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The Poker Mental Scorecard: How to put yourself in the best position to win

The Poker Mental Scorecard: How to put yourself in the best position to win

There are really only two scenarios for all poker players.

You either know you’re NOT doing everything you can to improve away from the tables (and therefore you should never expect to win on them).

Or you know you ARE doing everything you can to improve away from the tables (and whatever happens at the table, happens).

“I study a lot and there’s a reason for it,” says BBZ founder Jordan ‘bigbluffzinc’ Drummond. “Today I’m a stronger player than I was yesterday and for that reason, I deserve to win more often than I deserved to yesterday.”

But how can we hold ourselves accountable for the work we’re putting in outside of our sessions? It’s all too easy to watch ten minutes of a training video before a session and convince ourselves we’ve done enough.

“Focus on the number of the days you’re playing, the amount of volume you’re putting in when you play, the number of hours you’re studying, the people you’re teaming up with to go through study material,” says BBZ.

In a recent BBZ Daily Seminar, performance coach Francois Hamel talked through a poker mental scorecard with a BBZ student. The scorecard allows you to keep track of everything you’re doing throughout the week to give yourself the best possible chance of winning.

At the end of each week, you score yourself (and be honest!) based on the work you put in, how you applied what you learned etc.

Here’s what it looks like:

The scorecard has 11 ‘Statements of intent’, broken down into five dimensions. Let’s go through them.

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STUDY

Statement of intent: I studied as much as I wanted to

What do you consider a healthy amount of studying for you?

Three hours per week? Five hours? Ten?

If at the end of the week you feel you didn’t get enough solid study in, mark yourself out of ten and then look for ways you can make more time next week.

Statement of intent: My studying was of a high quality

Of the studying you did do, how impactful do you think it’s been on your game?

If you only studied for a couple of hours but you had some breakthroughs and absorbed a lot of information in that time, you might consider it high quality.

Then again you may have studied for ten hours throughout the week, but the material you watched wasn’t of a high standard. In that case, you’re probably going to want to look for better training material.

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IMPLEMENTATION

Statement of intent: I employed my learnings at the tables

How well do you think you applied everything you learned during the week during your poker sessions?

It’s all well and good studying a lot, but if you don’t apply and execute your learnings at the table, you haven’t moved forward.

Just look at Lex Veldhuis. The Twitch star often says on his stream that he’s excited to play because he’s been studying a lot and he wanted to try out the new things he’s learned. Do the same.

Statement of intent: I discussed my ideas with others and got feedback

It’s not always easy to allow yourself to be vulnerable. You might think that sharing behind the scenes of your poker play with others exposes you to criticism (and you’re right) but it will only make you a stronger player.

The BBZ Poker Discord is the perfect place to share your ideas and hand histories and receive friendly and constructive feedback.

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FORTITUDE

Statement of intent: I felt mentally prepared before my sessions

Do you dive right into a session or do you warm up beforehand with some sims or training videos?

Do you rush home from work and jump on the computer immediately or do you give yourself time to calm down and meditate before playing?

Statement of intent: I coped with bad beats well

Your ability to brush off bad beats and continue to play well without tilt is something all of us strive to improve every session.

Think back to the bad beats you endured this week and consider how you handled them.

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RECOVERY

Statement of intent: I set time aside for non-poker thoughts / hobbies / relaxation

Life is all about balance. Do you think your week was balanced between poker and non-poker activities?

If not, try to get out of the house more and engage in more non-poker pastimes next week.

Statement of intent: I ate and hydrated well

Eating and drinking healthily–not to mention sleeping well–can have a huge impact on your performance at the tables.

Rate your diet and drink choices this week then switch things (if necessary) and precook your meals for next week.

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MEASURE

Finally, you should keep track of the important stats about your poker week.

  • Hours playing
  • Hours studying
  • Hours recovering

This way you can monitor them and optimize them to ensure you play your best each week.

Try setting up your own poker mental scorecard. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable and give yourself peace of mind that you’re doing everything you can to improve.

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