automate or master the information used to make a decision. Dramatic example, imagine if each time you made a decision you had to think about hand rankings. There is only so much space in the mind to consider details of each hand, and if the brain didn't have the ability to automate knowledge our decision making capacity would be severely limited. You can't think about high level GTO strategy if you can't learn skills/knowledge about the game to the level of Unconscious Competence.

Unconscious Competence frees up mental space so you can learn and apply new concepts and that extends to the mental game as well. That's why its the holy grail of learning, because it allows you to accelerate learning. If you fail to train basic knowledge to that level, there is too much to consider when your faced with a decision, and your decisions are measurably worse as a result.

Yes, this does help make players capable of making higher quality fast decisions. It's how mass-multitable online grinders are able to make 1000's of decisions per hour. I've heard these types of clients talk about how 90-95% of their decisions are automated - Unconscious Competence - and the rest of their decisions require thinking, and use information/knowledge that is at the level of Conscious Competence. But once these decisions reach Unconscious Competence, the is room in their mind to allow new information/knowledge into the Conscious Competence, thus allow their decision making to evolve.
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:48 PM   #110
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Jared Tendler View Post
Appreciate the post and you being open to my book/coaching helping other players. For some players like yourself, the mental/emotional reactions they have to the game can be summed up by "better understanding/accepting/embracing the realities of poker". But it's not that simple for others. They bring to the game a host of anger, fears, confidence and motivational issues that poker amplifies. These are not pure poker issues, but poker makes them worse. Thus the book and my coaching provides these players with an option to work through them in the content of poker, since poker is often the first place they've become motivated to correct them.
As I said, your books/coaching may be helpful to others. It can be that simply having a calm and steady source to fall back on is of value. 'What would Jared think of how I'm playing' can be powerful and it's one of the mental tricks that I've used: pretend that a miniature version of the best player I know is sitting on my shoulder watching/commenting on what I do. Of course I still think Mason's advice is better but maybe your approach - to DRAG players into the proper mindset - is better than nothing.

You have a unique opportunity for a personal experiment if you care to take the time to run it. You're hooked up w/ some of the best players in the game. Have them give YOU poker lessons and then try to play a significant number of hours and see how you do. Not winnings wise, rather 'poker mental health' wise. That would be interesting to me.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:49 PM   #111
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Howard Beale View Post
As I said, your books/coaching may be helpful to others. It can be that simply having a calm and steady source to fall back on is of value. 'What would Jared think of how I'm playing' can be powerful and it's one of the mental tricks that I've used: pretend that a miniature version of the best player I know is sitting on my shoulder watching/commenting on what I do. Of course I still think Mason's advice is better but maybe your approach - to DRAG players into the proper mindset - is better than nothing.

You have a unique opportunity for a personal experiment if you care to take the time to run it. You're hooked up w/ some of the best players in the game. Have them give YOU poker lessons and then try to play a significant number of hours and see how you do. Not winnings wise, rather 'poker mental health' wise. That would be interesting to me.
Jared never said that the mental game trumps a higher-level understanding of strat. It's a way to help specific players who are underperforming based off of mental leaks. Is it really that hard to get? Have you never played with a player who was similar/equal to you in skill but they were 10x more self-destructive? This opponent's self-destructive tendencies make them a big fish in any game, especially when they start losing. .

Let's flip your personal experiment around and apply it to Mason. Mason has been writing about poker for years. We are all grateful for the work of two plus two. Perhaps due to the success of two plus two, He seems to believe he knows EVERYTHING about poker and will remind anyone that any new discovery in poker was already written by him 30 years ago. If Mason knows everything, and knowledge is all that matters in poker, How come Mason's not playing in any high roller tournies? What's his highest tourney finish or biggest annual cash earnings? Could it be possible that Mason has (GASP) Mental leaks that prevent him from being a winning player?

The idea that there is NOTHING to be gained from Jared or any outside resources that do not relate to math or statistics is just sheer pig-headedness. It's a life leak that undoubtedly will leak into your poker game.

Self-awareness, emotional intelligence, tilt management, spotting tells, personality profiling, are all huge ways to gain an edge over your opponents. Yet, if you're only good at solving math problems of course your going to scoff (and be envious) at others who possess these skills.

Last edited by mark "twang"; 09-11-2017 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:22 PM   #112
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by mark "twang" View Post
Jared never said that the mental game trumps a higher-level understanding of strat. It's a way to help specific players who are underperforming based off of mental leaks. Is it really that hard to get? Have you never played with a player who was similar/equal to you in skill but they were 10x more self-destructive? This opponent's self-destructive tendencies make them a big fish in any game, especially when they start losing. .

Let's flip your personal experiment around and apply it to Mason. Mason has been writing about poker for years. We are all grateful for the work of two plus two. Perhaps due to the success of two plus two, He seems to believe he knows EVERYTHING about poker and will remind anyone that any new discovery in poker was already written by him 30 years ago. If Mason knows everything, and knowledge is all that matters in poker, How come Mason's not playing in any high roller tournies? What's his highest tourney finish or biggest annual cash earnings? Could it be possible that Mason has (GASP) Mental leaks that prevent him from being a winning player?

The idea that there is NOTHING to be gained from Jared or any outside resources that do not relate to math or statistics is just sheer pig-headedness. It's a life leak that undoubtedly will leak into your poker game.

Self-awareness, emotional intelligence, tilt management, spotting tells, personality profiling, are all huge ways to gain an edge over your opponents. Yet, if you're only good at solving math problems of course your going to scoff (and be envious) at others who possess these skills.
Perhaps you misunderstand me or have not read all of my posts in this forum. Jared does not have to say that the mental game trumps strat I say it myself and I also don't dismiss his work as worthless bec, for all I know, it's a great help to the players he coaches. I just think that Mason's approach is the better one. To family/friends that want to know what poker's all about I say this: 'The proper way to play is available to everyone through books, vids/training sites, or on 2p2 (and I tell them what that is). But the REALLY tough part is doing what you're 'supposed' to do.' If I had the capacity I'd try to organize group therapy for players w/ mental game issues. I could make a fortune!

I'll let Mason speak for himself but I'll comment this much: Most pros don't play the super high rollers. The winning pros that I know, the ones that make a living, don't play very high stakes and they don't have to to give good advice. By your metric people like Dwan should be writing all of the books which would be good bec I'd like to read his book once he gets released from the Triad dungeon that some ppl on here think he's in.

I'd also suggest reading Mason's psych book. Except for trying to pound a true understanding of variance/fluctuations into player's heads it's not very math based.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:45 PM   #113
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Jared Tendler View Post
I've been open and responsive about addressing the criticisms you and other have laid out. I don't reply to every post because I'm busy, but get here as often as I can.
As far as I know you've never addressed any of this before. So let's see what you have to say.

Quote:
Regarding "Unconscious Competence", I think the reason you're having trouble with the concept is because you're assuming that I'm suggesting all decisions should be automated. I'm suggesting to automate or master the information used to make a decision. Dramatic example, imagine if each time you made a decision you had to think about hand rankings. There is only so much space in the mind to consider details of each hand, and if the brain didn't have the ability to automate knowledge our decision making capacity would be severely limited. You can't think about high level GTO strategy if you can't learn skills/knowledge about the game to the level of Unconscious Competence.

Unconscious Competence frees up mental space so you can learn and apply new concepts and that extends to the mental game as well. That's why its the holy grail of learning, because it allows you to accelerate learning. If you fail to train basic knowledge to that level, there is too much to consider when your faced with a decision, and your decisions are measurably worse as a result.

Yes, this does help make players capable of making higher quality fast decisions. It's how mass-multitable online grinders are able to make 1000's of decisions per hour. I've heard these types of clients talk about how 90-95% of their decisions are automated - Unconscious Competence - and the rest of their decisions require thinking, and use information/knowledge that is at the level of Conscious Competence. But once these decisions reach Unconscious Competence, the is room in their mind to allow new information/knowledge into the Conscious Competence, thus allow their decision making to evolve.
Actually, this answer isn't that bad. It seems like you're using the term "unconcious competence" to describe what I would call knowing the fundamentals cold. That's what I've been claiming is necessary to do but you're trying to descibe it as psychology rather than study to the point where the knowledge is second nature.

Let's look at blackjack. Knowing basic strategy cold allows you to play most of your hands correctly. It's only in certain situations that you need to remember when to deviate, according to the count, that you even contemplate whether the count should make you deviate from basic strategy. Therefore, you don't think about the index numbers on every decision. You would call this unconcious competence, but I would call it learning the stuff so that the right play is second nature.

Now let's come back to the term you use, "unconcious competence." It seems like you're simply using a fancy psychological term to describe what happens to people when they study and practice the fundamentals well enough that they have it down cold, which again is what I've been recommending all along. It doesn't take any psychological expertise to tell people to study the fundamentals.

Stated another way. What you're doing is trying to take obvious and standard poker advice, namely to study the fundamentals to the point where it becomes second nature, and trying to claim that such advice is something that only a psychologist can give.

Mason
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:01 AM   #114
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by mark "twang" View Post
Jared never said that the mental game trumps a higher-level understanding of strat. It's a way to help specific players who are underperforming based off of mental leaks. Is it really that hard to get?
Except that the way to solve most of these mental leaks is to improve your understanding of all things poker. See my book for more discussion and it's not really that hard to get.

Quote:
Have you never played with a player who was similar/equal to you in skill but they were 10x more self-destructive? This opponent's self-destructive tendencies make them a big fish in any game, especially when they start losing. .
Many times. But it turns out that there is much more to poker than just the skill of how to play your hands. For instance, how strong is your understanding that probability theory can be very counter-intuitive to many people, poker is a game based on probability theory, and this idea isn't that related to skill.

Quote:
Let's flip your personal experiment around and apply it to Mason. Mason has been writing about poker for years. We are all grateful for the work of two plus two. Perhaps due to the success of two plus two, He seems to believe he knows EVERYTHING about poker and will remind anyone that any new discovery in poker was already written by him 30 years ago. If Mason knows everything, and knowledge is all that matters in poker, How come Mason's not playing in any high roller tournies? What's his highest tourney finish or biggest annual cash earnings? Could it be possible that Mason has (GASP) Mental leaks that prevent him from being a winning player?
Actually, I think it's fair to say that I'm one of the most successful people in the whole poker industry. There's much more to poker than just playing in tournaments.

Quote:
The idea that there is NOTHING to be gained from Jared or any outside resources that do not relate to math or statistics is just sheer pig-headedness. It's a life leak that undoubtedly will leak into your poker game.
From the "Conclusion" of my book Real Poker Psychology:

On a different tact, I want to take a moment and reexamine the idea of much of this poker psychology stuff. Is it really as bad as this book indicates? Or is my attitude too negative? I think the answer goes something like this.

Poker psychology, as presented in much of the recent material that has made its way to market, probably has a little value. It certainly won’t hurt to be a little more confident, to pay attention to a higher degree, to have a good diet, or to even get a good night’s sleep. But if it means that you as a poker player latch on to this stuff and neglect to do those things that can improve your understanding of all things poker, and this includes the strategic concepts that govern sound play, then it really is quite detrimental to your long term results.

Put another way, as long as this recent poker psychology material doesn’t hurt you, if you’re someone who plays live, in my opinion, it might be worth as much as one-tenth of a bet an hour. But if it causes you to neglect those areas of poker where you need to improve, then its negative effect will lower your potential future win rate by much more than one-tenth of a bet per hour. And if it encourages you to participate in games where your expectation is negative, then it’s beyond bad.


So you can see that I believe that most of this stuff has a little bit of value. But nothing I would pay the type of prices that some of these poker mental coaches are charging.

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Self-awareness, emotional intelligence, tilt management, spotting tells, personality profiling, are all huge ways to gain an edge over your opponents. Yet, if you're only good at solving math problems of course your going to scoff (and be envious) at others who possess these skills.
Okay. Now it sounds like you're ready to go on tilt. You may want to read (and study) the chapter "A Mathematical Model of Tilt -- Cause and Cure" that's in my book

Mason
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:08 AM   #115
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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By your metric people like Dwan should be writing all of the books which would be good bec I'd like to read his book once he gets released from the Triad dungeon that some ppl on here think he's in.
Hi Howard:

I just want to address this one point, and I don't know Dwan and have no idea if what I'm about to say applies to him. But it's my experience that when you talk to some (but not all) of the top players at the highest stakes, they can't really explain very well exactly how they play. This alone would be an interesting topic relating psychology with poker.

Best wishes,
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:38 AM   #116
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Yes, it would. Now it's your job to round them up and get them in here.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:52 AM   #117
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
It doesn't take any psychological expertise to tell people to study the fundamentals.
Do there exist some people who require some sort of psychological or life coaching before they have the capacity to study the fundamentals at a deeper level than they currently do?

I haven't read Tendler's book, but I suspect it may have value to people who have the capacity to "trick" themselves, such as people who can affect how much they eat by using smaller plates.

Also, it's tack, not tact.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:42 AM   #118
Jared Tendler
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Actually, this answer isn't that bad. It seems like you're using the term "unconcious competence" to describe what I would call knowing the fundamentals cold. That's what I've been claiming is necessary to do but you're trying to descibe it as psychology rather than study to the point where the knowledge is second nature.

Let's look at blackjack. Knowing basic strategy cold allows you to play most of your hands correctly. It's only in certain situations that you need to remember when to deviate, according to the count, that you even contemplate whether the count should make you deviate from basic strategy. Therefore, you don't think about the index numbers on every decision. You would call this unconcious competence, but I would call it learning the stuff so that the right play is second nature.

Now let's come back to the term you use, "unconcious competence." It seems like you're simply using a fancy psychological term to describe what happens to people when they study and practice the fundamentals well enough that they have it down cold, which again is what I've been recommending all along. It doesn't take any psychological expertise to tell people to study the fundamentals.

Stated another way. What you're doing is trying to take obvious and standard poker advice, namely to study the fundamentals to the point where it becomes second nature, and trying to claim that such advice is something that only a psychologist can give.

Mason
Glad we agree about the concept. I'm not married to language, it's the intent of the idea that matters most to me. The term Unconscious Competence comes from a theory, that I didn't invent, called the "Adult Learning Model". I chose to include it the book because the concept helps to explain to players the amount of learning that's required to train the corrections to mental flaws, including their understanding of variance. It's not a psychological concept, but it does apply to the process of correcting psychological issues. Something that many people don't think about, including therapists. That's why I called it the most important concept in my book. Correcting mental and emotional problems at their core requires learning, and understanding the need to train the corrections to the level of Unconscious Competence is massive.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:22 PM   #119
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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...
This might be true if poker players had to make all their decisions in one or two seconds, but that's not the case.
...
Maybe I am not a good poker player according to Mason's definition, but I think Jared's book (the first one) has helped me to understand things like tilt better. I agree that it is possibly better to spend time on poker theory first (which I did / do) but this book is a great addition to help you improve other areas than poker theory. Especially players new to the game will inevitably tilt. There is also other forms of tilt I haven't heard of before I read this book, like winners tilt. Or the psychological reasons behind why we act different when angry (tilted). Especially in games where the players are very close skill wise, these things can make a difference in my opinion.

It definitely deserves a place on my bookshelf. And from a multi tabling online players perspective you have to make most decisions in 1-2 seconds, so that may online hold true for live players.

Of course I do not believe that imagining deuces on the river will be any helpful. LOL.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:43 PM   #120
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Except that the way to solve most of these mental leaks is to improve your understanding of all things poker. See my book for more discussion and it's not really that hard to get.



Many times. But it turns out that there is much more to poker than just the skill of how to play your hands. For instance, how strong is your understanding that probability theory can be very counter-intuitive to many people, poker is a game based on probability theory, and this idea isn't that related to skill.



Actually, I think it's fair to say that I'm one of the most successful people in the whole poker industry. There's much more to poker than just playing in tournaments.



From the "Conclusion" of my book Real Poker Psychology:

On a different tact, I want to take a moment and reexamine the idea of much of this poker psychology stuff. Is it really as bad as this book indicates? Or is my attitude too negative? I think the answer goes something like this.

Poker psychology, as presented in much of the recent material that has made its way to market, probably has a little value. It certainly won’t hurt to be a little more confident, to pay attention to a higher degree, to have a good diet, or to even get a good night’s sleep. But if it means that you as a poker player latch on to this stuff and neglect to do those things that can improve your understanding of all things poker, and this includes the strategic concepts that govern sound play, then it really is quite detrimental to your long term results.

Put another way, as long as this recent poker psychology material doesn’t hurt you, if you’re someone who plays live, in my opinion, it might be worth as much as one-tenth of a bet an hour. But if it causes you to neglect those areas of poker where you need to improve, then its negative effect will lower your potential future win rate by much more than one-tenth of a bet per hour. And if it encourages you to participate in games where your expectation is negative, then it’s beyond bad.


So you can see that I believe that most of this stuff has a little bit of value. But nothing I would pay the type of prices that some of these poker mental coaches are charging.



Okay. Now it sounds like you're ready to go on tilt. You may want to read (and study) the chapter "A Mathematical Model of Tilt -- Cause and Cure" that's in my book

Mason
Mason,

I love you! You are very intelligent, but not everything in life can be explained by math and probability theory. You mentioned yourself, the best players can't describe what they are doing. This is because they are going by "feel" and intuition. It's a completely different skill set that relies on different areas of the brain.

You mentioned you are one of the most successful people in poker. I agree. But is it from actually playing poker or selling books about poker? These are two different skill sets. DUCY?

Recommending that the most +EV solution for a player is to ignore the emotional/psychological aspects of poker is just as bad as telling a guy that the best way to sleep with a woman is to ignore everything she says out of her mouth.

Try relating to a beautiful woman using mathematics. She'll have turned your back on you before you could finish saying "regression to the m---..."

At least if you strike out you won't blame it on run bad. It will be a failure to understand "all things women"
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:57 PM   #121
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Perhaps you misunderstand me or have not read all of my posts in this forum. Jared does not have to say that the mental game trumps strat I say it myself and I also don't dismiss his work as worthless bec, for all I know, it's a great help to the players he coaches. I just think that Mason's approach is the better one. To family/friends that want to know what poker's all about I say this: 'The proper way to play is available to everyone through books, vids/training sites, or on 2p2 (and I tell them what that is). But the REALLY tough part is doing what you're 'supposed' to do.' If I had the capacity I'd try to organize group therapy for players w/ mental game issues. I could make a fortune!

I'll let Mason speak for himself but I'll comment this much: Most pros don't play the super high rollers. The winning pros that I know, the ones that make a living, don't play very high stakes and they don't have to to give good advice. By your metric people like Dwan should be writing all of the books which would be good bec I'd like to read his book once he gets released from the Triad dungeon that some ppl on here think he's in.

I'd also suggest reading Mason's psych book. Except for trying to pound a true understanding of variance/fluctuations into player's heads it's not very math based.
I would love to read Mason's book; it's almost as if he is trying to talk me out of it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems the major thesis of his book is that "most player's wouldn't tilt if they just had a better understanding of variance"

To me, there is far more to psychology and poker then understanding variance.

Does he discuss being able to spot a good table based off of player profiling the line-up? This skill set in game selection could be worth far more than any strategy book you ever find.

Does he discuss the VERY VERY real phenomenon of spotting tells. Nonverbal signs of weakness that player's do before they make a weak continuation bet or signs of fear and submission when they are weak and they are waiting for you to act? Oh he doesn't know about these? Well sh*t, maybe he has room to learn something new.

Does he write about picking up cues about which opponents are feeling hostile? Which one's are feeling meak and timid? You know, aspects of game flow where a player's mood can make a certain opponent more likely to call or raise you light compared to other opponents more likely to fold.

If you ask me, all of these are aspects of "real poker psychology", yet Mason scoffs at this because he doesn't know much about it.

Jared doesn't specialize on these particular topics either. But you don't see him criticizing other people's work and ideas.

And no I'm not Jared. I'm an unbiased observer. I can honestly say the guy really doesn't deserve the public ridicule. I personally wouldn't pay $50 an hour (maybe it's more, if so, good for him) for mental game lessons. But I purchased both of his books and can say it is absolutely top-notch material and completely applicable to not only poker, but any competitive aspect of life.
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:36 PM   #122
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Jared Tendler View Post
Regarding "Unconscious Competence", I think the reason you're having trouble with the concept is because you're assuming that I'm suggesting all decisions should be automated. I'm suggesting to automate or master the information used to make a decision. Dramatic example, imagine if each time you made a decision you had to think about hand rankings. There is only so much space in the mind to consider details of each hand, and if the brain didn't have the ability to automate knowledge our decision making capacity would be severely limited. You can't think about high level GTO strategy if you can't learn skills/knowledge about the game to the level of Unconscious Competence.

Unconscious Competence frees up mental space so you can learn and apply new concepts and that extends to the mental game as well. That's why its the holy grail of learning, because it allows you to accelerate learning. If you fail to train basic knowledge to that level, there is too much to consider when your faced with a decision, and your decisions are measurably worse as a result.

Yes, this does help make players capable of making higher quality fast decisions. It's how mass-multitable online grinders are able to make 1000's of decisions per hour. I've heard these types of clients talk about how 90-95% of their decisions are automated - Unconscious Competence - and the rest of their decisions require thinking, and use information/knowledge that is at the level of Conscious Competence. But once these decisions reach Unconscious Competence, the is room in their mind to allow new information/knowledge into the Conscious Competence, thus allow their decision making to evolve.
The main issue I have with this explanation is that Daniel Kahneman and Amon Tversky spent 40 years explaining that decisions made unconsciously might help us to negotiate the simple decisions in life (folding 72o UTG as an extreme example); however, humans erroneously tend to rely on the same heuristics when confronted with more complicate problems, and it leads to mistakes.

Take driving for example. Most of us can do this using “unconscious competence”. I’m sure all experienced drivers have had that feeling where all of a sudden you are 10 miles further down the road, and you were so engrossed on other thoughts you don’t remember how you get there.

However, this does not mean that when drivers fall into using unconscious competence, that they are driving better than people who are paying more attention to their surroundings: what the driver 3 cars in front is doing; how fast the guy is travelling who is coming up fast in our mirrors; whether the guy who has been chatting all night has looked at his cards and gone quiet…. You get the picture.

It’s also worth pointing out that 90% of drivers are so good at driving, they believe they are better than average. It seems a chronic lack of self-awareness is not just limited to poker players.

So, getting back to poker, yes, you can make a certain amount of decisions unconsciously. Memorising starting hands, probability of hitting a flush draw and even some more advanced concepts. However, just because these decisions are made unconsciously, it does not mean they are always correct. As Kahneman and Tversky proved, when faced with more complicated decisions, even under lab conditions people (often of above average intelligence) make the same mistakes time and time again when relying on heuristics that provide them with the intuitive answer, but not the correct one.

I think it’s therefore wrong to state “Unconscious Competence is the Holy Grail of learning”. While it may help with some trivial concepts, it is no substitute for deliberate critical thinking that I believe is the real difference between the merely good and great players.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:18 PM   #123
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by mark "twang" View Post
Mason,

I love you! You are very intelligent, but not everything in life can be explained by math and probability theory. You mentioned yourself, the best players can't describe what they are doing. This is because they are going by "feel" and intuition. It's a completely different skill set that relies on different areas of the brain.
I've never claimed that everything can be explained by math and probability theory. Your writing this seems to imply that you think I must have made statements like this and I'm curious where you think this came from, or are you just making this statement to support your argument.

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You mentioned you are one of the most successful people in poker. I agree. But is it from actually playing poker or selling books about poker? These are two different skill sets. DUCY?
I've stated on many occasions that the main source of my income has been the success of 2+2. But let me assure you that if my knowledge of all things poker wasn't strong, and far stronger than you probably realize, there would be no 2+2. Also, 2+2, especially at the peak of the poker boom took up a lot of time. For instance, there were many late nights in our office where I was helping our book packer pack books for the huge orders we were receiving, and this took away from my time to play poker (as well as many other things related to our companies).

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Recommending that the most +EV solution for a player is to ignore the emotional/psychological aspects of poker is just as bad as telling a guy that the best way to sleep with a woman is to ignore everything she says out of her mouth.
I never said anything like this.

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Try relating to a beautiful woman using mathematics. She'll have turned your back on you before you could finish saying "regression to the m---..."

At least if you strike out you won't blame it on run bad. It will be a failure to understand "all things women"
This paragraph is beyond silly.

Mason
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:40 PM   #124
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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I would love to read Mason's book; it's almost as if he is trying to talk me out of it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems the major thesis of his book is that "most player's wouldn't tilt if they just had a better understanding of variance"
There's a lot more in the book than just my discussion of tilt. Also, I think I show fairly conclusively that tilt is mainly a processing problem where information that gets presented to the player in question causes the tilt becaus his brain has difficulty processing it, and variance is just part of the issue.

In addition, I address two other categories in addition to tilt that players can go into. They are "pseudo tilt," which is something completely different from tilt and could also be called "expectation bias," and "searching." I've yet to see anything from any of these poker mental coaches that comes close to discussing these two classifications that weak mental players will sometimes find themselves in (even though Tendler, with his seven kinds of tilt, is sometimes describing pseudo tilt [and not tilt] but doesn't know it). (There's also a fourth classification, "Apathy," which is actually a form of searching, and you'll see it often at the poker tables.)

You also need to understand that Real Poker Psychology is 259 pages. If it was as you describe, 10 to 20 pages would be about right.

Quote:
To me, there is far more to psychology and poker then understanding variance.

Does he discuss being able to spot a good table based off of player profiling the line-up? This skill set in game selection could be worth far more than any strategy book you ever find.
In "Part Two: How's Your Poker Game" one of the chapters is titled "Evaluating Yourself and Your Opponents" and another is titled "Selecting the Best Game."

Quote:
Does he discuss the VERY VERY real phenomenon of spotting tells. Nonverbal signs of weakness that player's do before they make a weak continuation bet or signs of fear and submission when they are weak and they are waiting for you to act? Oh he doesn't know about these? Well sh*t, maybe he has room to learn something new.
The fifth major section of the book is titled "Part Five: Tells."

Quote:
Does he write about picking up cues about which opponents are feeling hostile? Which one's are feeling meak and timid? You know, aspects of game flow where a player's mood can make a certain opponent more likely to call or raise you light compared to other opponents more likely to fold.
In "Part Three: Image" one of the chapters is titled "Weak Tight Opponents" anf going back to "Part Two" one of the chapters is titled "The Maniac" where I've written some stuff I've never seen published anywhere else.

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If you ask me, all of these are aspects of "real poker psychology", yet Mason scoffs at this because he doesn't know much about it.
Actually, I think I know a lot about it. In fact, I'm sure my knowledge in this area is far better than yours. But if you were to read Real Poker Psychology it would probably help you catch up.

Quote:
Jared doesn't specialize on these particular topics either. But you don't see him criticizing other people's work and ideas.
But he claims to be a sports psychologist and shouldn't have any knowledge on these topics. And relative to criticizing other people, keep in mind that I'm not one of these mental coaches who charges large fees for advice which I think has little value. At 2+2, it has always been our policy to steer our readers/posters towards those products which we think are good whether they're our product or not and away from those things that we feel are questionable.

Quote:
And no I'm not Jared. I'm an unbiased observer. I can honestly say the guy really doesn't deserve the public ridicule. I personally wouldn't pay $50 an hour (maybe it's more, if so, good for him) for mental game lessons. But I purchased both of his books and can say it is absolutely top-notch material and completely applicable to not only poker, but any competitive aspect of life.
If you were an unbiased observer you wouldn't be making inaccurate statements about me and what's in my book. Don't you think a retraction is due.

MM
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:14 AM   #125
Howard Beale
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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I would love to read Mason's book; it's almost as if he is trying to talk me out of it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems the major thesis of his book is that "most player's wouldn't tilt if they just had a better understanding of variance".
Not just a better understanding of variance, he's repeatedly used his phrase 'All things poker.'

I have bought a very great many poker books in the hope of coming across a SINGLE concept that I hadn't considered. We all put significant amounts of money in action. What's the big deal to spend a little money on a psych book from a long time poker player/author? I bought it out of curiosity and thought it mostly good so I recommend it.

Hopefully you've noticed that I don't ridicule Jared.
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