In an interview with Super High Roller Matt Berkey, Pokernews.com asked the question: “What are the biggest mindset leaks an average poker player deals with when playing in live tournaments?”
A leak in poker is defined as a weakness that results in an element of poor play and bad overall strategies that consistently reduces a player's winnings.
“I'm just speaking to my experience as I'm no expert in the world of psychology, but I think the common leak is succumbing to emotional responses during problem-solving,” Berkey said. “So many people take action based upon what they want or hope to have happen, only later to justify [that action] through flawed logic.
“This [leak] still remains quite prevalent even at the highest levels, but it's much subtler and specific to assertions. I think at the highest levels people suffer from impressions they've gained of certain opponents over a tiny sample leading them to misapply that assertion incorrectly.
“The phrase "figures don't lie, but liars figure" loosely applies — in other words, a biased mindset rooted in arrogance or disrespect toward an opponent can lead to reverse-engineering the numbers based on these flawed assumptions to further the narrative that the original premise was correct all along. I'd wager it's largely what's kept Phil Hellmuth successful for so long.”
In a recent podcast featured at Smart Poker Study, ten of the most common poker leaks are revealed as well as methods used in which to fix them.
Distraction and exhaustion are two that the average individual can relate to without having any knowledge of poker.
The website Zazenlife.com reflects on the element of distraction in poker play:
“When I am playing in a poker game, my focus is on nothing else except making the most profitable decision every time it is my turn to act. There is an abundance of distractions in live poker, and also online poker. In live games, I see many people not paying attention to every hand, instead they are watching TV or browsing on their iPhone. The disadvantage of this is that when they get involved in a hand, they lack prior information given away by opponents in past hands. This concept is known as meta-game, and without proper understanding and awareness of it, your game and win rate will massively suffer.
“To stay as distraction free as possible, bring some headphones to listen to music. Music during poker usually puts me in a trance This state of extreme focus allows my mind to dedicate all of its power and resources to figuring out my opponents tendencies, and how I am going to exploit them. I want to pick up more information than I give away, as poker is a game of incomplete information and mystery. The mystery gets closer to being solved if you simply pay attention to the hands your opponents are playing, and how they are playing them.
“If you get bored with playing poker sometimes, it is safe to say you will not be a top professional in this lifetime. All top pro’s are not only extremely skilled at poker, they absolutely love to play the game. Much like an athlete will train everyday, poker players will play or study each day they can. I enjoy studying poker because I believe building a solid poker mindset also gives you a nice foundation for living a super conscious and abundant life.”
- Ace King, Gambling911.com