Right mind-set is key to winning poker



My dad always used to say, “Your attitude will determine your altitude.” Translation: Having a positive attitude will determine how high you’ll go or how much success you’ll have. You don’t have to be the smartest, craftiest, most intimidating or most famous player to succeed. You have to expect to succeed and you have to play every hand and situation with a focus on winning. You must Decide to Win! Many players really want to win, and they hope to win, but there’s only a select group that’s decided to win. I spend a lot of time with my students on developing and maintaining a proper mind-set as I see this is usually the biggest factor holding them back.

When I first started playing several years ago, I was intrigued by the game. Since the closest casinos are about four hours from where I live, I spent a lot of time playing online. Sure, I read some books and developed a basic understanding of what I was doing, but for the most part, I just played and played. I’d see flops in and out of position with a wide range of starting hands (definitely if they were suited, of course) with no real regard to whether I was making correct decisions. I had sporadic wins and loved telling my friends about the latest cash-session win or deep tournament run. But, to be honest, I was only barely above break-even for three years.

One day I stumbled across a blog of a well-known online female pro, Rex55. In her blog she described her transition from live to online poker. She was struggling with the online game, but noticed the names of so many top players who were consistently winning. In her quest to succeed she realized she needed a mind-set change. She spent countless hours working on her game to develop a style that worked for her and got her mind right: She decided to be one of the winners. This blog served as inspiration for me, and from that point I decided to be one of the winners.

If you really want to win, you have to make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to be a winner. You have to stop simply hoping to win and wanting to win. You must decide to win and strive to put yourself in good situations while making correct decisions. You must maintain discipline in every hand. Don’t call raises with trouble hands. Don’t limp into multiway pots with hands better suited for heads-up or three-way action. Look for situations developing throughout the game, tournament or even a hand and take the correct action.

Commit to focusing on maintaining a positive attitude. Commit to not getting mad about bad beats. Commit to playing the right cards in the right position and put yourself in situations to succeed. You can’t change the cards, but if you take control of all of these things you’ll see a positive difference in your results.

Decide to Win!

— Lee Childs is founder and lead instructor of Acumen Poker. He also is an instructor with the WPT Boot Camp. Check out his site at www.acumenpoker.net.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine