Mental Game

Poker Tournament Strategies

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Poker tournament strategies differ a lot from simple cash games.  Everyone starts with the same stack, unlike cash games where people can bring stacks of different sizes to the same table. Also, tournaments are all about survival. Once your stack of chips is gone, so are you. These strategies will help your survive the different phases of a tournament. 

Value of chips changes – at the start of the tournament you will have plenty chips compared to the blinds. For example, every tournament on 9stacks gives you a different starting stack. StackUp gives you a starting stack of 25,000 chips, which amounts to 500 initial blinds while The Multiplier gives you 12,00 chips amounting to 100 initial blinds.  But as the blinds increase, you will be left with fewer chips compared to the blind. Hence, always keep an approximate count of how many blinds you have left. When you only have 7-10 blinds left, wait for a monster hand and shove pre-flop. With a stack so small it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to get value if you play more than 1 or 2 hands and if all the players end up folding, you’ll be able to steal their blinds. 

Be patient –Wait for the right hand to come. Play tight during the first few levels and avoid big pots unless you have a monster hand. This will allow you to maintain a healthy stack. You don’t want to get into massive pots and lose too many chips in the early rounds, as an increase in blinds later on will further reduce your stack relatively. A common strategy a lot of players use is playing multiple tables – while you’re playing a big tournament you can also play cash tables or 15-minute tournaments in parallel. This keeps you busy and doesn’t make you impatient. On 9stacks, you can add another table by simply clicking on ‘add table’ on the bottom left corner of your screen. 


Protect your blinds – DO NOT LIMP, i.e. do not just call the big blind with an average hand. Chances are other players will raise pre-flop if they have a good hand and if you limped in, you will definitely be folding. Only call the big blind if you can call the raise or raise if you can call the re-raise. As I mentioned earlier, increasing blinds will deplete your stack.


Don’t fear the Bubble Phase – The bubble is a poker slang used for the phase in the tournament where the players are only a few spots away from money. For example, if a tournament pays out top 5 players, the bubble phase would start when there are about 10-12 players remaining. As players enter the bubble phase, they tend to change the way they play and start stressing out. Some beginners don’t realize that your strategy should mostly depend on your stack. If you have a short stack, play cautiously. Make every move to maximize your chances of surviving and fold anything that isn’t a monster. If you’ve playing well and have accumulated a big stack, it’s time for you to punish the shorts stacks. Play aggressively and steal their blinds as often as possible. Put them all-in if you have a decent hand. They will be folding very often, giving you free chips to increase your stack. 


Hammer-Time! – When you’re ‘in the money’, i.e. you are guaranteed to win money, it’s time for you to hammer your opponents. The value of all hands go-up. Start playing a little aggressively irrespective of your stack. This doesn’t mean you go all in with 72, but you increase your range of starting hands and raise with suited connectors or even low pockets. If you wait a few hands for a monster, the size of the blinds would have already depleted your stack to a level where you won’t get enough value. 

In a nutshell, start by playing tight, adjust during the bubble phase (depending on the size of your stack) and then go all-out once you’re in the money. Go Stack Up!
 

5 rookie mistakes every poker player makes in the beginning.

Just starting out as a poker player? Know the basics of poker but don’t win as much as you thought you would? Check out a few tips to know what are the few common mistakes every rookie poker player makes in the beginning.

1. Playing All or Most Hands

Are you laughing at this one? We’ve all been in this position when we started out playing poker. We learn the basics and couldn’t wait to start being in the midst of the action. After all, we thought, this is how you learn, how hard could it be?

You over called your low pocket pairs, overbet a mediocre hand on the turn, hoping for fates to ‘Turn’ the river to your advantage. That’s not skill, that’s not the strategy, that’s gambling because you are waiting for luck to turn the tides in your favor, instead of really playing and getting value on a good hand.

2. Marrying a Hand

Everybody has a favorite hand, one that they have always won with, historically and have become attached to it.

Because poker is such a competitive game, we often think, especially in the beginning, that ‘giving up’ or ‘folding’,  when we have in hand our favorite set of hole cards, is a bad thing. We get emotionally attached to a hand because we don’t want to necessarily get bluffed out of the pot, or if we are bluffing, let the other people know that we have a weaker hand with respect to the cards on the table.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work in your favor because by continuously calling bets you are never sure of where you stand in the hand before it is too late. You may have an AceKing up your sleeve, but if the board is not with you, and the others have better hands that respond to the 5 cards laid out on the table, you cant really do anything about it.

3. Improper Bet Sizes

Learning how to correctly size your bets in poker (no limit and pot limit games) to manipulate the table comes with the experience of playing poker regularly. Most newbies either underbet or overbet, always hovering on the extremes and giving away their hands to the more experienced players.

For example, newbies often raise the pot 5x-6x the size of the blinds preflop or when they are out of position.

Miss sizing bets also happen after the flop where newbies with big hands under bet even though there are many hands in the game, allowing them to cheaply draw to a better hand. Sometimes overbetting is done to ‘Protect’ the hand, In most cases, this behavior on the table is incorrect as ideally, you would want to bet an amount that maximizes how much one can win and minimize the loss.

4. Buckling under Table Talk

Table talk is an art that of course, the poor poker noob takes time to get used to. The more experienced player applies various subtle techniques to intimidate his opponent and get to know more about their hand by just, talking and creating a certain kind of pressure. Most noobs buckle under the pressure and either fold their hand or over call/ wrongly bet to reveal their hand to the rest of the table.

5. Playing on Scared Money

Scared Money in poker is the amount /chips that a poker player is reluctant to use even though it is part of his bankroll because he is nervous about losing it while playing.

In the beginning, all newbies are scared money, and that can be because they haven’t played the game too much, don’t understand the strength of their hand or haven’t planned their bankroll funding properly and are unsure of how to curb their loss while playing the game.

What one needs to understand is that the amount you have kept aside as bankroll, cannot be expected to be recovered each time and the beauty of the game is in remaining in the present and playing the hand dealt to you, as skillfully as possible. Scared money never really gets you anywhere. You will not be able to focus on reading the table or plan your next move against the player next to you.

Missketeer Muskan Sethi finishes 5th in the High Roller tournament during the Deltin Poker Tournament in Goa

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Leader of the Nine Missketeers, Muskan Sethi finished 5th in the High Roller Final Table during the Deltin Poker Tournament in Goa between 15th -19th February, 2018.

Muskan, who is the first Indian woman professional poker player to be awarded the President’s award for successfully carving her niche in the male dominated sport of Poker, recently, was one of the two women players who made it to the Final Table.

Muskan was short stacked on day 2 of the Highroller, with only 12 BB in hand. However, she neither lost hope, nor confidence, nor sight of her goals and survived till the Final Table with 10 BB  in hand! She finished 5th at the Final Table with 148000 chips and won Rs 4,27,600.

Muskan is one of the finest poker players in the country today  and has been continouslly shattering the glass ceiling in poker , and revamping notions about women who play poker. Muskan's stupendous grit and performance in the Highroller is testament that patience, strategy, hard work and sheer grit to never lose sight of the winning goal is what makes poker such a fascinating mind sport.

We wish her all the best for her endeavours in the future.

To get to know more about her poker journey, click here

Team 9stacks

Fitness and Poker

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I am writing this article after finishing a short yet high intensity full body workout. Tomorrow, I have upper body stretches lined up. And at least three times a week, I meditate for 15 minutes. These activities are new additions in my schedule and they've had a tangible impact in my game. Allow me to explain how using tournament poker as an example.

The nature of tournament poker is such that most of the money is at the top. The top-heavy structure means that you need to play your best when you are close to the finish line - the final table. But this stage of the tournament is preceded by long early and middle stages. The mental fatigue caused by playing for 7-8 hours, multi-tabling and making multiple decisions every minute can compromise your performance in the late stages.

The best players are the ones who can resist this fatigue and focus for a long stretch of time. The first step towards that is caring for your body. Imagine making a big decision on the final table while you struggle with back pain. Or pondering on making a big hero call when your head hurts with exhaustion.

The importance of physical fitness in a mind sport like Poker may not seem obvious at first. I want to draw parallels with other another sport I love - Snooker. It doesn't require too much physical exertion either. But you would find that the best players spend ample time in the gym. One of the legends of the game, Ronnie O' Sullivan, in fact has a book titled Running in which he explains how running has helped his game.

In the early stages of your poker career, the effects of a fit body may not seem that great. It is natural: Early in the career, you have a lot to learn; that learning alone improves your game by leaps and bounds. And the effects of exercise seem minuscule in comparison. But the story is different as you climb the ladder.

At the top, the differences between the top players are very small - as it happens in each sport. That's why you see players investing a lot more of their time on mental and physical fitness; they want to capitalize on every edge they can. Even a 5% fitter version of you can mean big money at those stakes.

Fitness is even more important if you are a traveling live tournament poker player. Constant travel, hotel food, time zone changes - to play your best in spite of these issues, you need to be fit. Or perhaps you are a cash games player. Even in this format, 12-14 hour sessions aren't unheard of. To be able to focus on each hand, pick up on opponent's tendencies, and play your A-game requires a fit state of mind and body.

Our mind's faculties will stay sharp only if the body says it is fine. Regular exercise, healthy eating, meditation are some of the things I'd recommend. Two of the apps I use for mental fitness are Primed Mind and Insight Timer. For physical fitness, a trainer who can give you a plan for your specific needs would be good. Work on your body and prepare it to be in a good shape when you need it the most. And hopefully, next time you are on the final table, you can seamlessly move up a gear to be the best player you can be.

Cheers!

Mayank

This article was written by Mayank Jain. Mayank is a writer who plays poker for a living. He writes at http://mayankja.in/ on mindfulness, travel and art, among other things.

Ego Is The Enemy - Applications in Poker

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Ego is the Enemy is a highly acclaimed book by Ryan Holiday. It talks about how our ego often leads us on the wrong path in our pursuit of success. While reading the book, I couldn't help but notice its implications in poker. Allow me to start with a recent personal experience.

A few weeks ago, I was running deep in a live tournament. I busted on the final table after losing a flip. The guy who busted me wasn't someone I knew, but during the course of the day, we had developed a less than cordial relationship because of a few altercations. Later, we did shake hands and put it away as water under the bridge. 

Fast forward to yesterday when I found him on my table again in an online tournament. The first hand I played against him, he cracked my Aces. That hurt. Immediately, I felt a surge of emotions, clouding the logical part of my brain. I sensed an irrational desire to outplay him. And a few hands later, I busted against the same guy after making a sub-optimal play. I went on tilt and played worse for a couple of hours after that.

What happened here is a classic case of letting your ego guide your decisions rather than your poker knowledge. It is perhaps the most common mental game leak. I've been on the other side of this situation too when my opponents are not able to adapt to my playing style, and they go on tilt and give all their chips away. Their ego told them to fight to defeat me, instead of defeating my play. This led to bad decisions and a negative output for them.

It often happens that you end up playing more hands against a specific opponent. You think he is playing bad but getting lucky. Perhaps he is 3-betting every time you raise. Or maybe he is calling with all his gutshots even after getting bad odds and getting there. It makes you tensed up. You berate him in the chat box and you want to punish him. But how do you go about that?

The most common response I've seen from players is that they start becoming more aggressive, which ends up hurting them even more. Or they become too passive, waiting to trap with their most premium hands. None of these strategies is correct. The right approach would be to stick to your fundamentals. So, if your opponent is 3-betting you light, then you can tighten your opening range so that you can defend his 3-bet more often with a stronger range. If he calls with bad odds, then punish him by increasing your bet size, perhaps even overbetting flops/turns.

We chose a fundamentally sound counter-strategy which will give us the best chance of defeating our opponent. By separating the play from the player, we could identify the correct course of action.

This is what I mean by saying that ego is the enemy. Detach your ego from the results. It is fine if you are not able to defeat a particular player. Perhaps he is getting lucky, or he is playing better. If his play makes you feel awkward, then kudos to him. He shouldn't be expected to play in a style which makes you feel comfortable. Whatever be the case, you have the right strategy to deal with it - playing solid fundamental poker.

See you around,

Cheers,

Mayank

This article was written by Mayank Jain. Mayank is a writer who plays poker for a living. He writes at http://mayankja.in/ on mindfulness, travel and art, among other things.

5 Questions to ask yourself before your very first Poker Tournament

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1. Do I have the Bankroll to last throughout the tournament?

One of the basic questions you need to ask yourself before you sit for your very first Poker tournament is whether you have enough bankroll to fund at least 50-100 buy-ins in the tournament.

If you realise that you don’t, you need to evaluate if you have the mindset to go ahead and play in tournament as if you were securely bankrolled. Think you can do that? Awesome.

If you are jittery, then maybe you should step out and see how you can solve the problem.

2. Did I get enough sleep last night?

As with any other mind sport, your biggest asset  is a clear and sharp  brain that has been given sufficient rest the night before. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep the night before your tournament. You want you brain using its full potential to help you strategize and win the tournament.

3. Have I had a good breakfast?

Having a good breakfast isn’t the same as having a heavy  or a rich breakfast. A rich or a heavy breakfast will slow you down even before you reach the third or fourth round of the tournament. Your brain gets foggy and sleepy and your stomach is on a trip of its own, trying to deal with all the heaviness crammed inside it.

Nope. You need to have a good, healthy breakfast that keeps you full and yet, fresh and raring to go on the tournament table. You can take a look at the brain superfoods you need to include in your breakfast before the tournament here 

4. Have I studied my past performances?

Knowing the rules, reading about your opponents’(if you know them) as well as your own past performances is a very good confidence builder before you start playing in the tournament. You know the hand hierarchy, you know the rules, you know the errors you tend to make, you know how to strategize and calm yourself in the face of table-talk. If you are confident about these, you will be able to relax and play the game, better. If you haven’t, you need to ask yourself what you can do to make it appear as if you have the confidence and skills to win the game. You will need to keep checking to see if the cracks beneath your armor are showing.

5. Am I mentally prepared and focussed to last the tournament?

The last and final question to ask yourself  before you sit at the Poker table to play your very first Poker tournament is- Is my mind prepared to prioritize my game right now? Am I clear that playing poker is the only thing that matters right now?

Getting clarity on these questions is very important to help you play better and concentrate on your game.

Play to Win!

Love,

Team 9stacks


 

10 superfoods that will help your brain kick ass at Poker!

Hey Folks,

Think Poker is a game of chance and not something you need to train your brain for? Think again. To play mind sports like Poker, one definitely needs to have strict diet that will help the brain declutter, stay sharp, sustain the focus and be calm in the face of any likely event.

Here are a list of 10 superfoods that will help your brain kickass at Poker.

Acai Berries and Blue Berries

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The  delish purple berries like acai and blueberries have been known to be bursting with antioxidants and vitamins. 

Acai berries are a potent source of protein and Omega -3 fatty acids.

Blueberries improve vision, hand-eye coordination and cognitive function. It is also believed that regular consumption helps in preventing short-term memory loss.

For a Poker player, regular consumption of acai and blueberries will help boost your concentration, vision and coordination, which in turn will lessen those costly multi-tabling mistakes you keep making.

Plus, they are delicious and so convenient to keep at hand when you have those mad hunger pangs!


Matcha (Gyokuru) Powder

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Beating yourself up over a particularly Bad Beat? Try having an ounce of matcha and watch the blues dissipating.


Matcha is a kind of green tea  grown in Japan. It is  grown in the shade and is famous for its calming effect on the brain. This is mainly because Matcha contains oodles of chlorophyll, an amino acid named L-Theanine responsible for the relaxation, antioxidants, catechins, Vitamin A and C and Fluoride.

Matcha has now replaced coffee as the king of alertness and mental clarity. It has less caffeine and so is able to calm your frazzled nerves better than coffee. It also makes you jitter-free!

Matcha is often called a complete meal and helps you lose weight without all the drama.

So, chug along while you play online poker and find yourself letting that silly bad beat blue, go away!

Cacao Beans

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Yay! Everyone’s favorite beans make the list of brain superfood!
But hey, remember to partake either the freshly crushed cacao bean powder or have unsweetened dark chocolate with 75% and above concentration of  organic, non alkalised cacao powder.

Cacao powder is rich in flavonoids,catechins, theobromine and antioxidants. These are linked to mood enhancement, bliss and improved cognitive function.

All you poker players, do you really need us to tell you to grab a bar of dark chocolate? You have the perfect reason too! Being positive and optimistic are two areas that will really help you transform your game.

Go on, get your hands behind that chocolate! Avoid the sugar though.

Oily Fish

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Wild caught fish like wild salmon, mackerel are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which help in enhancing brain function and synaptic connections. It reduces the risk of strokes,dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and it reduces your mood swings.

On the poker table, your regular consumption of fish and other white meats will help you sharpen your focus and maintain it throughout the game. You know when you’re playing all out, there is bound to be some success waiting for you at the other end.

Chicken and Eggs

 

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Chicken and eggs are another source of  low cholesterol  proteins, folic acid and vitamins B-5 and B-6.

These help keep your brain sharp, particularly when you're trying to keep track of all the open cards and observing the telltale signs of  a bluffing opponent.

 


Almonds and Walnuts

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Walnuts and Almonds are most popular brain foods. Walnuts literally look like the brain! How could anything that looks like the brain itself not be helpful in enhancing its functions?
Soaked almonds and walnuts are rich in polyphenol, one of the higher antioxidants that help in enhancing cognitive function. Almonds are also a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid,an Omega-3 fatty acid hugely responsible for decreasing heart and brain diseases.

Black Currants

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Black Currants are powerhouses of Vitamin C, which is known to be the champ at increasing mental agility and reducing the risk of brain degeneration.

Vitamin C has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility and protect against age-related brain degeneration including dementia and Alzheimer's.

Poker players, you know you need this to stay sharp and sustain your focus throughout the game.

Broccoli

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Broccoli looks like a green-ish kind of a brain. Like we said earlier, anything that looks like the brain should be good for it too. Indeed the vegetable is full of Vitamin K, one of the most powerful vitamins that can cut down the risk of brain degeneration dramatically. It contains glucosinolates that delay the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, needed by the central nervous system to perform better and keep the memory sharp.

Remember how you keep forgetting to keep track of the open cards? No? Increase the intake of broccoli in your diet and notice how easy it is now, for you to keep track and strategise accordingly to win the game.

Pumpkin Seeds

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We adore Pumpkin spice during winters but did you know that munching on pumpkin seeds helps you beat the stress, enhance your memory and thinking skills? These seeds are packed with the goodness of stress busting nutrients like zinc, magnesium, vitamin B and tryptophan- all precusors to the happy mood chemical-Serotonin!

In Poker, it is very important to stay positive and focussed. Snacking on these seeds of goodness can help you up your game.

Tomatoes

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You do remember that the pretty tomato is actually a fruit right?

Tomatoes are a powerful source of Lycopene, an antioxidant that is proven to help protect against free radical damage to brain cells.  Increase your intake of tomatoes and watch your brain stay happier and healthier, day by day.

It goes without saying that all you Poker players need to include the tomato as regular in your diet. It helps you stay sharp and on point especially when you're tracking the cards.

Poker is a mindsport that needs the brain to stay sharp at all times. You as a poker have to discipline your diet and exercise to stay unbeatable.

Have we missed out on a super food? Write to us in the comments below and let us know.

Cheers,

Team 9stacks

 



 

 

Climbing The Four Stages Of Competence

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A popular theory about learning a new skill is The Four Stages of Competence model. The four stages are:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Unconscious Competence

Before we delve into its implementation in Poker, let me explain this by an example: Learning how to play a Guitar.

Let's say you are interested in learning how to play Guitar.

You learn a few chords, and can strum a couple of songs. You think you've made it. Now you can go on making your own songs. This stage is unconscious incompetence.

Technically, you are not incompetent, but you don't have enough knowledge to actually make a great song. You don't know why those specific fret-string combinations make a chord and which one to use when. There is a lot you don't know that you don't know. This stage is thus unconscious incompetence.

Next, you subscribe to a Guitar lesson on Coursera. You are surprised by the many intricacies of making music. You realize there is a lot for you to learn. This awareness is conscious incompetence.

Then, you start laboring on finger exercises, strumming patterns, and much more. It is an effort for you. But, you know that you are learning and improving. Your understanding of the art of guitar playing increases. But, you still have to look and think before you pluck a string. This is the level of conscious competence.

After years of practice, you finally are able to play freely. The songs come to you naturally, you don't have to look at your fretboard to see where your fingers are striking. This is the level of unconscious competence.

You know how to play a song without thinking about it, but if someone asks you what pattern to follow, you really have to think about what you just did.
This path is common in most of the skills we learn. Driving a car, doing simple math multiplications, or Poker.

Most players when they start playing think that they know the rules, have some moves and are good enough to play. While that might be true, there is a lot they do not know. When I was a noob, I thought I could crush anyone and thought poker was a simple game. I was mistaken. And was unconsciously incompetent.

As I learnt more, I realized how little I knew. And I began studying a lot more. I became consciously incompetent.

With some progress, I learnt new things, was amazed by most of them, and achieved a decent level of competence. It still takes effort for me to make some advanced plays. I have achieved conscious competence.

The next step for me is to achieve unconscious competence, when I can make a high level play naturally and not feel skeptical about the outcome. It will take a lot more study and practice to get there. Only then can I or anyone else who follows this path can become a truly elite player.

So, wherever you are in your poker journey, be aware of the stage you are at, and work towards moving onto the next one.

For more information on this theory, this is the Wikipedia article on it.

Leave your questions and comments below.

Love,

Bucky

Why playing Poker will make you win in life

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Poker is a fascinating game that teaches you so much about life. At 9Stacks, we believe that who you are, the kind of decisions you take, while you play Poker reflect a lot about you in real life.

Poker is blunt and almost brutal as a teacher, but then so is life, right?

 We tried to pick out some ways playing poker can actually bring about a transformation in your personality.

Let’s look at how this game changes your outlook in life for the better.

Playing Poker develops decision making skills:

Are you a  person who hates making decisions because, well, how does one even decide?
Poker’s going to help you out a lot here.  Poker trains your brain to start thinking critically and favor decisions that are based on the kind of data or situation you have at hand. It helps you always go for the logical option, or at least, helps you weigh your options and go ahead with a logical, informed decision.
When you start noticing that logical decisions are getting you to win in the game, you brain slowly starts letting this approach permeate into the evaluation of other decisions in your life.

Poker makes you patient:

One of the best things about playing Poker regularly is that you learn to be patient. It forces you, literally, to bide your time, to wait for the right game, to not react and give in to your impulses while playing the game. You understand that life throws unexpected googlies at you and you have to take it in stride, no matter what. You understand that losing your temper only worsens the situation for you and harms your thinking process. You are then able to prioritize your moves to get back into the game.


You become disciplined:

Closely linked to patience is discipline. Playing poker trains you into focusing on the end goals and ignoring all the obstacles. In Poker you need to discipline yourself and control your impulses. The more you practise these, the better rewards you will reap. The same goes for your decisions in life. The most successful people in the game are those who know which games to select as per their abilities, control their emotions and not give in to external obstacles, those who know  how to pull out of the game instead of playing  another  chance without calculating the risk.

Poker transforms your relationship with failure:

Life is all about winning some and losing some. We have all experienced the ups and downs and have gotten upset about failing at something. However, the true winner of life is someone who learns how to let go of the emotions associated with loss and tries to learn from the experience.
In Poker, the kind of zingers that are thrown at you, even if you have been making the right decisions, can cause you to feel frustrated and irritated. Poker, in its own inimitable style will teach you that emotional decisions never helped anyone. You lose your money and are left without anything when you make a rash decision. The lesson? Let go of the mistake and learn from it. That is what is going to help you.
Failure helps us reevaluate our choices and priorities and we begin to take responsibility for our actions. The sooner you embrace the failure and look beyond it, the more successful you will be.
 

You learn how to manage your finances:

Of course Poker sharpens your money managing acumen! The game lets you control your money but constantly tests your ability to keep it or grow it , especially when there are so many variables in the form of players, present. 

It teaches you to know when to stay in the game, while you look at your finances, and when to bow out with what you have. The same is replicated in life. You are now able to control your urge to spend because you are able to quickly differentiate between your need based spending and your impulsive splurges.

Intrigued? Want to learn the ropes? Come on board with us on 9Stacks.com and stack up your skills. We're the best place for all you beginners to try your hand at Poker! 

See You!

Team 9Stacks
 

 

 

Dealing With Bad Beats

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One evening, I was slightly drunk. I was lounging in my sofa, looking at the moon through my french windows and wondering about the meaning of life and such.

I had just finished a slightly negative poker session where I had been the victim of some sick bad beats.

And that's when it came to me. Eureka! The only thing stopping me from doing an Archimedes, was the cold winters of Delhi. 

What was that epiphany?

A word of caution before that - this is my personal interpretation and method to deal with it.

It may be wrong and may not be the best way, but it has worked for me. And that's what I can tell you. After all, most advice is nothing but what has worked for that individual. Let's get to it.

Say you have AA pre flop. You raise your opponent calls. Flop is 248. You bet, villain calls. Turn is J. You bet, your villain shoves, you call. He shows TT. Wow! You love it. Until the river rolls off a T. He wins with a set of tens. You call him names and abuse him on chat. Perhaps, you take a screenshot and send it to your friends to gain their sympathy. And you are left with lesser money, a minor scratch on the wall and a solid pain in your fist. How do you deal with it?

The way I like to think about it is by injecting logic. And there are two arguments I'd like to give.

  1. All the money went in on the turn, and your opponent had two outs to improve. So she had approximately ~5% to win. So 95 times out of 100 you will win. And the rest 5 times he wins. I like to think that I am glad that this happened, he just has 4 more bad beats left to give. So, I am moving further in my poker life. 
  2. If that doesn't work, here's another argument. The simple fact that you managed to get all the money in while you were ahead should be a thing to rejoice. After all, wouldn't you love if all the time money went in on the turn, your opponent had just 5% times to win? You will be printing money in this spot.

Poker is about MinMax - Minimizing losses in a losing position. Maximizing winnings in a winning position. And it is not related to a single isolated incident. But, about long term game. So, you have to think about whether you made the right play which will let you win the most, then that's the best you can do.

I am not saying it is easy, because there is an adrenaline rush which makes your head foggy. But trying to inject logic helps keep the picture clear. I've been through it a lot, and still do to this day. There is no getting around to bad beats in poker. You will be a victim as well as be on the other side sometimes. The trick is to not be bogged down by it and keep on playing your A-game. This is what will make you a winning player in the long run.

Cmon, #stackupyourskills and go for gold!

Cheers,

Mayank 

Mayank Jain is a writer who plays poker for a living. He writes at http://mayankja.in/ on mindfulness, travel and art, among other things.