Just for the record

If the numbers show you’re down, then it’s time to analyse your game

It’s time to come clean. No, I’m not suggesting that you suddenly confess to your dear ol’ mum that you smoke or tell your boss that his breath makes you wretch and that you’d rather walk across a bed of burning coals than sit in a confined meeting room with him. What you need to do is be honest with yourself.

Are you one of the many losing poker players that would never admit to themselves, let alone to someone else, that they’re in the red? Think of the number of people you’ve bumped into who claim they break even or win a little ‘extra on the side’ compared to those who say they’re down. There’s a critical imbalance and someone’s got to be fibbing.

Ask yourself how successful you really are and remember that the mind absolutely loves to lie to itself. Whose subconscious would let its owner think of itself as a loser bar the most Tony Hancockesque lump of grey matter? The brain trains itself to forget the time that you thundered through a couple of days’ wages, decimating your bankroll in the process, yet one deep-in-themoney tournament finish will stick in your mind for months.

Write it down

I got fed up questioning my own mind’s veracity so began to keep ever-so-slightly anal records of what I’d staked, won and lost. It means that whenever you’re going though a period of selfdoubt and the cards don’t seem to be falling your way you can flip back to your ledger/spreadsheet/ scribbles on a matchbox and see in black and white that overall you’re a winning (or losing) player. If the numbers show that you’re down, then it’s time to analyse your game and consider the stakes you’re playing at. It may be an uncomfortable truth but it will turn you into a better player.

So don’t let your mind convince you that you’re better – or worse – than you really are. It may sound unnecessarily grandiose but if the human mind was simple enough to understand, we’d be too simple to understand it. There are more things ticking and whirring away upstairs than you can possibly account for.

The good news is that you can train the brain to make you fitter, happier and more productive at the table via hypnotherapy. It may sound all a bit Derren Brown but it’s improved my game no end – and now I’ve even got the records to prove it.

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