About Barry Carter

The Pareto Principle and the Mental Game of Poker

think!I wrote a piece about the Pareto Principle in Poker last year for TitanBet Poker. For those of you that don’t know, it is a popular mathematical theory that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. For example 80% of healthcare budgets are used by 20% of the patients. 80% of crimes are caused by 20% of criminals. The exact numbers don’t have to be 80/20, but the point of the principle is to point out areas where you can make disproportionate increases in productivity.

I identified a ton of poker examples too. For example table position. If you look at Hold’em Manager, chances are that around 80% of your winnings are from the hands where you had position. 80% of your winnings probably came from 20% of the (bad) players. Also if you practice good hand selection, 80% of your winnings probably come from the top 20% of your hands.

These are all in the realm of the mathematical, but the same principle can easily be applied to your mental game too. Again, you are not looking for an exact 80/20 split; you are simply looking for areas where there is a big imbalance between effort and reward. [Read more…]

Mental game podcast – Daniel Negreanu

The Mental Game of Poker Podcast is back with a special guest – Daniel Negreanu! He and Jared discuss the merits of positive thinking in poker.

Positive Poker

The Mental Game of Dog Training – guest post by Cian Liddy

One of the really unexpected joys that has come from The Mental Game of Poker has been the ways in which people have used the lessons in other aspects of their life away from the tables. As a dog owner, I was particularly interested to here how Cian Liddy used the teachings of the book to understand his own dog’s behaviour better. I must admit without realising it, I also used the Adut Learning Model as a framework for training my dog. So it’s my pleasure to turn the reigns over to Cian (Who you may know as Sheeprustler in poker circles) and let him explain further

unnamedI have a couple of Border Collies that I regrettably do not give enough time to training. I have taught them the basics: sit, stay, fetch, roll-over and heel; but their potential to learn is under-nourished in my care. However, through basic training and time spent with them I have been struck by how similar training a dog is to learning a new skill or embedding new knowledge. Observing the process of a dog learning a new command is very similar to the human process of learning a new skill or understanding a difficult concept. Understanding where you or your dog are in the learning process is crucial for both of you to develop optimally. The core theory I relate both learning processes to is the Adult Learning Model (ALM) as discussed in Jared and Barry’s “Mental Game of Poker”.

At first glance the comparison of canine learning to the ALM may seem stupid. How can a dog be consciously incompetent or otherwise? It is unaware its own abilities. The truth is we as humans are often unaware of where we are in the learning process even when we are aware of what the ALM is. The ALM defines stages of a mental and physical process through the lens of how we are consciously or unconsciously aware or unaware of that process. The truth is that even if we are unaware of what the process is the same mental and physical learning patterns take place. All of us learned how to drive a car following the ALM model even though most of us were unaware of the process.

Being aware of the learning patterns described by that theory should give us a much better understanding of ourselves and how best to manage each step. It doesn’t always work that way however. Some of us, myself included, can criticise ourselves heavily for not performing a task correctly when what is required is an awareness that we have not yet fully mastered that task; we need to nurture the skill and move it to the next stage of the ALM. Our dogs often bear the brunt of our anger when they don’t do what we want. The truth is we have probably neglected training our dog to perform the task to the canine level of unconscious competence. [Read more…]

New Evidence that Multitabling is not Mindless

Elkymultitabling_4By now I would hope that most serious players realise that multitabling is not the mindless form of poker that early detractors of the online game suggested it was.

Rather than following a ‘standard’ ABC cheat sheet formula, successful online grinders have mastered so much poker knowledge to the level of instinct that they are able to call on it instantly without having to think about it.

In fact Jared has been one of the biggest advocates of the complexity of mass poker multitabling, having coached many players to the level of Supernova Elite on PokerStars.

We have already written plenty on the importance of training skills to the level of habit, but this week I discovered some research which gave even more insight into how successful online grinders are able to multitable profitably.

[Read more…]

The Top Five Mental Game of Poker Podcasts (So far)

mza_2443368573763171259.170x170-75Right now Jared is enjoying his honeymoon, so it gives me the opportunity to write something I know he wouldn’t.

I’m sure Jared would say all the guests on his Mental Game of Poker Podcast were just as good as each other, however today I have picked out five particular episodes that I think all players can learn a great deal from.

All of his guests have been fantastic, but for me the following five guests really are shows all serious players should listen to:

[Read more…]

Why do we make Spite Calls?

carrierevenge-thumb-510x328-50950In the Mental Game of Poker 1 we talk a lot about a type of tilt we call Revenge Tilt. The name is pretty self explanatory, it is the type of tilt inspired by losing to a particular reg that makes you want to get him back. Revenge Tilt, like all types of Tilt, causes you to abandon a proven winning strategy and play too loose and/or aggressively against the player that pissed you off.

We talk in length about why Revenge Tilt happens, what the symptoms look like and how to deal with it. Last week I listened to a fantastic podcast from Freakonomics (A must listen podcast and a must read book of the same name) that provided a deeper evolutionary explanation on why it happens. The episode was all about spite and cited research from Benedikt Herrmann from the University of Nottingham school of Economics.

Most economists believe humans are Homo Economicus, ie. we are hard wired to act in our own self interest. However Herrmann believes we are actually Homo Rivalis. This means instead of being motivated by what would benefit us the most, we are inherently motivated by what we have relative to other people. Keeping up with the Joneses as it were. [Read more…]

Poker Mindset Hacks: How to Improve When You Don’t Have Much Time

imagesThere are only so many hours in a day, and especially when you have a job and/or full time studies, it can be difficult to find the time to work on your poker game away from the tables.

Jared and I recently received an email from a fan of the book called Derek. It was a rare instance where Jared referred someone in need of help to me instead of answering himself, because it was about time management, a topic I am something of a nerd on.

Derek had a problem many of us can relate to; he wanted to continue to make progress with his poker game despite being short on time. He worked upwards of 60 hours a week, tried to get to the gym and also spend quality time with his girlfriend. How on earth could he also fit in time to improve as a poker player?
[Read more…]