One of the most significant leaks about poker regulars is not their skill but their performance at the poker tables. What most often affects a player's performance is variance, so it's essential to work on mental strength so that our performance suffers less when things go badly.
Take, for example, the three different levels of our performance:
- Optimal performance (when we are in the zone) - let's say our best performance brings us 6bb/100
- Good performance (reduced focus and a bit of autopilot) - let's say a good performance brings us 3bb/100
- Poor performance (when we are tilted or disinterested) - this level of performance brings us -2bb/100 (at best)
Here we can see two different scenarios:
- One where we are in optimal performance 10% of the time and 30% of the time in poor performance.
- While in the second scenario, the situation is reversed; 30% of the time, we are in optimal performance, and 10% in poor performance.
We can notice that the difference is almost double in the obtained EV between the two scenarios.
A mild level of tension is needed to achieve our optimal performance, which means that we must not be too relaxed or irritated.
If we are in games where we feel too confident and they do not present a challenge, there is a possibility that we will be disinterested and will not be at an optimal level of performance.
The situation is similar with games that are above our level, they will cause us enormous tension, so we will not be at the optimal level of performance again. That is why playing real games that challenge us but do not "suffocate" us is very important because they are too demanding.
For this to be possible, it is important that we gradually raise the limits and build a bankroll according to our skill. Also, to be in the zone of optimal performance more often, it is important to focus on things we can control and not allow negative outcomes to throw us into a tilt.
Discovering situations that tilt us can serve us so that we can take advantage of them and recognize that the same situations throw our opponents into tilt and throw them out of the optimal performance.
- Lifestyle affects our stress level and our health, which in turn affects our stress level.
- Separating the outcome from the process and shifting the focus from situations we cannot influence.
- Recognizing what is tilting us and why so that we can recognize when our opponents are on tilt.
- Accepting variation as a crucial part of poker and our ally