I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the amount of time I should spend working on my mental game vs. the amount I should spend on studying strategy. So I want to take a moment and tell you why I believe that practicing and studying mental game concepts is vastly more important than the study and practice of poker strategy.
I can watch all the training videos, read all the poker strategy books, analyze hands until I’m blue in the face, but none of that matters if I am unable to keep myself in the proper mental state needed to actually execute that strategy, or find myself so tilted that the proper strategic move is completely invisible to me.
So what I’m shooting for, and would recommend you consider as well, is a ratio of about 70% mental game study to about 30% strategy study. I would guess that most players, especially low-limit players are closer to about 95% strategy study to 5% mental game study. That is for those low-limit players who are studying at all, and that number has got to be pretty low. I would have to guess that less than 10% of low-limit players do any kind of formal poker study beyond browsing forums and occasionally talking through hands with friends post-session (what do you think? Am I underestimating here? Think there’s more studying being done than that? Leave a comment).
The great thing about mental game study is how it improves not only your poker game but your entire life. Deliberate practice of meditation, for example, is not only going to make you a more patient, focused, less-tilted player, it will make you a more patient, focused, less-tilted person.
What do you think? Agree that mental game study is more important than strategy study or am I way off base here? What are you doing to tilt less and improve your mental state on and off the table? Any recommendations to the community on how to study and improve your mental game? Let’s hear about it in the comments!
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