Five reasons why I've made money and continue doing this playing poker

Five reasons why I've made money and continue doing this playing poker

Here is the article on the psychology of poker that was written by the professional poker player who used to be famous under nickname Lyao.

People keep asking me at different forums and in the conversations: 'Lyao, you are a coach, you write video courses, VODs and do all this stuff. Don’t you think you strengthen the competition? And those players you teach will decrease you winrate in the future. What is the point in making new regulars?'

This is true. It is now the time in poker when the information is becoming more and more available. There are plenty of web sites with learning videos now. Then there are poker articles, books, poker schools and immense numbers of players who study their students. This made online poker environment very tough. The number of weak players is very low (at middle stakes and higher). If earlier (two-three years ago) the player who understood the game just a little bit could have crushed NL100 with the eyes shut, now it not an easy task to say the least. That’s why many regulars of stakes NL50-NL200 get stuck at those stakes winning a little bit or playing without profit and living on rakeback.

As we already understand, many of them see the reasons behind their failures in the activity of coaches, schools and other learning platforms. RNG is among these reasons as well. And they are right! If you don’t win, you have to blame someone else. Not yourself. Someone else.

You know, I have no worries about it. I know I am going to win at the currents stakes I’m playing for a long time. Even if every other successful player will become the coach and there will be a hundred new Cardrunners web sites in the Internet. As there are more than just technical skills in poker that influence your win rate. Those other skills are not that obvious, nevertheless they are the ones that make a player successful.

1. Focusing on the game

When I'm taking a seat at online poker tables, everything else ceases to exist for me. As people say, full work immersion. The fact that I don’t use additional software contributes here as I have to closely watch at the action of the opponents and notice the peculiarities of their play. Full focus allows me to control everything at the tables and make the right decisions in all the moments of the game.

I know many poker players who could have earned much bigger money in poker, had they had a better focus on the game. It is OK for them to start playing at six tables launching social networks, Skype, couple of Internet forums and some TV show like House M.D. on the laptop. This is quite obvious for me they lose a lot of EV this way. Well, it is good things for me that some people don’t realize this fact is so obvious.

One more important moment is that beside focusing on the game the player should also focus on his mood and state of health. He must pay close attention to his emotional state. If that doesn’t happen, it is easy to start tilting. And you probably know the consequences of tilt while playing poker.

Want to earn more money in poker? Learn to focus at the game!

2. Emotions control

Many people wrote about tilt resistance. Many people will write about it in the future. We are all humans with our emotions. Someone is more emotional than the others. The ability to control the emotions at the table is the key skill to succeed in poker. How could you not lose couple of buy-ins out of frustration after seeing some douche bag out of position calling your 4-bet with 72o and running over your aces with the river deuce trips? Familiar with the situation?

Successful poker player is the one who makes most of the possible correct (+EV) decisions while playing poker. Emotions is the factor (let’s say Fucktor) which directly effects on the correctness of the actions you make. If you control your emotions you win. If the emotions control you - you lose. Common truth. I am sure most of you know this without my scribbling. How to make yourself to fully control your state? I believe this is a more difficult question than a question about what to do with TPTK after seeing check-raise on the river from the unknown opponent.

There is no place for emotions in poker. Badbeats and coolers can’t shatter my emotional state. I have to admit different things happened. But in general I am confident in myself. I don’t care too much about the result of a single session. I care about making correct decisions knowing I will have profit in the long run. The fact someone run over me is irrelevant to me. This is pro poker, baby.

The psychology of poker by Lyao

Not only negative emotions are our foe at the table. Joy, euphoria of winning the big pot also have a negative impact on our game. For instance, you had quads and the opponent paid it off. For double stack. Make it triple stack. The flow of endless happiness and universal joy falls on your head. Smile never leaves your face, you heart is ready to leave your chest as it is full of joy. And then this happens - instead of following your other hands at other tables you keep thinking of the previous hand. Well, you played it cool. Applause! Ovations! Now you’re on autopilot until you calm down. This could go on for ten minutes or might never stop till the session is over. It goes without saying your further play won’t be very effective as you will be too emotional as your thoughts will be elsewhere.

I hear unhappy statements that we are not robots. It’s OK for humans to be emotional. And poker is a game. Poker is gambling. It’s only natural that people feel the emotion as they play for the money. Money they earn.

Congrats! Until you treat poker as a game - gambling game for your own money - emotion will control you. As they do control you, you earn less than you could or someone is earning your money.

Want to earn more money in poker? Learn to control your emotions!

3. Ability to set clear goals

Why do you play poker? Global question. Every person has his own answer to it. Someone is unwilling to work for another man. The others think it is profitable to play poker in comparison with previous management activity. Someone likes to have a free schedule. The others want to become famous, get some glory and prestige.

Most players have a common goal they play poker. Everyone wants to make money. I am sure, you want that as well. How much do you want to make? How much do you need to be happy? How much do you earn now? I am sure each person has his own answers to the question. That is the goal. That’s what we want.

But here is the paradox. We work with money, the measure of our success is money, our goals are closely connected with money and it’s all wrong! You can’t make 'money goals' in poker. I’ll explain why. Variance is a very sneaky lady without shame or memory, she doesn’t care about how much money do you want to win this month. It doesn’t care whether you’ll be able to buy a new computer, visit Paris with your girlfriend or buy a E-class auto.

And the player thinks about his goals every first day of a new month: to earn thirty five thousand American dollars this month. Let’s suppose he players perfectly, makes no mistakes and so on. In the end of the month, he will know what variance thinks of his plans and goals. It is quite possible the result will be much worse than expected with the game of high quality in general. That makes the goal unfulfilled though the game was excellent. This will result in mental anguish and worries, whinnying on the forums, cries of life being unfair to you and, consequently, you game level will sufficiently drop next month. When a man fails to reach the goal he suffers badly.

You can’t make forecasts of short run in poker expressed in money equivalent. It would be a much more right thing to do to make goals which aren’t directly connected with money. This month I’ll play 100 hours or 50 thousand hands. Or I will watch 8 new videos and have 3 hours of coaching. That is the right goal. It was well articulated and the result of reaching or nor reaching it depend just on you, no one else. Then you may have a look at Win column to know how much have you won. Sometimes the result will be negative. That happens.

Want to earn more money in poker? Learn to make correct and clear goals for yourself!

4. Effective time management

People often ask me how am I able to do everything in the right time - to record videos, coach players write articles, play poker, travel different cities and countries. It’s very simple - I am good at managing my time and using it rationally.

I know many players who find this approach... let’s say... boring. They prefer to follow the flow. Without taking efforts. If they want to play, they play, if they want to chat, they visit forums or switch on the Skype. They are free to go to night clubs, get drunk, have a nice sleep and lose couple of buy-ns afterwards, troll at comments of some famous poker players and so on. Their events throughout the day are chaotic like Brownian movement and they live a funny interesting life. In result, they don’t reach half of their monthly goals. They play 20 thousand hands instead of playing 50 thousand or a hundred hours instead of 50. It’s OK, no worries, I have plenty of time. I will have next month.

Effective time management

Money is the most precious resource you have. So effective management of your own time is the key to success in any work, in any business. Poker is not an exception to this.

Get a diary/work book/computer file. Have a precise plan for a month. A week. A day. Designate the time limits. How much will you spend on the game/study/watching videos/reading forums. How much time do you need for rest. At what time will you go to sleep or wake up. Try to work at least month following the schedule. I assure you. You will fell how much more quality and structure will be in your work, game and life.

Want to earn more money in poker? Learn to manage your time!

5. Adequate self-esteem and constant self-development

Human is a very strange beast. He judges other only by their actions and results and wished to be evaluated on his abilities. He judges himself on the abilities.

Self-deception is a very insidious thing. Especially in poker. There is a type of player (and there are many of those players) who think they know poker on a much deeper level in comparison with the opponents at the table, other players at forums, coaches and everybody else. The fact that he is losing money for three months in a row is variance’s, RNG and bad luck’s fault. Or maybe this happened due to the growing number of poker schools or some other reasons.

I am 100 certain I am not beating NL 1k as local regulars are able to hurt me pretty bad. I don’t want to get hurt so I stay out of these stakes though my bankrolls allow me to play $25/50. I adequately judge my level and now I am OK with what I make at NL 1k - NL 2k. When I feel I’m ready to cross this psychological barrier and have enough skill, I will make another step on the poker ladder.

But there are plenty of players who get a little profit on their working stakes and hurry for the other level. Then they try to get higher, get beaten by the regulars and start to tilt and get back to their own stakes or lower. Those stories are not rare. This happens due to those players inadequately assessing themselves. Their thought of situation are often far from the real state of affairs.

Had he spend wasted money on his poker education, couple of lessons from the coach, purchasing subscription on some resource or buying a new book or all the above mentioned things coupled with another month at his working stakes - quite possible the transition would have been more successful.

He does not need that. He knows all and does all. He is just “unlucky” And you know what? He is right! Yes! That is his own path and he decides how to walk through it.

However, when those players ask me whether all this coaching activity make my life difficult as I create the competition, I just smile in response. There always be players like them. And that means I will have profit for quite some time.

Want to earn more money in poker? Play poker!

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