There are a lot of great poker players out there. I remember a conversation I had with one of my mentors when he was talking about another player. He said " He is the best hold'em player I have ever seen. If he is not tilting. When he tilts, he is the fish on the table".
Now let us try and streamline the natural progression of a poker player from the time he starts playing poker to becoming a great player.
Stage 1: The Newbie
You are just figuring out that a flush beats a straight.
Stage 2: The Fish
You know about the game a little, but still thinks a pair is the nuts in most pots, you cant fold Overpairs, you are a pay-off machine.
Stage 3: The Bad Reg
You know the game pretty well but do not have the resources or the inclination to be the best out there, You are happy with ur so-so win rate which is not consistent.
Stage 4: The Good Reg
You are pretty good. You know what spots to take, are positionally aware, are very alert on the table and have a decent win-rate.
Stage 5: The Crusher / The End Bauss
You walk in knowing you are the best. When you run bad, you don't lose, you just winless. You are mostly banned from all games if you live in India.
There could be more but I am just using these 5 stages for the scope of this blog.
Now, this is how the mental game affects you. It takes you from Stage 5 to a Stage 2. That's three steps back i.e. from a Crusher you go right down to a Fish.
During my recent visit to Goa I had a conversation with an old friend and he told me that the online game in India is not about technicality anymore. It's all about who tilts less. When people call poker a mental game or mental warfare or whatever, people think its about who can do math faster or figure out spots better.
In fact, it's a mental game because only if you are mentally strong, can you be a winner in this game. You can do all the math in the world, know all the combos, but if you can't apply it while you play, it beats the purpose.
will be blogging about the whole mental game part of Poker in the coming weeks. Hope it can help people cope better with the mental or the most important part of poker. Good luck for Two of a Kind on Spartan. Let the 2 best men win.