Two Plus Two Publishing LLC Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
 

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > >

Psychology Discussions of psychology as applied to poker and other gambling games.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-11-2021, 02:39 AM   #1
Mr.Jones
grinder
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 416
What's your pregame routine?

I've been putting extra effort into this the last 2 months and feel it has been paying off.

When I have about 20 mins to go on my drive to the casino, I turn off the radio and do deep breathing exercises, and go through a check list in my mind of various rules / say them out loud.

Basic stuff, ie) "play solid" "value bet" "will a worse hand call, will a better hand fold" and 10 or so other things tailored specifically to me.

It helps keep my mind present, and not think about anything else going on in life.

I have a cheat sheet list as well saved in my phone. Various short rules. If I lose a big pot, or feeling a little off in the session I'll force myself to leave the table, find some place quiet, and read the list and reset.

When I first arrive, 1/2 the time I'll even sit in the car in the parking garage for another 10 mins before heading in, just to do the breath work, and repeat the mantras. Eventually feeling very zen and focused.

Another thing that has been HUGE for me, is making sure I have a light meal an hour before I play.

What's your pregame routine?
Mr.Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2021, 01:27 PM   #2
JayKon
veteran
 
JayKon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 3,247
Re: What's your pregame routine?

There are going to be some universal things, mostly having to do with having a clear head, that one needs to do to be sharp. Being fed is defiantly a biggie, being stress-free and well-rested are also biggies. How one goes about that, beyond the obvious, is ultimately rather personal. I like doing something pleasurable that is ultimately rather meditative.

I am aware that Mason and I seem to disagree on the importance of preparing oneself mentally for a poker session. However, we're disagreeing on some of the finer points. Where we agree, rather strongly, is that Poker is a knowledge-based game, not a mental-state game.

The reason I'm going down this path is your statement:

Quote:
Basic stuff, ie) "play solid" "value bet" "will a worse hand call, will a better hand fold" and 10 or so other things tailored specifically to me.
This implies to me that while you've been told and believe these things, but you don't really "know" them, at least not at a deep level. If you did, these things would be semi-automatic. In short, you don't know the game as well as you think you do and need to study more. Of course, the way the game keeps evolving, that's pretty much true for everyone, just at different levels.

The solution is knowledge and experience in how to respond to situations that arise in a game. For example, when to fold to a donk bet, or call and when to raise. The knowledge part is knowing how to range the donk's hand compared to your own. The mental part is being clear-headed enough to process whatever subtilities are involved at the moment. The experience part gives you the confidence to choose what you believe is the best option.

When you combine knowledge of the game with knowing you were thinking clearly, you can evaluate the play you chose, study it and gain a deep level of understanding of what happened. Which will negate any need for you to remind yourself of what the "right" action should be.
JayKon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2021, 02:21 PM   #3
Mr.Jones
grinder
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 416
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayKon View Post
This implies to me that while you've been told and believe these things, but you don't really "know"
I suffer from a certain mood disorder, where I have to work very hard not to flip my shyt and turn into a monster. This applies to real life, not just poker. Being that I have this, poker is frankly a TERRIBLE hobby to have. However I'm able to help tame the beast by doing some of my routine.

In life and in poker there are things that I internally know to be right and wrong. An extreme example is "thou shall not kill" So yes I "know" these various poker truths. They are interanlized. When my disorder kicks in all logic is gone (away from the table as well) so it helps for me to repeat these poker right and wrongs.

If I was a normal person, yes I could see how your assumption is correct.

Last edited by Mr.Jones; 07-11-2021 at 02:30 PM.
Mr.Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2021, 03:19 PM   #4
JayKon
veteran
 
JayKon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 3,247
Re: What's your pregame routine?

In which case I would suggest exploring one of the Buddhism philosophies that incorporate meditation with physical activity. Zen, Tai Chi, etc.

If you are under a doctor's care, which is advisable, consult with them first.

The idea is that you develop a mantra from your pre-game that you can perform in-game to help you regain your focus.

I wish you well, as that is a demon that is hard to tame. That said, I think poker is a great hobby to have. It is a very concrete way to view your demon and make it serve you, as opposed to you serving it.

Good luck,
Jay
JayKon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2021, 05:33 PM   #5
Mason Malmuth
Former Top Dog
 
Mason Malmuth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: @MasonMalmuth
Posts: 12,212
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Jones View Post
I've been putting extra effort into this the last 2 months and feel it has been paying off.

When I have about 20 mins to go on my drive to the casino, I turn off the radio and do deep breathing exercises, and go through a check list in my mind of various rules / say them out loud.

Basic stuff, ie) "play solid" "value bet" "will a worse hand call, will a better hand fold" and 10 or so other things tailored specifically to me.

It helps keep my mind present, and not think about anything else going on in life.

I have a cheat sheet list as well saved in my phone. Various short rules. If I lose a big pot, or feeling a little off in the session I'll force myself to leave the table, find some place quiet, and read the list and reset.

When I first arrive, 1/2 the time I'll even sit in the car in the parking garage for another 10 mins before heading in, just to do the breath work, and repeat the mantras. Eventually feeling very zen and focused.

Another thing that has been HUGE for me, is making sure I have a light meal an hour before I play.

What's your pregame routine?
Hi Mr. Jones:

The first question that I would ask you is "Are you an expert player?" If the answer is yes, then take all the deep breaths you want. They certainly won't hurt you.

But if you're someone struggling to win in the games that you're playing or feel that some of your opponents do much better than you do, working on improving your game strategically and also improving your understanding of all things poker has to be much better for your long-term results. For instance, instead of taking the deep breaths, think about some interesting hands you either played or saw and what alternate strategies might do for you.

Also, this "present" stuff, which comes from Su's book, is complete garbage.

Best wishes,
Mason

And one last thing.
Mason Malmuth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2021, 09:15 PM   #6
Mr.Jones
grinder
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 416
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Mr. Jones:

The first question that I would ask you is "Are you an expert player?" If the answer is yes, then take all the deep breaths you want. They certainly won't hurt you.

But if you're someone struggling to win in the games that you're playing or feel that some of your opponents do much better than you do, working on improving your game strategically and also improving your understanding of all things poker has to be much better for your long-term results. For instance, instead of taking the deep breaths, think about some interesting hands you either played or saw and what alternate strategies might do for you.

Also, this "present" stuff, which comes from Su's book, is complete garbage.

Best wishes,
Mason

And one last thing.
See I disagree. For you, the presence stuff might be garbage. For someone who struggles with emotional control, it has literally saved my life. To answer your question I primarily play live 1-2 / 1-3 and in my player pool I crush. Now I'm in a niche area in the midwest, but I'm peer regarded as one of the top players at those stakes.

When I take shots at 2-5 player pool I'm not in the top, but believe that's more because it's a match the big stack game, and plays VERY deep. I'm still working on not letting the large dollar amounts effect my fundamental decision making.

Again for me personally, I 100% would benefit (and have benefited) more by having complete emotional control, as opposed to having all the technical skills of a Phil Ivey.

I've gone months where I take an hour a day studying poker via books / training sites / going over live hand histories vs. taking that same hour a day and putting it into my mental health issues, and for *me* the mental work has improved my poker game more.

This is what has helped me, I respect other peoples views, but also understand that not everyone is built the same.

Some people can walk into a social event and have a great time, talking to anyone. Others, can't stop thinking about how they have to get the F out of there, because they feel an immense amount of pressure and terror.

IMO you can know all the plays, and math, and reads, and situational awareness, and game flow and be a GOD. But if you can't keep your cool and apply those things, then the knowledge means nothing.

Now obviously if you are a player who is able to keep their cool and doesn't suffer from emotional dis regulation issues, then yes I would agree soak up all the technical poker knowledge you can, that will in fact have a stronger impact on your game.

*On a side note, I've played poker on and off since the boom, but I've never been a consistent winner until last year. Primarily because of my tilt issues. Something would happen that would upset me, and I'd proceed to donk away my stack.

Since I started working with a therapist, as well as reading various mental health books, my poker game has completely transformed. I still have areas to improve on in poker, and mental health, but I'm a winning player now.

Last edited by Mr.Jones; 07-11-2021 at 09:34 PM.
Mr.Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2021, 09:51 PM   #7
Mason Malmuth
Former Top Dog
 
Mason Malmuth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: @MasonMalmuth
Posts: 12,212
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Jones View Post
See I disagree. For you, the presence stuff might be garbage. For someone who struggles with emotional control, it has literally saved my life. To answer your question I primarily play live 1-2 / 1-3 and in my player pool I crush. Now I'm in a niche area in the midwest, but I'm peer regarded as one of the top players at those stakes.
Except that the Presence book by Su needs many more examples. However, towards the end of the book, Su finally gives three examples of hands where he was in the "presence." The problem with his examples is that expert players would play the hands at least as well as he did and probably better.

Best wishes,
Mason
Mason Malmuth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2021, 12:11 AM   #8
Mr.Jones
grinder
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 416
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Except that the Presence book by Su needs many more examples. However, towards the end of the book, Su finally gives three examples of hands where he was in the "presence." The problem with his examples is that expert players would play the hands at least as well as he did and probably better.

Best wishes,
Mason
My mistake, I misread what you said. I haven't read that poker book so can't speak on it. When I read "presence" I equated that to mindfulness, which has in fact helped me.
Mr.Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2021, 05:48 AM   #9
Ronny Mahoni
Pooh-Bah
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Rizzle Kicking
Posts: 4,443
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayKon View Post
Where we agree, rather strongly, is that Poker is a knowledge-based game, not a mental-state game.
I heavily disagree and consider myself to be a prime example.

I never were a full-time pro but semi-pro for years. Most of my 4k+ posts were talking strategy in STTF. My postings have been so impressive that I was offered a coaching deal aswell as a staking deal, both from highly succesfull players. Neither had checked my results, they just knew I had to be great based on my postings. My backer/coach just couldnt comprehend how I had a better theoretical knowledge than his high-stake players but was only getting mediocre results at low-mid stakes.

I know why. Because my mental game sucks. For example, I payed a heavy tax to "wanting to know" despite knowing and confirming time and time again that I could read my opponents extremly well. I would just always level myself into a bad call/bet somehow...

To me thats a clear mental problem. I know the theory, I get the ranges right, still end up doing costly missplays, despite fully aware its a missplay. :

Sorry, thats kinda a derail I guess.

But I wholeheartly agree with your and Masons replies here. Having a clear head is of utmost importance. There is so much to know in poker that the general theory should be internalized as best as possible.

To me, who played longer sessions of SNGs without pause, it was always important to manage drinking/peeing so as to not having to play with a full bladder. And to do some kind of excerising/fitness/stretching to be fit and not get any kind of back-issues while being in the grind.

Basically my pre-game routine was mostly focused on letting me sit and play for 4 hours straight without any annoyances and fully focus on the game.
Ronny Mahoni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2021, 09:42 PM   #10
JayKon
veteran
 
JayKon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 3,247
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronny Mahoni View Post
I heavily disagree and consider myself to be a prime example.

I never were a full-time pro but semi-pro for years. Most of my 4k+ posts were talking strategy in STTF. My postings have been so impressive that I was offered a coaching deal aswell as a staking deal, both from highly succesfull players. Neither had checked my results, they just knew I had to be great based on my postings. My backer/coach just couldnt comprehend how I had a better theoretical knowledge than his high-stake players but was only getting mediocre results at low-mid stakes.

I know why. Because my mental game sucks. For example, I payed a heavy tax to "wanting to know" despite knowing and confirming time and time again that I could read my opponents extremly well. I would just always level myself into a bad call/bet somehow...

To me thats a clear mental problem. I know the theory, I get the ranges right, still end up doing costly missplays, despite fully aware its a missplay. :

Sorry, thats kinda a derail I guess.

But I wholeheartly agree with your and Masons replies here. Having a clear head is of utmost importance. There is so much to know in poker that the general theory should be internalized as best as possible.

To me, who played longer sessions of SNGs without pause, it was always important to manage drinking/peeing so as to not having to play with a full bladder. And to do some kind of excerising/fitness/stretching to be fit and not get any kind of back-issues while being in the grind.

Basically my pre-game routine was mostly focused on letting me sit and play for 4 hours straight without any annoyances and fully focus on the game.
First of all, this is in no way a derail. I think it's a valuable addition to the topic. Thank you.

Remember that psychology class from High School, or College? The one where they said people react to any threat that is either real, or imagined? Well, it's not just threats that can be real, or imagined - it can be anything, including something calming and relaxing - like the pleasurable activity of your pregame routine.

So, in-game, when you feel the need, take a breath and imagine yourself in that routine. I should note that this takes practice and that the routine is actually a routine and is enjoyed, not something you've only done a few times.

Well, to be honest, this hasn't proved to be 100% for me. But it has proved to be 90%+.

I'll also add that without the necessary game knowledge, this is useless. So, game knowledge is still the vast majority of what we all need.
JayKon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2021, 08:51 AM   #11
Ronny Mahoni
Pooh-Bah
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Rizzle Kicking
Posts: 4,443
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayKon View Post
So, in-game, when you feel the need, take a breath and imagine yourself in that routine. I should note that this takes practice and that the routine is actually a routine and is enjoyed, not something you've only done a few times.

Well, to be honest, this hasn't proved to be 100% for me. But it has proved to be 90%+.
Im reminded of the "Eightfold path to poker enlightment". Where... dont remember his name... recommended a player to fold AA preflop a few times to get in the habit of folding the best hand. Because you will fold the better hand often, when you play perfect.

I did that, but never turned it into a routine.

Im curious, how would you rate using a bad habit to help getting a good routine? Like: "Every time I fold a strong hand, Im allowed to eat a piece candy". The idea would be that there is "positive" feedback, but with the drawback of potentialy developing bad habits in other areas of life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayKon View Post
I'll also add that without the necessary game knowledge, this is useless. So, game knowledge is still the vast majority of what we all need.
If you put it like that, I cant but agree. Yet, I feel that if you were to plot a graph it would change from 100% knowledge in the beginning to 100% mental game in the end (where as the end is never reached, so you can always improve on game theory).
Ronny Mahoni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2021, 12:14 PM   #12
JayKon
veteran
 
JayKon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 3,247
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronny Mahoni View Post
Im reminded of the "Eightfold path to poker enlightment". Where... dont remember his name... recommended a player to fold AA preflop a few times to get in the habit of folding the best hand. Because you will fold the better hand often, when you play perfect.

I did that, but never turned it into a routine.

Im curious, how would you rate using a bad habit to help getting a good routine? Like: "Every time I fold a strong hand, Im allowed to eat a piece candy". The idea would be that there is "positive" feedback, but with the drawback of potentialy developing bad habits in other areas of life.
Um, No. However, I think I understand where this is coming from and I've heard of some neuroscience that would support it (pathways in the brain rearrange themselves as we learn something). I think we call that sort of thing "getting used to it".

What I have done, which is tangential to the topic, is to force myself to raise someone I think is bluffing when I'm sure I have a worse hand - even given that it was terrifying the first time I did it. The idea being to get used to it.

That said, I firmly believe any reinforcement of something you believe to be a bad habit is a really, really bad idea. The road to Hell and all that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronny Mahoni View Post
If you put it like that, I cant but agree. Yet, I feel that if you were to plot a graph it would change from 100% knowledge in the beginning to 100% mental game in the end (where as the end is never reached, so you can always improve on game theory).
You need to elaborate on this, as I don't understand your point. First, game theory has a theoretical endpoint of an optimal strategy that can no longer be improved. Second, without knowledge, judgment is impossible: if I don't already know that the fire will burn my hand, my awareness of the situation doesn't help.
JayKon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2021, 04:10 PM   #13
MetaGameOver
newbie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 39
Re: What's your pregame routine?

If you have to remind yourself to value bet, I do agree that you ha cc e problems that no amount of mental preparation will help you with. The fundamentals of poker need to be second nature. Mental preparation can help handle tilt, short term variance, unpleasant encounters with other playérs, etc, but you can't indulge in routines to remind yourself to play well. Value betting, balance, knowing your equity, etc are things that you either know or you don't.

That said, that Presence book, to me, and more new age, pseudo scientific nonsense based on simplifications of psychoanalysis with an unnecessary touch of eastern philosophy. It's never helped me, and I definitely see why Mason has no use for it (being a mathematician, I'm assuming he processes numbers and info very succinctly and objectively, which is at odds with new age mental approaches together). I don't think it's useless for everyone. Kinda like AA/NA - which to me is nothing better then a cult. I used be an addict, and I quit without any such program. The programs offered nothing more then counter productive, mind numbing rituals. But it's helped alot of people. So has Deepack Chopra (sp?) and that Presence book, which I only had to read part of to place in that category. I think it's nonsense, but I cant begrudge people the importance they claim it has for them.

Moral: to each their own. But you should never need to remind yourself to value bet. That just means your knowledge on the subject is incomplete.
MetaGameOver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2021, 12:39 PM   #14
Yeodan
veteran
 
Yeodan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Belgium, Antwerp
Posts: 3,050
Re: What's your pregame routine?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHr9ouaE5zE
Yeodan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2021, 09:35 AM   #15
BobbyPeru
adept
 
BobbyPeru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1,120
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by qweqwe123 View Post
Bang 4 ladyboys in their bums. cum in the hottest one rawdog no condom.

= Profit

Barry greenstein talks about this in ace on the river. maybe not banging trannies but making sure your sexually your not frustrated.
I seen a poker vlogger has recently used the same routine. They/their results have improved dramatically.
BobbyPeru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2021, 12:59 PM   #16
JayKon
veteran
 
JayKon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 3,247
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Are you suggesting that the rush of winning with a bad play is sexually satisfying and that if you're not recently satisfied, you'll do it at the table?

If true, it sounds like that person has some personal issues.
JayKon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2021, 03:56 PM   #17
DumbosTrunk
Pooh-Bah
 
DumbosTrunk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 4,231
Re: What's your pregame routine?

Sexual release (with someone or by yourself) is moreso about being relaxed and not distracted. One of my poker buddies has joked that he wanks off once every hour. That's extreme of course, but I'd rather not play a session horned up/on edge. It's something that will divert your attention from playing well, like anything else. I think of this like any other need - e.g., using the restroom.

I personally like a light workout, a light meal, and music I enjoy.
DumbosTrunk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2021, 12:12 PM   #18
JayKon
veteran
 
JayKon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern, CA
Posts: 3,247
Re: What's your pregame routine?

This thread has been percolating in the back of my mind for a bit and I want to make something a bit clearer.

My purpose in doing the relaxing and pleasurable pregame routine is to have that experience fresh in my mind, so that while in the game and the crap is hitting the fan I can pause and go back to that routine in my mind without much issue.

It's an important distinction, as what happens before you sit down doesn't affect your mental state directly. However, being a recent experience allows you to more easily imagine yourself back there and it can clear your mind and allow you better focus.
JayKon is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply
      

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2008-2020, Two Plus Two Interactive