Mental Game - The Process Model

    • VBlue
      VBlue
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2012 Posts: 37
      In preparation for the coming month and for my next blog epsiode, I want to achieve a few immediate changes to my game.

      The Process Model is explained by Jared Tendler, in The Mental Game of Poker, as a cyclical approach to playing poker (or any game for that matter). It takes in Preparation--Performance--Results--Evaluation--Analysis. I want to concern myself with the three stages which involve work away from the tables.

      My questions to you all:

      Preparation - How do you prepare? What do you do before you start a session playing poker? Physical preparation and/or mental preparation? Inspirational - listening to a piece of music/reviewing goals? Setting session goals? Reviewing hands?

      Evaluation - How do you evaluate your session performance? When do you do this (straight afterwards is Jared's recommendation)? What elements of your play do you evaluate (I am working on introducing a scoring system evaluating Concentration, Focus, Session Goals).

      Analysis - How much time do you spend in between sessions? What do you evaluate? How does it help? What tools/forums/etc do you use?

      Added bonus - not sure how I have never seen this before, but anyone wanting to ask Jared anything - http://jaredtendlerpoker.com/forum/ask-jared/
  • 12 replies
    • VBlue
      VBlue
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2012 Posts: 37
      I strongly believe that Jared Tendler is one of, if not the, leading experts in Mental Game strategy.

      The Process Model is a big part of a winning approach to playing poker and improving your game.

      I know there are some very good players and some successful players in this community.

      Are we not able to get some discussion going on this?

      Over 50 vierws so far, but no responses. Does anyone have anything to say on this?
    • Raknyo
      Raknyo
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.12.2011 Posts: 422
      Sorry, I read this thread a couple times before posting because I've been too zonked to make a post, but fear no more!

      I have found this model very helpful in the past month, it has turned me from a losing player to a winning player and I've finally gained the confidence and bankroll to move up to NL5.

      I will explain to you how I usually spend my time when it comes to poker. I first make sure that I create a separate word document each day where I track my progress and use it to evaluate my sessions and individual hands.

      Preparation
      I make sure that I study at least a little bit everyday, you can't playing good poker without a strong grasp on the fundamentals and theory behind choosing each action.

      When preparing for my actual poker session, I create a list of achievable goals which I want to achieve for this session. I create these goals to help try to combat my greatest weaknesses and use previous evaluations or analysis to see where these areas are.

      This may include, being sure to keep distractions away from my work area, trying to implement new strategy or just not making a common mistake of mine (eg. not 4-betting lightly).

      For a lot of the month, I have been meditating for roughly 10 minutes before playing but have also had great success with listening to a favourite song beforehand. I've stopped meditating as much now, but I'd like to still continue with it when I feel that I've not as focused as I should be.

      I then read over my most recent notes so these concepts are fresh in my brain, before finally re-reading my list of goals and then actually playing. This may seem like overkill, but this process can be done in less than 15 minutes (if your not meditating) and I've got to say the results are generally a lot better when I prepare well beforehand.

      Performance
      When playing, I use a notepad to write down any mistakes I realise or to note anything which I am pleased about (eg. made a good fold instead of 4-bet light). I also mark any interesting or tricky hands using the feature in PokerTracker.

      Evaluation
      When I finish, I use my notepad and goal list to help evaluate my session, being sure to write positive, negative and neutral comments. I then right a short summary, trying to focus on what I think is most important as well as what I think I have learnt, if anything, from this session.

      Analysis
      Before evaluating new hands, I check the forums for the judges comments on hands which I posted yesterday. I make sure I totally understand the thought processes on these hands before evaluating my most recent session.

      I evaluate my hands after a break which is sometimes 15 minutes, sometimes a day but I think it's best to leave a longer period of time when analysing your session as you can see things in a slightly different perspective. I pick the most difficult hands to evaluate first, using the material available to me to decide what action has the greatest EV on every street. Any hands which I find I am unsure about the correct play, I post on the hand evaluation forums. Also, I try to write what I have gained from evaluating every hand, eg. need to focus more on pot control with weak top pairs.

      Conclusion
      As with any process, you have to fine-tune it along the way. It's taken me nearly a month to get it to exactly how I want it but everyday I look for new ways to improve my processes, whether it be thought processes or my work process.

      Overall, the process model is great as it provides me with a good structure to tackle poker with. I spend roughly 1/3 of my time studying/revising content, a 1/3 playing poker and 1/3 doing post-game analysis such as hand evaluations. It's great because every night I can do to sleep knowing that I have improved from the day before.
    • VBlue
      VBlue
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2012 Posts: 37
      Fantastic reply Sir.

      Very informative. I will reply more as soon as I get chance and am very keen to enter into further discussion with you.
    • VBlue
      VBlue
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2012 Posts: 37
      I drafted this last night. What do you think?

      Preparation

      15 minutes pre-game warm up and preparation:


      1.Review short-term and long-term goals. The session is about playing poker. Remind yourself why you are playing and what your successes will look like
      2.Review my A game, B game, and C game. Cut out the mistakes of the C game and instead focus on the elements that make up my A game
      3.Make any session goals I want, in line with my current game analysis and coaching
      4.Review any coaching notes or hand history feedback that is relevant to the improvements I am working on currently or my session goals
      5.Prepare drinks, snacks, and session music
      6.Inspire the coming session with a favourite piece of music, short video, or reading some quotes

      Evaluation

      Score each of the following areas on a scale of 1-5, 1 = excellent, 2 = very good, 3 = good, 4 = poor, 5 = very poor:

      1.Achievement of session goals
      2.Focus on the session and avoidance of distractions
      3.Concentration on the game and all the nuances as opposed to just mashing buttons
      4.Tilt-control
      5.Range reading skills
      6.Overall decision making ability
      7.Note-taking

      Also take some game-flow notes or thoughts about hands I want to analyse later.

      Did I see any progress in the work you I am doing on my game?

      Anaylsis

      1.Review last sessions hand history and post one or two hands for discussion - 1 - 2 hours
      2.Breakthrough Poker Coaching (online coaching course material) - 1 hour - 1.5 hours
      3.Mental game work - 1 hour - 2 hours
      4. Equity calculations - 0.5 hours to 1 hour

      Total work per week - 5 hours
    • Schnitzelfisch
      Schnitzelfisch
      Bronze
      Joined: 08.11.2008 Posts: 4,952
      Hey there,

      I think the reason why people don't reply to this thread a whole lot is that even though a lot of people have read Jared's book, there are unfortunately very few people who actually apply it (the same as with any other book, really). Therefore, they haven't really devised their own warm-ups, cooldowns, etc.

      Since I don't have problems with my mental game, I can tell you a couple of things that I do to work on my game.

      Preparation:

      I go through my notes and select one of the leaks/new things that I will be focusing on during the session. In case that I'm not 100% focused, I also visualize playing calm and write down any things that might be inside my head. I also like to turn on some music for the background and set a timer for my session to remind me to take a break.

      Evaluation:

      I do a short evaluation right after the session. I mostly evaluate how good i've managed to work on the leak/thing i was trying to implement during a session. If I was dissatisfied with anything during the session, I write that down as well.

      Analysis:

      I review hands together with a friend and post the ones that we're not sure about on the forums. We also do a lot of sweat sessions. I also have private coachings with a coach. I generally spend way more time working on my game than just grinding. I put in just enough volume to apply what I've learned/to fix leaks. From time to time, I do some db analysis as well, and discuss some concepts within a study group. Of course I again take the time to apply everything that I learn afterwards.

      I hope that helps :) .

      -SF
    • VBlue
      VBlue
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2012 Posts: 37
      Agreed Schnitzelfisch - one of the very things that Jared cites as being an indicator of being a mental game fish is those who read a book and expect they can now crush the game like the author does, or apply every concept in it.

      Thanks for your input - (I'm sure you have some mental game work to do - even Tiger Woods has a mental game coach right?)

      I would love to add a few people to this and compare notes.

      Raknyo - are you still reading?
    • DrRaab
      DrRaab
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.12.2011 Posts: 694
      I'm slowly listening to the audio version of it. So far got some good pointers.
      I'd say for a warm up i do a few of the quiz's on the sight and then do a little bit of work with equilab.
      Post session i generally look through all of my hands and see if there are any spots i didn't pick up while playing. I then post any hands i am not sure about. Recently i have started recording out of ten how i felt i played and also how little or how much i let my emotions get the better of me
    • Raknyo
      Raknyo
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.12.2011 Posts: 422
      Yes I am still reading, your post was very informative and I started using it after I read it and it helped tweak my routine to feel even more structured and beneficial.

      Then I decided I was an awesome player and that I could 4-table Zoom with out using the process model, oh how I was wrong. When I stopped using the process model, my game deteriorated and I was a single buy-in from having to move back down to NL2.

      My confidence was shattered but I began to once again use the process model, and after gaining some confidence on NL2, I am now back on NL5 enjoying a sustainable win-rate playing over 1000 hands an hour on Zoom. May this be a word of warning to others, using the process model saves poker lives!

      Actually, I didn't evaluate my session properly today but it's my main priority for tomorrow so I don't slip back into a losing player.
    • VBlue
      VBlue
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2012 Posts: 37
      Good to hear from you and really good to be so honest.

      I was hoping to have a sick brag bra with a score for just shy of $1k last night in a $5k GP on ipoker - which I was chip leader in for a decent while and with 27 remaining. Unfortunately, I let my focus go, my concentration level dropped off and I bluffed off my remaining stack to finish 12th.

      Fortunately, Jared Tendler's previous advice has been valuable (wish I had remembered it or had it stuck on a flash card above my laptop) and I hope to be able to correct the mental game error next time this happens.

      I had been playing 4.5 hours and was tired, gone a little card dead and got frustrated slightly when I opened some weaker parts of my range and got pushed off pre-flop.

      Jared recommends Injecting Goals at this stage - where we go back to our session goals and short term and long term goals to help us refocus for the business end.
    • VBlue
      VBlue
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2012 Posts: 37
      Analysis

      I am struggling with analysis sessions. I am finding myself a little tired at the end of the week and lacking in motivation for a start, but I think the main problem is not knowing how to go about a constructive and concise session.

      How do you all analyise your sessions? Do you use hand replayers and run through the whole session? Do you mark hands during a session and review them only? How do you use HM2 - I am a complete n00b when it comes to trackers so any pointers to helpful articles would be greatly appreciated.

      I also have an online coaching recording with a pro on equity calculations and note-taking, which I hope will help. I am pretty poor at both of these too.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,904
      I review big winners/losers

      Oddly, I can usually spot mistakes in the losers.
      I tend to doubt my play in the winners, so I post them to the HE forums.

      I then use the coaches evaluations as part of prep for next session.
    • Raknyo
      Raknyo
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.12.2011 Posts: 422
      Thought I'd come share my horror stories so that others can learn from my mistakes. I recently haven't been studying or analysing my games at all and well, now my once $200 BR is a measly $13. This is mostly due to playing whilst intoxicated and playing on higher limits with too many Zoom tables but still, practising the process model could have easily prevented this.

      I could sit and complain about 'bad luck' or whatever but I'd be hiding my mistakes with a shit-stained curtain. Instead, I'm going to be honest and realise that I need to start reading through TMGP once more and revise my ancient techniques.

      When I used to analyse my sessions, I'd mark any noticeably bad hands so I could prevent those errors from happening next time. Conscious mistakes are easier to fix cause your already thinking about that, so I think it makes sense to get them out of the way first. I'd also mark any interesting hands and be sure to analyse these as well as big pots (since big pots, generally means bigger mistakes).

      PS. I use PokerTracker 4, it's just the trial version but I find it works very well. Your able to mark hands easily in-game, even if running multiple tables.