I wish I read it 8 years ago. Copies have been flying off the virtual shelves like hot cakes ever since. This is no psychobabble, this is no man sitting on a leather couch in an ivory tower spewing transcendental waves. Tendler provides real steps and real answers for poker players involved in the day to day struggle who are too often beating themselves. Having used it twice so far, I can attest to the fact that it is the perfect blend of psychological theory and practical application.
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Serious poker players chart their performance over literally hundreds of thousands of hands, and know that a winning, professional-level player can still experience weeks or months of downswings. The first thing you should know about The As every poker player knows, poker is a game where you can play perfectly and still lose.
The first thing you should know about The Mental Game of Poker is that its intended audience is professional players, or would-be professionals.
Not recreational players, not the guy who goes to a casino now and then to gamble. The casual player may still learn a thing or two, but Jared Tendler is addressing players who are actually trying to make a living at poker and who are going to be at the tables for many, many hours. This book addresses variance, but mostly as a factor in causing "tilt.
Tilt happens to every player. There is a lot of talk about rationality, and how a perfect player will always make the correct, by-the-odds and by your read on other players decision, but also about how no one is a perfect player. Even professional players are humans who get frustrated and aggravated and depressed.
Are his strategies for managing tilt useful? I can say that I suffer from tilt just like anyone else, and I suffer from tilt in every game I play, not just poker. So learning to control my reactions would be very helpful. But as I said, this book is mostly about long-term management while playing poker seriously and professionally.
There is nothing in the way of poker strategy here - this is all about your mental state. But it is very dry and the audiobook, read by the author, is flat and monotonous. The lessons are short and mostly rather obvious, but there are still some good observations.
It has truly established itself as a new must-read for all poker players. Rather than helping players learn how to play the cards or their opponents, Tendler focuses on internal strategies for becoming better at learning, managing emotions, and understanding motivation. The story behind this book project begins when Tendler was better known in the professional golfing community. His Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology combined with his background as a successful amateur golfer and aspiring pro gave him a unique set of skills that he used to coach players on their "mental game.
There was a significant advantage to be found by players who trained like an athlete. Physical fitness, mental preparation, and a deeper understanding of the subtleties of the game were all edges that could be found over the competitive field of players to find success. Golf has often been related to poker as a comparable game. These were important turning points for both games. The need to find small edges in golf by becoming health-conscious and training in the mental game has a parallel in poker where many players have become aware of the need to be physically fit, eating healthy, and mentally powerful in order to succeed in the highly competitive poker scene.
After coaching over poker players and great involvement in the poker community through articles, videos, and forums, Jared Tendler joined forces with Barry Carter, poker player and journalist, to write The Mental Game of Poker.
The book is divided into chapters discussing learning models, emotion, coping strategies, tilt, fear, motivation, and confidence. He divides tilt into seven types: running bad tilt, injustice tilt, hate-losing tilt, mistake tilt, entitlement tilt, revenge tilt, and desperation tilt.
Every reader will find more or less of themselves in each of the different varieties, but there is certainly one or more that you will find will sound exactly like you.
He explains the causes of each tilt, how to manage it, and even how to use it to become a better player. The clear and conversational tone of the book makes it really easy reading, but you will also find many instances where you will stop reading and say to yourself "wow, that makes so much sense!
I also have a new perspective on my opponents and have a better understanding of why I need to respect the fishy players fishier than me, I mean and make them feel welcome at the table.
The mental-game skills Tendler shares in this book will definitely help you become a more well-rounded player with a deeper understanding of how to beat the game. The great news is that developing your mental game can give you a significant edge over most poker players. If you want an edge on those players, this is a way to find one.
Read this book. Grab a pen and a highlighter, make notes, and engage with the material. Then read it again, and again, and again. Like Tendler reminds us throughout the book, you will not master the mental game by reading The Mental Game of Poker. This book just gives you the tools necessary to do the hard work yourself.
Explains how nonsense behaviour we often adopt in a situations that are completely natural and predictable due to our short term thinking.
“Jared’s insights and input has been invaluable.”
The Mental Game of Poker