Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Winning Mindset

Well first of all, it looks like 6 out of 7 wasn't meant to be. I did manage to come in 2nd in the latest SNG, but it was a real tough one to work through with a lot of coinflip situations towards the end, and the final blow coming in an epic AJs vs. 33 preflop push-call. I hit two pair but he hit a set and I was done. If I win that hand I'm looking at reversing the 2-1 lead and hopefully taking it down, but ah well. I certainly can't be sour about these recent stats...

$10 SNG's - First 7 Games
1. - 1st
2. - 1st
3. - 6th
4. - 1st
5. - 1st
6. - 1st
7. - 2nd

This nice little win-gasm has got me thinking more about the mentality involved in player poker, primarily the balance between optimism, pessimism, and realism and how you approach each game and even each hand. In SNG's you certainly see the pessimism kick in whenever a wild player loses a fair amount of their stack and pushes the rest of their chips in immediately on the next hand. They could still be in a not-so-desperate situation as well, like with 750 left with the blinds at 30/60.

In my case, the mental transition between my streak of winlessness and mediocre 2nd and 3rd places in $5 games, to my current hot run at the $10 level, has been huge. I didn't really notice it until I finished 2nd in this past one though. Instead of thinking "alright, a 2nd place finish not bad, moving that bankroll up another notch," I was thinking "oh man, 2nd place, I really wanted to win that one." I had gotten so used to winning $10 SNG's that I was fully focused on that #1 spot from the first hand to the last in each game, and I played as solid as I could in aggressively but patiently going after it.

Back in my $5 mini-slump I kind of approached each game with a little pessimistic voice in the back of my head telling me I probably wasn't going to win, and each time I nailed down another close-but-no-cigar 2nd or 3rd place finish I would just shrug and think "yup, it figures, oh well." That's the worst thing about a streak, although it can also be the best thing, depending on whether the run is hot or cold. This crazy run of wins was exactly what I needed to kick some confidence back into me and get me going into each game with a positive mindset rather than a so-so attitude about winning. Hopefully this'll remind some of you that may be slumping to keep your head up and just take it one hand at a time.

Best of luck. - B

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