Does being staked improve your mental game?

Jared Tendler joins us to warn us about the way your mindset changes when you are playing with somebody else's bankroll.

Poker coach Jared Tendler
Jared Tendler

I’ve been a mental game coach to all manner of elite athletes, traders and even gamers, but there is something about poker that brings a whole other level of pressure. It is probably the fact that you are playing with your own money, and losing money is never just about the money, it always means something else much more personal. Money also represents your security, your stability, being able to support your family, proving your ability, your ambition, freedom, and so many other things.

So because money adds a tremendous extra dimension of pressure, one might assume that it is a no brainer to get staked by a company like SpinLegends. I’ve worked with a lot of staking groups over the years and it is true that being staked can help in many ways, but it also has its own mental game issues if you are not careful, which I will lay out today so you can make informed choices.

The best thing about getting staked for some players is that it takes the pressure off. But the worst thing about getting staked for them is that it takes the pressure off.

Staking reduces severity

Poker tilt
Tilt won't go away, but it will be less severe

Let’s start with the good. Pressure doesn’t so much cause mental game problems as much as it exposes them more easily and more severely. If you have a Tilt problem, it doesn’t go away because you are staked, but it is certainly much less severe. I wouldn’t use staking as a solution to Tilt, I would use it as a way to work on fixing a Tilt problem in a much safer, less volatile way.

Poker is usually a solitary game and the other reason to go with a staking team is you get a lot of very practical learning benefits. If you are just getting staked by another player who is not hands on with you, it can actually hamper your progress, because you don’t feel the urgency to learn.

However, a good staking group overrules this because they can provide support and coaching, as well as letting you know when you need to work harder. If you are looking to get staked, make sure there is also a really good infrastructure to improve too.

No fear, no focus

Poker focus
Fear makes you focus on what needs working on

The problems with being staked is that it can greatly reduce your focus and motivation if you are not careful. Human beings have evolved to use pressure as fuel to perform, it is precisely the fear of losing all your money that can keep you focused and always learning. I have worked with many players who are staked who do not have this pressure, and as such they treat poker like a video game where the money doesn’t seem real.

This can also lead to overconfidence with some players, they can go on a downswing but not feel any of the emotions they probably should be feeling. This can lead them to be reckless and gamble too much in an attempt to get it back. Without the pressure of the money, there is also the potential to lose the feedback mechanisms which cause them to reflect on how they are playing and what could be improved. Even if they were unlucky, losing usually forces players to work harder, because that is something within their control.

Most of these problems go away when the staking group has a solid infrastructure of support and mentorship. I’d actually argue that the bigger reason to join a staking group is for the ability to become a better player with structured learning, with the financial considerations being secondary.

Thinking about getting staked?

If you want to learn more about Spin & Go’s and how to get free staking and coaching from some of the biggest experts in the game, visit SpinLegends today.

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Comments (1)

  • GingerKid


    Ok the whole article is actually commercial for staking.