Unlock Your Poker Potential: Beat Self-Doubt with This Simple Exercise

Sergey  «Jayser1337» 
08 Apr 2024
Psychology Strategy
08 Apr 2024

In today's topic the speaker discusses the importance of rationality, risk-taking, ambition, self-assessment, discipline, perseverance, and the right mindset. They emphasize the need to challenge self-limiting beliefs and set clear goals, as well as the significance of effective study methods and understanding poker nuances. Overall, the material encourages people to believe in their potential, push their limits, and never give up on their poker journey.


High-stakes poker presents significant challenges. This text outlines key traits and practical advice for success in high-stakes or mid-stakes poker. Whether aiming for high stakes or mastering mid-stakes games, understanding these traits and tips can help players navigate both realms effectively.

About author

Hi! You might know me as Jayser1337 from online cash games. I've competed in high stakes for over 5 years, accumulating over 2 million in profits. Besides playing, I've coached more than 100 players from NL2 and up. While many of my students have significantly improved their results, with some reaching high stakes, it's true that not everyone has had the same level of success. 

I've also collaborated for hundreds of hours with top players, and today I want to discuss what differentiates the best players from the rest.

Jayser’s Philosophy

In my experience, there are a few traits that distinguish high achievers in poker, sometimes seemingly contradictory. For instance, number one is rationality combined with a love for risk. The thrill of risk pushes them out of their comfort zone, while rationality helps them stay cool under pressure, avoiding the gambler's trap. 

Next trait is being ambitious yet having a sober self-assessment. Ambition creates the desire for constant growth. However, without a realistic view of one's abilities, ambition can lead to overestimating one's skill and playing in unsuitable games. 

Lastly, discipline and perseverance are vital to overcome inevitable standstills in progress and dips in motivation. Variance in poker can be tough, but if you're aiming high aggressive bankroll management is key. 

Throughout my career, I follow a strategy of having 25 buy-ins for each new stake level. Moving up when I felt ready. If I lose seven buy-ins, I step down, rebuild my bankroll, and try again. It took me at least a year and five unsuccessful attempts before I could consistently compete at an NL5k. 

The most crucial element is the right mindset. Even with all the necessary traits, without it, you may never fully unlock your potential. Self-limiting beliefs, cognitive biases, and lack of discipline can limit the growth even of the most talented players.

Consider Henry Ford's famous quote: «Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right». Well, believing in your potential is the first step towards achieving it. While belief alone doesn't guarantee success, without it, success is definitely unattainable.

Exercise time

Take a pen and a piece of paper, divide it into two vertical columns, and on the left side, make a list of reasons why, in your opinion, you cannot become a mid or high stakes crusher.

Write as many reasons as you can think of. Here is what I had on my list a few years ago when I felt that I could never compete against the strongest players on high stakes. Now cross out the first reason, and in the right field, write in a third person why that statement is not true.

Look, it does not have to be precise, but you get the idea. The point is to find and question your limitations, many of which may exist only in your head. Now go on and do the same with the remaining ones. The mission does not look impossible anymore, does it? It is hard to reach your destination if you haven't defined it first. 

Listing your goals on paper not only provides clarity and helps set priorities but also activates a part of your brain. It is called the reticular activation system (or RAS).

You've probably seen the movie called «The Secret» or heard about the so-called Law of Attraction. Well, being a skeptic myself, I never treat those things seriously. However, it's just an esoteric way of talking about RAS. 

So, how does it actually work? Think of it as a filter that helps your brain notice important things and meets the constant flow of data that surrounds you 24/7. It's like suddenly seeing the same car model everywhere when you are thinking of buying it. 

Here is why it's important: when you write down your goals, no matter how ambitious, your brain starts noticing resources and opportunities to help achieve them, often in some unexpected ways. 

Similarly, in poker, learning a new concept can become intuitive as your RAS helps you recognize when to apply it. In poker, mastering the countless spots could be a lifetime's work, yet we all have the same limited hours for both play and study. It's all in the nuances, and whoever gets them right has the edge.

Consider a family restaurant owner and the CEO of McDonald's; they both work 80 hours a week, but their results differ immensely. 

Similarly, in poker, different approaches to spots and boards significantly vary in their importance and affect your study EV in a meaningful way. For example, consider the board frequencies in poker: 

Broadway-low flops come 43 times more often than aces-low. Given that you haven't mastered any of them yet, spending just one hour of your time analyzing the Broadway board has the same effect as spending 43 hours analyzing the aces-low board. The difference is huge.

Beyond frequencies, other factors like spots, EV complexity, and exploit possibilities shape your study approach. 

The best players have the most effective strategies for their study time, giving them an edge over competitors. 

Final words

In summary, to become a high-stakes winner, you need to cultivate the right mindset, find effective study methods, and develop key personality traits. Remember, high stakes aren't everyone's path. Whether aiming high or finding joy in lower stakes, the key to progress is self-awareness, challenging your limits, and smart studying. 

Believe in your potential and never give up because nobody really knows what you are capable of, even you. And if you found this material valuable and want to see more high-quality content, please give us short feedback. If you think there's something we missed, we'd love to hear your thoughts, so drop a comment below and share your own poker experience. 

We wish you to keep pushing your limits at the poker tables and in life. Thanks for attention, guys!

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