Are you motivated? Join PokerStrategy.com’s productivity and mindset coach Primoz ‘Schnitzelfisch’ Bozic and build a solid foundation for your game
I am a productivity and mindset coach who has worked with over 70 clients both individually and hundreds more in poker psychology videos and webinars at PokerStrategy.com. I have spent years working on figuring out what separates the motivated people from demotivated people. I’ve talked to many motivated people about this and I’ve also gone through plenty of books that talked about the subject. As I realised that there’s nothing out there (no book, no course or anything similar) that would give a complete overview of motivation for poker players, I decided to write it up on my own.
The motivation to grind
I know that a lot of poker players struggle with motivation to grind, so let’s go into details here. This is actually a tough subject because there are many different possible causes, and therefore also many different solutions. I’ll go over a couple of the most common ones here.
But before we dig in, ask yourself this question: Why are you not motivated to grind? ‘I don’t know’ isn’t good enough, because deep down you do, and you need to take some time to really think and find that reason.
One of the common reasons is that you’re just playing poker to earn money and that’s all that you think about. Eventually, this just won’t be good enough. If the answer to the question is to make easy money, you need to find a higher purpose for what you’re doing. Without a proper purpose, it’s really hard to stay motivated.
Another reason is that you don’t have huge ambitions in poker. You need to have a high-aiming, challenging vision if you want to get the drive that you need to grind more.
How about boredom? Do you ever get bored of grinding and find it hard to put in volume? Well, guess what – it’s your fault. You can’t change the game, but you CAN change the way you look at it. In this case, you need to figure out a way to make poker more fun and exciting to you. For example, by including session goals when you play (focusing on a specific leak you are trying to fix or a new strategy you are trying to implement).
Are you hesitant to start grinding because you are on a downswing? In that case, you have psychological issues that I can’t help you with, but you should check out some materials from Erik Stenqvist or Jared Tendler on that subject.
Another thing that I like to do is look at poker sessions as a playground. If you don’t have issues with studying a lot to improve your game, this can help. The basic idea is that you look at the sessions as opportunities to apply and test what you’ve learned earlier, seeing what works and what doesn’t. With this approach, you will become better every single time you play – does that not sound compelling? Many clients have reported that after they study, they are really excited to go and play a session to see how the concepts work in action – why don’t you try this out?
A cool thing here is that this concept also applies to all other areas of your life. You can use it at university (working on projects to apply what you’ve learned), work, sports, nutrition, self-improvement… Every time you consume material you can play around with it and test it to see how it works in action.
The motivation to study
If you’re bored, you can make studying more fun by studying in a different way (watching videos, analyzing hands, calculating ranges…) that is more exciting for you. You can also make things more exciting by finding other people to study with you. Think about it, wouldn’t it be much more fun to discuss hands with people who you like talking to?
You can also look at studying as the creation of new ideas that you can implement while playing. So in a way, by putting in more hours in studying, your sessions will actually be more fun as well because they won’t be the same over and over again. If there’s always something new to implement, that is way more exciting than just playing on autopilot over and over again.
Perhaps you’re not motivated to study because you always study in the same way. Of course if you review ten hands, watch one video and construct five ranges each day, it will turn in a boring routine eventually. Well, guess what. You don’t have to do this! You can mix things up a bit. Why don’t you focus on watching videos one week, reviewing hands another week and constructing ranges the third week? You can then cycle these studying techniques week by week. This will allow you to balance these different areas in the long run without having the same boring routines every day.
Do you often just forget to study and get lost in playing? In that case, you can set up a system of reminders (calendar reminders, alarms and habit tracking systems), or simply include studying in your morning routine before you have a chance to forget to do it.
Maybe you’re not motivated to study because the idea of studying for three hours every day annoys you. Well in that case, you’re probably not studying at all now. Here’s the newsflash: You don’t need to start at 3 hours a day. Even if you start at 15min a day, that’s almost 100 hours a year more than you’re putting in now. Consistency is the key if you want to make good progress in the long-term, so start small but consistent. Don’t start by setting a goal to review 30 hands a day. Start at five or three hands or even one hand instead. Once you’re doing this consistently for a couple of weeks, you can slowly and gradually increase it.
By the way, this goes the same with grinding – just grinding an hour a day will bring you in 365 hours of quality volume each year. Doing challenges by mindlessly grinding 12 hours a day for a week will most likely not bring you much money and improvement, and you will spend weeks hating poker after them, complaining about how demotivated you are to grind because you are burned out.
If you are interested in taking the next step in improving your motivation, I have prepared this special worksheet for PokerPlayer readers to help you understand your own motivational issues better.
Primoz ‘Schnitzelfisch’ Bozic is a productivity coach who helps professional poker players live up to their potential and climb up the stakes faster by showing them how to actually reach the goals they set for themselves. For more poker psychology and strategy advice, visit PokerStrategy.com.