Do not forget this Texas Hold’em tip: Mindset is the most important factor in the game of poker. Have you noticed a trend when you play in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments? Have you noticed that you tend to play to the level of your competition? This doesn’t mean you win against tougher fields and lose against softer fields.
It relates to focus, and its human nature for you to react that way. What if you could turn that around? Turning that around would most definitely fit into our poker rules for winning, and you might just become beastly. That’s meant in a good way.
Poker Players Are Human
Prior to moving forward on this topic regarding how poker players react to different types of fields and how you can fix the problem, I first want to give you an example from another arena. By doing so, you will understand the human nature aspect of poker more.
Poker players aren’t robots who wire-in to poker games and automatically calculate the right thing to do in every situation. If you think that way, you’re giving your opponents too much credit.
Poker players are human beings, which means they’re fallible. It’s up to you to recognize where those mistakes are made, and of course, to adapt correctly to each and every player. Nobody said winning would be easy, but it’s enjoyable once you get there.
Poker & Boxing
In regards to the example from another arena, I’m referring to boxing. There is a trainer at my gym who is a physical trainer and an almost-Olympian boxer. He fell just short of making it. But the dude is nasty in the ring. Not in the offensive sense.
He’s more on the defensive side, but he’s not straight-up defense. He likes to play defense and not strike much so he can bait his opponents. When the opportunity presents itself, lights out. Not for him, for his opponent. Does that approach sound familiar to you?
If you have been reading my articles on poker strategy, then it should sound familiar to you. For those who disagree with this approach, I don’t know what to tell you other than the fact that people will follow whatever the popular poker strategy is at the current time. That’s following, and it doesn’t lead to you standing out. Play the player. This is a human game. And that leads me to the boxer.
His name is Mike, and he told me something interesting. He said that he boxes to the level of his competition. If it’s a serious threat, he’s supremely focused and won’t make any errors. If it’s someone he should dominate, he doesn’t box as well because he’s not as focused.
However, pay careful attention to what he said next. He said that if he’s boxing against someone he should dominate and his opponent talks trash or goes for a cheap shot, it completely changes his mindset. He goes from going through the motions to extreme focus and knocks his opponent out within 30 seconds. This is despite being a defensive boxer. There is a Texas Hold’em tip in this paragraph.
Do you see what that tells you about human nature? It tells you that a lot of winning and losing in traditional poker games and Texas Hold’em poker tournaments relates to mindset. I’m not saying it’s everything, but I would put it at 50% minimum, and I don’t think anything else is a bigger factor.
You can say patience is #1, but you must have the correct mindset in order to be patient. You can say discipline is #1, but you must have the correct mindset to be disciplined. The same can be said for not letting Ego and Greed in the door. That requires the right mindset.
Think about that last point. I always write about how Ego and Greed are your #1 and #2 threats in poker games and poker tournaments. You must have the right mindset to defeat those two threats. Therefore, mindset is #1. This is an imperative Texas Hold’em tip.
So … what am I trying to say?
You Can Win More
What I’m trying to say is that you can win more often but you’re not realizing it. Before I continue, I don’t want to give you a Texas Hold’em tip and be a hypocrite. I will be the first person to admit that if the field is super soft and talkative in regards to poker strategy, I don’t do very well.
That’s an odd statement. I will do my best to explain what I mean. I’ll first go back to Bally’s in Las Vegas during the summer. When I entered that tournament, I saw it was a soft field. They would talk once in a while, but they weren’t pretending to be poker experts.
They would have brief non-poker conversations, which makes the game enjoyable. The play here was very soft aside from 2-3 opponents. I ended up chopping the tournament with one of those stronger opponents.
While regular Harrah’s Cherokee was a profitable trip, when I played in the $80.00 10 p.m. tournament prior to leaving, it was a boisterous group that had no clue what they were doing yet continuously talked to each other about poker strategy. What they were saying made no sense at all. It was so bad that I cracked a smile and almost broke out in laughter, but I prevented myself from doing so.
The problem with this tournament for me was that I already locked in a winning trip and I didn’t want to hear these people talking all night. So, I called an all-in with KJo, which I never do. My call also put me all-in. When he tabled AT-suited and I tabled KJo, he said, “It’s a flip.” I said it was not a flip. He told me I was a wrong. I didn’t bother continuing this conversation. To make matters worse, his hand held and I was out.
I said, “Good hand” and walked away. No matter what happens, I’m always going to display good sportsmanship when I win or lose. However, that’s not the point.
Losing Poker Mindset
Did you notice my mindset when I entered this tournament? This is the Texas Hold’em tip I’m moving toward. I had given up before the tournament every got going.
First, I told myself that I had already locked in a win for the trip, which meant I was giving myself an excuse to play poorly. But if I look back on this event, despite it being $80, it was on a Friday night, which meant there were going to be a lot of entries, and a lot entries means a large prize pool. I’m sure first place was going to take home at least $2,000.
What if I had gone into that poker tournament with a different mindset and went into supreme focus mode? And what if I won $2,000, which could equal five bullets for a WSOP Circuit ring event.
I don’t play the WSOP Circuit as much as in the past, but I will be playing it in Cherokee in November because it’s local. One of those five bullets could have led to $150,000, but since I didn’t take that small poker tournament seriously, it could mean five fewer bullets.
Texas Hold’em Tip: Supreme Focus Mode
My point is that you can NEVER take poker tournaments for granted! The $45 buy-in tournament is just as important as the $1,700 buy-in. If you go into supreme focus mode every single time you sit down in a poker tournament, your results are going to be extraordinary compared to what they have been in the past. This is a key Texas Hold’em tip when it comes to poker tournaments.
Second, the table chatter was irritating to me. Instead of figuring out a solution, I let it get to me. I don’t use earbuds when at the table because I want to gather as much information as possible, including auditory, but I could have posted something on Facebook, left a Yelp review, or checked my Follow/Unfollow list on Instagram.
These are things I do at the poker table when I’m playing too fast and need to slow down, or when the table is irritating and I need to enter another world until the table dynamic changes. This would have been an easy solution yet I didn’t figure it out because I had the wrong mindset.
There is something else about this poker tournament that can lead to the most important Texas Hold’em tip in this article.
There is a funny thing that happens in the poker world that nobody ever likes to talk about. Perhaps they’re embarrassed to admit it. I don’t know what the reason is, but I have noticed that good poker players will sometimes call bad poker players when they’re behind.
In the good poker player’s mind, they’re subconsciously thinking that they have a better chance of hitting their hand because they’re up against a bad poker player. I’m not talking about purposely flatting with any hand because you put your opponent on AK and can C-bet the flop if it misses.
I’m talking about calling with hands like 98o after a bad player three-bet pre-flop and the action tells you he has an overpair. This is definitely -EV. Yet it happens all the time. If you’re even a somewhat experienced poker player, then I’m willing to wager that you know exactly what I’m talking about. And I’m willing to wager that it hasn’t worked out for you.
If you’re calling when you’re behind, that’s already an uphill battle. And if you’re up against a bad player, then they’re likely a calling station, so if you try to make a move, it won’t work. Now you’re sitting there asking yourself what the hell you just did and how it’s possible that you’re losing. Here’s a hint: Your opponent isn’t beating you. You are beating you! It’s EGO!!!
Since you see yourself as the stronger player, you also see yourself as entitled. I don’t mean that in a malicious way. I do the same thing! I’m hoping that writing this article will help me cut that shit out. In a way, I’m giving myself a Texas Hold’em tip.
If you look back at the Bally’s poker tournament where I won and then at the Harrah’s Cherokee poker tournament where I lost, was there really any difference in the field? No. The only difference was my mindset. I felt more relaxed and focused at Bally’s because it was early in the trip, I had nowhere to be, and the people at the table were friendly.
Texas Hold’em Tip: Adapting To Your Environment
On the last night at Harrah’s Cherokee, I knew I was driving home later that night (three hours) and the people were annoying.
Me thinking the players were annoying was subjective. I could have completely turned that around. Your mind is way more powerful than you think. There have been many times in my life where I made mental decisions to perceive things differently so it would benefit me. Actually, I do this all the time.
What I needed to do in that situation was tell myself that they were new players who just wanted to have a good time. They were talking poker strategy because they wanted to be liked and respected. What’s wrong with that? Everyone wants to be liked and respected.
If I had the correct mindset, I could have fallen into the conversation and geared away from poker strategy. Or I could have pretended I was a dumbass and agreed with, “You have to four-bet with 98-suited from the cutoff.”
There were so many options. My Texas Hold’em tip is about mindset in general, but if you break mindset down further, my Texas Holde’m tip for these situations is to find a way to ADAPT to the environment!
Did you see how I used the word ‘adapt’ there? If not, you’re really not paying attention because I put it in caps. I often write about adapting to your opponents, but you also need to adapt to your surroundings. If you can do this, you’re going to have a lot more success because it will indicate that you’re sitting down with the right mindset.
Remember do not forget this Texas Hold’em tip: Mindset is the most important factor in the game of poker. Learning how to play poker hands is important, but you will do a much better job playing those poker hands if you’re focused, and being focused begins with mindset. Above all, remember this: If you treat bad players like great players, you will always be focused. That is a very important Texas Hold’em tip.
Q: How do I get better at Texas Hold’em poker?
A: You get better at Texas hold’em by studying more, playing more and reading our poker rules for winning. Best Texas hold’em tip is to fold more often pre-flop, which will reduce variance.
Q: What makes someone a good poker player?
A: A good poker player is someone who applies the basic poker fundamentals, understands people and why they do the things they do, and is patient and fearless. A good poker player also maintains a positive mindset in all poker games.
Q: How do you know if you’re a good poker player?
A: If you keep records of every session and every poker tournament and see that you’re profitable, you’re a good poker player. Another sign is when nobody likes when you sit down at their table.
Q: How long does it take to become a winning poker player?
A: It can take months or years. A lot depends on how much you’re willing to work. Just like anything else, the more you put in, the more you get out.