Always keep your poker dream alive

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Some of my students are scrappers. Scrappers tend to be winning players and let’s just say what I like most about this style of play is that players who use it pick up more than heir fair share of dead money. Lots of dead money equals profit equals “let the good times roll.” When scrappers take a flop, they are creative. Missing the flop does not deter scrappers. They bet out if checked to, they float the turn, they are known to check-raise their mothers. Indeed, scrappers are street fighters.

Often, my scrappers have an Achilles’ heel. It just goes with the territory. Players who are aggressive don’t like to lose and therefore when stuck, they have a tendency to play long arduous sessions. These long sessions are bad. I have three ideas that will help you with your numbers if you’re a grinder and perhaps your hourly winning rate is not as good as it should be:

NO. 1: Why is that song Closing Time on my mind? The casino will be there tomorrow. Simply set a quitting time and stick to your guns. When a player is stuck, his mind starts to play tricks. The longer your session lasts, the more likely this is happening. We start to open our game little by little. Soon we find ourselves in hands where we are out of position. We aren’t fresh and we’re not playing our best. Anything less than our best means we are on tilt and 17 hours later, we’ve wiped out a profitable week of solid play. Have a game plan and stick to your guns.

NO. 2: Quitting is not quitting. Get married to the idea that your session takes place over 100 hours of play. When you leave stuck, you’re not stuck but simply in a downswing. Imagine if you were an investor and every time your stock swung negative you put in a sell order. That would not be a winning strategy. Quitting is simply taking a break. Your 100-hour session begins again tomorrow. Fail to plan, plan to fail. You are a poker player. If you need help with your poker plan, email me and I can assist with getting you on the right track. It’s important your goals are realistic and attainable.

NO. 3: Strike a balance with poker and the rest of your life. Any pro athlete will be happy to share with you the fact that when things at home are good, their play mirrors their life. Bad stuff off the table takes its toll on our poker numbers. The greatest thing about being a poker player is you’re the CEO. You get to do what you want to do. Keep the dream alive and stick to your plan.

— Mark Brement has spent 15 years teaching and coaching all facets of poker, including at Pima CC. Email him at brementmark@gmail.com.