mental rigor

SixthStreetSixthStreet Red Chipper Posts: 260 ✭✭
edited March 2015 in Off Topic Chat
DR. Tricia;

I get a mental block when at the table when it is my turn a lot. I go in with strong plan on how I am going to play. Then all of a sudden I go brain dead. I need an idea for a mental trigger to make me stop and think WHY?.
I am a competitive archer which is huge mental. I have a phrase that keeps me going strong "Tall like an oak tree". it puts a strong positive image into every shot that I have to take.

So I am trying to get a phrase or one word to make me stop and take my time before I do anything. Problem I have is 4 years of free bar poker bad habits. Everyone saying hurry up, lets go blinds are going up.

open to advice


  • ArtArtBobartArtArtBobart Red Chipper Posts: 356 ✭✭
    Though I'm not the expert Dr. Tricia is, have you considered something like keeping a rubber band on your wrist that you will see every time you look at your hands? You could train yourself so that every time you see it you think "oh yeah, that's my 'slow down and think' reminder." You could even write a reminder keyword on it if it is a larger band.
  • SixthStreetSixthStreet Red Chipper Posts: 260 ✭✭
    what I did think of is a chip protector. so a big poker chip red with and edge and big white letters "WHY?" in middle. maybe even shaped like stop sign.

    just lay it on top of chips and you will need to move it before you can bet.
  • Rello242Rello242 Red Chipper Posts: 595 ✭✭
    Ok the only time i really had an issue close to this was when i was transitioning into an advance player where making +EV plays was everything to me. For me i would have had to stop and think about what i was trying to accomplish in the hand and what i think was correct and most of the time, i did more thinking than playing. I got over this after i took my work off tables and studied alot. My thing is that i studied so much until it was almost automatic what i should be doing. I noticed how this changed me because now i could almost make the correct play upon my thoughts instantly, and only thing i would need to know is how my villian range looks and once i have that down pack its like nothing.

    Key points here, this may be a sign that there is alot more for you to learn and you should chase that. When you go mental dead, take as a motivation to wanting to learn more and keep chasing that knowledge until making the best decisions you could make comes natural.

    Now like i said before thats the only time i really struggle with mental blankness, so if this really isn't your issue then forgive my long post but during my growth as a player, alot of tough decisions and alot of blank mental states was due to because of the knowledge i really lack. Im a firm believer that if all this knowledge about making correct plays is drill into you then its almost like riding a bike or driving a car. Its just really comes natural after practice, or in poker case, after study. As far as distractions goes, thats something i think you may want to learn to deal with so it don't interrupt your train of thoughts.


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  • SixthStreetSixthStreet Red Chipper Posts: 260 ✭✭
    Good post. Rello. That is what I think is going on is have lots of knowledge on head but right now it is a big mixed bowl of information. I need to get it organized and a plan of action down pat. So going to approach it a step by step method. Write down and practice the order of steps. So when X happens stop and think. I seem to just be in reaction stage still to much. That is coming from learning game wrong way and wrong habits ingrained. So need to put new habits in place through practice and study. I also need to set a schedule. I work long hours and have other hobbies. My problem is I think I trying to do to much at once.
  • DrTriciaDrTricia RCP Coach Posts: 190 ✭✭
    There's already a ton of good ideas here, so I'm going to 2nd my favorite ones that are listed.

    1. Automacity is everything. You've got to train yourself so that the fundamentals are down - require no thought. That allows you to focus on the more complicated decisions.

    2. Having a cue - whether it's an image or a sound or a thing is great. One of my personal coaching clients (who plays very high stakes) uses a rubber band in his middle finger to remind himself to always think and do pro moves.

    3. Take notes on hands that stump you (and even ones that don't) so you can go over them in great detail later. This will help with #1 a lot!

    4. Build up your confidence! Focus on what you do right and well and do more of it!

    5. Consider keeping inspirational messages on your phone if you have one at the table.

    6. Any time you notice yourself going blank or freezing up, stop and take a few deep breaths, then reset. Make notes if you can on what was specifically going on that caused you to shut down. Is it a certain type of hand or board texture? Is it playing against certain players? Is it because you didn't know what to do? Knowing what stops you is a good 1st step in fixing the problem. On the flip side, what are you doing well? Make special note of that, too, so you can do more of that!

    Hope these ideas help! Please report back and let us know what you tried and what your experiences were!

    Dr. Tricia
  • SixthStreetSixthStreet Red Chipper Posts: 260 ✭✭
    Thank you Dr. Tricia.
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,867 -
    what I did think of is a chip protector. so a big poker chip red with and edge and big white letters "WHY?" in middle. maybe even shaped like stop sign.

    just lay it on top of chips and you will need to move it before you can bet.

    I like it. We need to start selling merchandise...
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • SixthStreetSixthStreet Red Chipper Posts: 260 ✭✭
    I get royalties for that idea. :)

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