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Jared Tendler

academy Treating Poker like a Sport





However, poker players often don’t think about the mechanics of making a decision as being comparable to the mechanics in other sports. In poker, the process that players go through to make a decision is a mechanical process. Highly skilled players have a more well-defined structure to their decision making and they tend to have more aspects of the game they consider—metagame— faster than the average player. This is no different than a professional golfer who considers more aspects of the course compared to an average golfer. Truly understanding the mechanics of making a decision means looking beyond the specifics of what you’re thinking about, such as: “Should I be 3-betting here or not?” It involves you gathering the necessary

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Jared’s book is out now and costs $49.95 from www. themental gameofpoker. com

information and how you process that information to conclude whether or not to 3-bet. Consider situations where your decision making breaks down. You act too fast, you’re bored, or you’re tilted. In these senarios, the quality of your decision making decreases because you fail to use knowledge that you already have about how to play poker at a high level. You failed to use that knowledge, not because you didn’t have it, but the mechanics in how you made the decision broke down. Correcting breakdowns in mechanics happens in the same way as in sports – in a word, training. Yes, your decision-making is a skill that can be trained. Players with strong mechanics make fewer errors because their mechanics are stronger.



“The closest you get to a training ground in poker is playing for play money.” The king of training is a simulated game that gives players the opportunity to test their skills in an environment that is close enough to allow for an easy transfer to the real thing. Poker doesn’t have it. Sadly, there’s no defined version of a practise field in poker. The closest you get to a training ground in poker is playing for play money, but the play is so different that it fails miserably in providing an accurate simulation. Poker’s version of the practise field, for online players, is playing fewer tables. If you normally play eight tables, drop down to two. Or, if you normally play three tables, drop down to one table and play at a lower limit. This drop is designed to give you enough focus so you can As the old adage goes: Practise makes make a real effort to train perfect and this is especially true in poker. one concept.



Mental function is supported by physical health. You’re in a better position to play at your best by getting proper rest, having good eating habits, and having regular


Every sport has defined mechanics for maximizing a players’ effectiveness. For example, the position of a golfer’s hands, arms, and hips on their backswing; a tennis player’s grip for a backhand; and the angle of a soccer player’s foot for a curling shot. Poker has mechanics too.

Training and Practise

Training is essential to improvement because it gives players the opportunity to learn and improve without the consequences of playing for real. Every sport has a range of versions of training that allow players to practice mechanical, strategic, or mental game improvements before testing them under pressure. Golfers play practice rounds, football players review game tapes, and tennis players do footwork drills.

It’s time to start taking poker more seriously if you want to stay competitive. Mental game expert Jared Tendler shows you how. hether or not you see poker as a sport, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that in order to succeed in today’s game you need to start treating it as though it is one. The poker climate has steadily been getting tougher and tougher over the past five years. The more competitive poker becomes, the more the skills necessary to excel mirror other sports. Poker is still in its infancy compared to well-established sports, like football, golf, swimming, and mental sports like chess. As mature sports, they all have structures in place to train participants from beginner to the world class level. During the past five years, with the advent of online training sites, poker added a necessary component to training players. Now, poker players are dramatically better, but it’s becoming harder and harder to find new areas to create an edge. This rapid rise came primarily through improved tactics. The next big jump is going to come by the players who treat poker like a sport. In this article I’ve outlined a few steps you can take in order to become a fierce competitor in the modern game.

Jared’s new book, The Mental Game of Poker, is out now. To find out more, visit

When I first came into poker and talked about the concept of warming up, many players were skeptical and almost thought it was a joke. However, many of the best and most serious players in the world have built some kind of structured routine into their game. That number will continue to increase as more players become aware of the advantages a warm-up provides. A warm-up gives you time to get focused on the right things before your session, so you’re more likely to play at your best throughout. Since you always have weaknesses in your game being prepared to correct the basic mistakes in your game makes it much more likely you’ll avoid making them. A warmup also allows you to get ready to handle mental game issues such as tilt, loss of focus, or fear. That means you become far less likely to have your game fall off-track and, instead, continue improving. The greatest predictor of long-term success is learning and improving everyday and warming-up to play is the easiest and best way to do that. Basic Warm-up: Do this routine before every session. Set goals and/or review your long-term goals, including how today fits into your overall plan. Then, review one or two tactical or mental parts of your game that need to improve. Lastly, perform one minute of deep breathing to get focused before you finally sit down to play. Total time = three minutes.

Like any good athlete you need to warm-up your mental muscles before you play.

and Exercise

exercise. Obviously in the sedentary world of poker, especially online poker, there are many of you who may have been successful without focusing on these

onclusion CTaking these steps to treat poker more like Every decision has to go through a system of

Warm Up

a sport will increase your profits or at least allow you to keep pace with the modern game. It’s an undeniable fact that like every highly competitive

areas – up until now. Improving these areas provides increased energy to play at a higher level for longer, which means you can learn and improve faster.

endeavor, poker is getting tougher and this trend isn’t going to stop. Ensure your survival by getting ahead of the trend because in five years every successful poker player will treat their game in similar ways to elite athletes.

logical cogs before you can reach a conclusion.

the official world poker tour™ magazine


Treating Poker Like a Sport  

WPT Magazine Article: If you want to stay competive in poker you need to start taking it more a sport.

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