Why you should never delete your poker database

10latouche3Have you ever been tempted to delete your Hold’em Manager or PokerTracker database because you didn’t like what you saw?

I have a lot of clients who have a real love/hate relationship with tracking software. They love how it can help them analyze their game, but hate looking at a negative line on their graphs.

When you are on a big losing streak it can be tough to stare at a constant reminder of your losses. I know many players think that deleting their database is the answer, in fact I have even seen this dispensed as advice before from other poker players. The logic here is that by deleting your database you give yourself a ‘fresh start’ to get your mind in check.

But deleting that database is much more likely to harm your game than it could ever do any good.

The fantasy of a fresh start

a45u00The same thing reminds me of the delusion we all face on January 1st. There is something about pressing the reset button that fills us with hope and inspiration. Inspiration is great, it can give us a much needed boost of energy to get things done. But inspiration on its own shows diminished returns and eventually dies down.

With New Years Resolutions you usually get off to a great start because you feel so psyched up. But before the first quarter of the year is up, most of the time you have fallen back into old habits. The problem is that although the year has changed, you haven’t.

When you delete your database you might feel good for a while, but it didn’t mean the losses didn’t happen. There are still real weaknesses that are still there and need to be worked on. Deleting your database is only going to mask the problem, which will make it much worse. It is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound.

Turn those weaknesses into strengths

pokertracker-vs-holdemmanagerMost importantly, that database has reliable data that shows you exactly where you can improve. One of my biggest pieces of advice to players unsure on what they should be learning is to work from their C-game upwards, and your losing database holds valuable insight into what your C-game looks like.

A great example of this from sport is Michael Jordan. Conventional wisdom says play to your strengths, but Jordan was famous for relentlessly working on his weaknesses in the gym and turning them into his greatest strengths. Tracking software provides the blue print for you to do the same thing.

Tracking software is a wonderful tool that holds the key to improving as a poker player. But you need to be prepared to use it to its fullest potential, and that sometimes involves having to take a long hard look in the mirror.

If you want more insight into the mental pitfalls of tracking software, check out my recent podcast on the Mental Game of Tracking Software.

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