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T H E M E N TA L G A M E O F P O K E R

In poker, as in sports, business, and other performance arenas, the ability to thrive under pressure previously gave people a distinct competitive advantage. It’s one that kept them from being naturally selected out of the game—until psychology and sport psychology gave people who struggled to perform under pressure a formal way to learn this previously unattainable skill. These people may have been equally, if not more talented, but without the ability to perform under pressure, they couldn’t achieve a level of success equal to their talent. For poker players who lack the ability to perform under pressure, this chapter intends to level the playing field. When addressing issues of fear, the goal is to identify and break down the underlying flaws in your mental game that turn your questions into fear. One example of such a flaw is the belief that feeling anxious or fearful means you’ll perform poorly. When you experienced normal nerves at the table, your mind couldn’t answer the questions: “Why do I feel this way?” and “What does feeling this way mean for my performance?” Your inability to answer these questions created more anxiety, which shut down your mind and made it more likely for you to fail. Over time, you associated anxiety with failing, so you learned that anxiety was inherently bad. Since you learned how to fear your nerves, you can also learn how to use them to play your best poker. Here are a couple of other benefits that fear or pressure provides: 1. Just like tilt, anxiety exposes underlying weaknesses in how you technically play poker and approach the mental game. Basically, it helps you identify what you need to improve. 2. Pressure is critical for learning. When your nerves are amped up to the top of the performance curve, you become a learning machine that’s capable of picking up on subtle details in the action that you normally couldn’t see. By embraceing anxiety, you’re in a great position to capitalize on it.

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The Mental Game of Poker Excerpt: Chapter 6 Fear  

Here are a few sample pages from the chapter on Fear. They'll help you better keep your sanity and make sound decisions right now.

The Mental Game of Poker Excerpt: Chapter 6 Fear  

Here are a few sample pages from the chapter on Fear. They'll help you better keep your sanity and make sound decisions right now.

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