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If you could sum up The Mental Game of Poker in three words, what would they be?
This is an extraordinary book for people who play poker regularly. I will say that this is not the first book you should read about poker if you are just starting out. Jared only covers poker strategy peripherally and there are much better resources for learning the game. That being said, if you are someone who has studied the game a fair amount, someone who wants to play poker seriously and make some money or especially if you are someone who dreams of playing professionally this book is a must have.
Just the sections on learning (concepts like the inchworm and the adult learning model) alone are worth the price of the book, but Jared goes much deeper into how these relate to common poker problems in later chapters. His in depth discussions about tilt, motivation, fear and confidence blew my mind. Instead of generally accepted poker wisdom which deals with treating the symptoms of emotion or striving to avoid emotion while playing (or avoid playing while emotional), Jared delves into finding the root causes of emotions and ultimately teaches players how to master their emotions and use them as a tool to get better at poker.
As someone who has spent a lot of time trying to control my own tilt, and made a lot of progress at reducing it, I was deeply impressed and humbled to realize that a lot of it stems from unrealistic beliefs and expectations about the game of poker and the nature of variance. It is too early to say for sure that my emotions won`t get the better of me at the table again (and, in fact, I`m sure they will), but with the strategies and insights Jared has provided in this book I am confident that I will be able to recognize and better understand my emotional responses in the future.
Ultimately the subject matter of this book extends far beyond poker. A lot of the mental hurdles faced while playing poker are the same ones faced in athletics, business, academics and even romance. Think of pressure to perform or the pain caused by a discordance between expectations and results as a couple of examples. One of my main interests is martial arts and especially the philosophies that guide developing martial artists. Jared never mentions this in his book, but a lot of the mental goals and strategies he describes are very similar to those found in the processes of ego death and transcendence of desire. These are lofty goals, and lifelong struggles, but Jared gives you all the tools needed to work hard at becoming a more zen like poker player and human being.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Mental Game of Poker?
- Dusty Schmidt's analogy about weather and variance.
- The Mental Game Fish and Mental Game Myths sections.
- The ALM and Inchworm learning models
.- The way Jared relates different mental game problems which I previously thought were separate.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jared Tendler?
There are a lot of issues with the recording of this audiobook. Unlike some of the other reviewers I don't mind Jared as a narrator, but I did find his voice/pacing a little monotonous and slow. I actually listened to the majority of this audiobook on 1.5x playback speed and found it easy to follow. The really bad part of the narration for me was the client stories. I liked the stories, but the voice used for them was atrocious. It sounds like Jared used a computer generated voice to read back the stories. It's especially jarring when a female client's words are read in this voice.
Side note, I actually know a few of the featured clients (by reputation, training videos and forum posts), and I think these stories are an essential part of relating the concepts to real life examples. Unlike the reviewer who described them as advertisements, I think they play an important role in the understanding of the material. Not only is it useful to hear the clients relate Jared's somewhat abstract strategies to concrete examples, it is also very useful to hear about people that have succeeded using these tactics. Because a lot of the concepts in this book fly in the face of conventional wisdom, and especially because a lot of the strategies/goals are lofty and will take a lot of consistent work, I think it is essential for players to have real life success examples so they are less likely to give up before achieving meaningful results.
Another issue with the recording is the very nature of the book. It is not the type of material that eloquently transfers to audio. The book features a lot of lists, suggests a lot of cross-referencing and jumping around (much easier to do on paper than in an audiobook setting), and ultimately requires a lot of re-reading to fully digest. I have no regrets about purchasing the audiobook (in fact it's the best poker decision I've made in a long time), but I will be purchasing the actual book in the near future to make sure I get the most from the material.
One last thing, I absolutely loved the brief sections narrated by the British guy. He concisely states a lot of complex ideas, and I might just be partial to accents, but his narration was a breath of fresh air.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes. I sat down to listen to the first two chapters but got hooked. I ended up listening to this book all through cooking dinner, cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry. I woke up the next day and my first thought was listening to the rest of the book, although I had to complete some other tasks first. Now that I've finished I will be reviewing the sections one by one and working through some of the suggested assignments. It's definitely not a book that can be absorbed all at once, but I found the subject matter so compelling that I couldn't put it down. Now I'm looking forward to going back and studying certain sections one at a time.
Any additional comments?
I'll be recommending this book to all of my poker playing friends (except maybe the ones I play against regularly).
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Definately recommend to all; even non-poker players. Great science-based insights for everyone who wants to be better at any activity and improve oneself at setting and accomplishing goals.
What other book might you compare The Mental Game of Poker to and why?
Jared's book and methods are to the mental side of poker what Doyle's Super Systew is to the strategy side of poker.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
Cadence was well metered but the alternate voice sounded mechanical and contrived. Should have used actual players or someone else's voice.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No. Too much info for 1 sitting.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Although I will repeat what others said before, this book is really the ultimate book when it comes to handling your mind when playing poker (and not just for that).
This book will teach you so many different things that can be applied in anything you wish to get good at.
Definitely recommend it to anyone
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Shows you the pitfalls of your mind and how you can to refocus it so you don't go off the edge 👌
1 of 1 people found this review helpful