Review: The Mental Game of Poker by Barry Carter and Jared Tendler

The full title of this book is “The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies For Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More” which is quite a mouthful, but then this is quite a book.

This really is about the game of poker as it happens in your head. It does not concern itself with how to play the cards, but concentrates on how to play the mental game. The authors see the mental side of poker as crucial. It is one of the few games that you can play perfectly yet still lose consistently. The book provides step-by-step instructions which are presented simply and which anyone can utilise to control psychological problems such as tilt, controlling emotions, handling fear, dealing with variance, and maintaining motivation.

Recommendations include maintaining mental histories of every hand as well as game histories. This way it becomes possible to analyse your emotional states as well as your actual card play. It does not intend that you stifle or deny your emotions, but gives you the tools to understand them so that you can address the underlying causes of the problems that you encounter and well as providing you with short term strategies to deal with them. The book also teaches how to understand the emotional state of your opponents.

This is a book that can change the game of poker as you know it, and it can change your poker life forever. No real poker player can avoid the issues that they are dealt with, and every poker player needs to find a way to deal with them. This book not only gives you the whys and the wherefores, it also gives you the how’s.

The guidance is just as applicable to playing online pokies as it is to playing it in a live poker room. If you buy only one poker book this year, then make it this one if you want to make rapid progress.

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