October 30, 2021
Focus is a critical element to success at the table, in fact it’s critical for any success. But in today’s day and age players face more challenges than ever before – especially if you’re invested in crypto and refreshing your portfolio every 5 minutes.
There are a lot of reasons to have poor focus, and over the last few years it’s become a bigger problem with players I’ve worked with. There is so much fighting for your attention every day that some players don’t even realize how much it affects them. A certain degree of distractibility has become so embedded in our day-to-day lives it’s become normal to be attached to your phone or constantly trying to do more than one thing at a time.
That naturally bleeds into playing – you’ve trained your mind to seek constant entertainment, novelty and connection to others. Which is problematic in a game like poker that provides a lot of opportunities for your mind to escape to something more fun.
Mental Game Tune Up for Tournament Poker
Use the code: PokerNews to get $50 off Jared Tendler’s Mental Game Tune Up for Tournament Poker training course.
Poker and crypto seem to go hand-in-hand these days. They appeal to a similar set of people, the risk takers, and my clients include numerous poker pros who have switched to full-time crypto trading, as well as those who both play and trade simultaneously. They don’t have their Bybit open, while at the same time playing poker. However, they will have relatively large investment portfolios in cryptocurrency, while they are still grinding poker as their source of income.
It’s very possible to trade crypto while keeping poker as day-to-day. Many players already do. But keep in mind where your focus should be while playing in a tournament series like the WSOP.
Prepare for Distractions
Think about the situations, at the table, when you’re most likely to have poor focus or get too distracted.
Is it when you’re card dead? Is it in the early stages when the blinds are small and not much is happening at your table? Is it environmental, like noises around you, an annoying player or a bad dealer? Or are you constantly texting, or chatting with someone, checking social media, and watching Netflix – so distractions have just become part of how you play? Or are the distractions internal – thinking about random things, past hands, or what you’re doing on dinner break?
Everyone has instances where focus wanes. Even the best in the world. But many of you are succumbing to more severe drops in focus and it’s costing you more than you realize.
I’ve found that clients improve more rapidly when they understand some key concepts about focus, which I’ll briefly touch on now.
Read more: WSOP 2021: PokerNews Staff Predictions (Part Two)
Goals Direct Your Focus
Focus is the tool for gathering the information you need to achieve your goals. The reason why you have difficulty with distractions is because all those other places that you go digging around in have something that you want.
Why are you watching Netflix instead of focusing on the action? Because at that moment being entertained is more important to you than playing high-quality poker. Why are you constantly checking your phone for text messages to respond to? Because in that moment, being social or avoiding others thinking badly of you is more important to you than playing high-quality poker.
You get the point. Focus is guided by your goals. You point your focus like you aim a flashlight, towards things that serve our goals and motivations. If you want to fix your focus, start by focusing on the right goals.
When Focus Problems are Really Emotional Problems
Emotional problems can emerge in a way that makes it seem like they are focus issues. Your ability to focus is directly impacted by tilt, fear, and confidence problems. Often the early signs of those emotions show up in such a subtle way that you don’t recognize the emotion, you just have a harder time focusing.
A common one that happens to a lot of my clients is losing a big hand. In the next few hands they have a harder time focusing. Part of their mind is still grinding on what happened in that big hand they lost. They’re confused. They’re wondering if they made a mistake. They’re thinking about what their chip stack would have been if they won the hand.
Is this a focus issue? Or is it caused by tilt, fear or confidence? For some of you it’s the latter and to firmly get yourself refocused you need to break down the emotion and come up with logic that you can use to correct it.
Another example that has happened to a number of the female poker players I’ve worked with comes when misogynistic guys make comments to them. They find it can be particularly distracting, but as we worked through why, it turned out not to be a focus issue. Those comments triggered emotion. And in order to fix their focus, they needed to address the reason why those comments caused emotion.
If your distractions are caused by emotion – that’s not a focus issue and you need to correct it like you would correct tilt, fear, or confidence issues. Because that’s what it is.
Read More: What Will Be Different About the WSOP 2021?
WSOP Crypto FOMO
If you’re into cryptocurrency as an investor, trader, or speculator, you’ll know that most of crypto Twitter is expecting the bull market to last till end of the year. Right around the time you’re playing at the WSOP.
You can’t control the market, so you have no say in the matter when crypto goes up or down. All you can do is have your plan ready for when that happens.
Keep in mind, you’re at the series to play poker. Some of the table talk might include investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies or NFTs. Your opponents could be discussing the next hot alt coin. Or maybe they flipped some NFT’s and just made 7 figures flipping a Crypto Punk or Bored Ape.
But are you going to buy something while you’re waiting on your next hand? I doubt it. It’s all fun and games to talk about your hobbies or investments, crypto included. But don’t let it distract you from your purpose. You’re in Vegas to win a bracelet. So maintain that focus and stack those chips. Later on you can work on your crypto or NFT holdings or trades.
The Mental Game Tune-Up
I’d love to coach each and every one of you leading up to the WSOP, but it’s just not practical. With that in mind, I created my first-ever video course to help as many of you as possible prepare to be at your best for tournament play.
In the course you dive into the following key areas:
Set Your Goals
Know Your Game
Control Tilt and Other Emotions
Get Into the Zone
Thrive Under Pressure
Maintain Focus at the Table
Train Your Decision-Making Process
These modules are based on my experience with clients preparing for big events and actually include recorded coaching sessions with accomplished professionals Matt Affleck and Diego Ventura.
You’ll get 13 hours of video content for less than a buy-in at the WSOP. You can find more information here on my website. Use the code PokerNews to save $50.
Best of luck at the tables!