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The Mental Game of Poker

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  854 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Published 2011
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Alexander Fitzgerald
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a professional poker player for over a decade there is not much poker literature I actually enjoy. As the most prolific tournament coach in the game today I have to do my homework. I can not tell you how many false statements I read in most texts. It bores me. It's been a while since I finished a poker book.

This was not the case with Jared Tendler's tome. While on occasion he does seem to go around in circles this is still the best book ever written on the mental aspect of poker. I read much
Jun 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Shipman
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As someone who has struggled with tilt, Jared Tendler not only delves into the subject but goes into the why's and your own personal psychology that may be contributing to the problem (and oh, it can be a problem).

What I liked about Jared Tendler was he gives you personal excercises to work on your own to discover why you tilt. They aren't easy, they are time consuming and most definitely are for the serious student of the game.

I actually wrote him (foolishing thinking I could afford his help)
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Having playing poker for many years I have become accustomed to the many ups and downs of the game. Sometimes these ups and downs (okay, usually the downs) begin to affect me emotionally. It's something I've struggled with; focusing only on results becomes a distraction against playing well and sometimes against playing at all.

The Mental Game of Poker addresses these issues. It doesn't just notice them, it examines and dissects them. For me it helped me better understand what was really going on

Eric Iannuzzi
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great for stock traders too

read this after seeing stephen burns reccommend it. as a day trader, the techniques the author uses for dealing with poker tilt can be used to describe going on tilt in trading...its a very excellent book every day trader should read
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Donkeys, degens, fish, Phil Helmuth
As every poker player knows, poker is a game where you can play perfectly and still lose. "Variance," a fancy name for long-term randomness, makes poker a game where you don't measure your skill and win-rate by a single tournament or even weeks or months of play. Serious poker players chart their performance over literally hundreds of thousands of hands, and know that a winning, professional-level player can still experience weeks or months of downswings.

The first thing you should know about The
Anderson Huang
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Logical, thoughtful, and eye-opening, The Mental Game of Poker is not only for poker players, but for any person looking to take their mindset to the next level. I like to think of poker as a microcosm of life in some respects. So many of the emotions I experience while playing the game - fear, anger, injustice, confidence, motivation - are the same I experience in everyday life. To my pleasant surprise, The Mental Game of Poker addresses strategies on how to wrangle and overcome these emotions. ...more
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book for understanding the mechanisms of tilt.
Lane Anderson
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a number of canonical books that are considered must-reads on every poker player's bookshelf. Undisputed titles would have to include Sklansky's The Theory of Poker, Caro's Book of Poker Tells, Brunson's Super System, Harrington on Hold'em, and a few others.

Since its publication in 2011, Jared Tendler's The Mental Game of Poker has also earned a place among Sklansky, Caro, Brunson, and Harrington in the poker literature canon. It has truly established itself as a new must-read for all
Eugene Tung
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reading the book will help you learn to control the various mental game aspects of your poker game better. It's not a cure for your mental game issues but at least it teaches you to inject logic into situations where your emotions have overtaken logic. ...more
Lukas Lukac
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended book NOT just for poker players but for everyone. Explains how nonsense behaviour we often adopt in a situations that are completely natural and predictable due to our short term thinking.
Tim Brennan
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for any serious poker player.Gives very practical strategies to manage the mental game, which can be quite challenging.
Raphael Clayette
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poker
Precious written book. It is worth its reputation. I love every part of the book. I feel more "intelligent". Thank you. I will read the volume 2. ...more
Sep 30, 2014 added it
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Robert Kelly. Learn more about Robert on the ACRL Insider blog. ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
it worked- now i'm rich! ...more
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
- Range: we all have a range of our game play, and an exceptionally bad or good game play often will do a mean reversion to the average game play we do

- It's important to realize the reality of the physical limit of your range - not what you wish the reality would be

- Most efficient way to improve is focus on the weakness first

- Always compare bad game to bad game (never a bad game with your best game)

- Preparation: Review long term goals & goals for this session, review list with the correctio
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
One aspect of poker I enjoyed, when I tried it, was the emotional aspect of it. I generally do not like to lose at things, so no matter how small the stakes are, I still go on tilt if I play badly or go on a bad run.

It was never the financial part of it, because due to my absolute distaste for actually wasting money, the max I could potentially lose was lower than a normal night out. But I don’t get mad eating at a restaurant when I get the bill. So, what is it this that gives a person such a ro
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: development
I am not the target audience for this book, but it was an interesting look into the psychology of elite players and the mental game issues that they encounter. The author started his ideas within the realm of golf mental game (where nearly everyone on the PGA has a mental game coach/psychologist) before he moved to poker at the encouragement of a friend. Through the book strategies/concepts that i learned about in other areas would pop up (like Thinking, Fast and Slow).

A new topic had not known
Daryl Vogel
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unlike most poker books that are out of date after a few years, this book, offering no poker strategy, is timeless because it deals with the psychology and mental aspect of playing poker. While the book was written for poker players, there's a lot of content that could benefit non-poker players too. This book has a lot of exercises to help people identify and manage their different emotional profiles. I can see this book being a great resource that I will return to over and over as I navigate my ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. Obviously it is written about Poker for Poker players, but I found the advice within can easily be applied to all aspects of life. I'm not a Poker player. I had flashbacks of the movie Rounders while listening to this because that movie taught me everything I know about Poker, which isn't a lot. There were terms in this book that I didnt know what they meant but I quickly caught on. I recommend you get this book as a hardcopy rather than an audiobook because there are workshee ...more
Alexandra Chauran
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poker-books
I'm new to the concept of sport psychology, so I'm not sure of how well supported by research any of the advice may be. That said, the content makes sense and contains lots of actionable food for thought. I will make good use of this content. Oh, and I read The Mental Game of Poker 2: Proven Strategies for Improving Poker Skill, Increasing Mental Endurance, and Playing in the Zone Consistently before reading this one. I still found great value in both works, even having read them in reverse. I a ...more
Shakti Chauhan
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Poker Essential. Mandatory for every human who dares to play poker for stakes/money.

This book deals with the entire Psychological aspect of Poker, which in my opinion is 30-40% of the game. If would be really irresponsible to attempt to play Poker without having the knowledge of principles and tools in this book. It could take a lifetime to master or even realise the mistakes you're making.

Reader's learning curve will be reduced by a couple of years if they apply the tools in this book.

Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although it's a book mostly focused on Poker, the sections about tilt are masterpieces and apply to all competition. Before I read this book I often tilted very easily playing games or sports. Learning more about the deeper aspects of tilt helped me to fulfill more of my potential in those areas. I would credit this book with having given me the mental platform upon which I would later go on to claim a considerable amount of 95th to 99th percentile spots on the leaderboards of a few of my favori ...more
David Clarkson
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have both read and have listened to The Mental Game of Poker as an audio-book, and have found it extremely helpful with dealing with the various mindset issues that I've encountered whilst playing an absurdly stressful game for a living.

An absolute must read for anyone who wants to take poker seriously and who feels they have leeks in their mental game.
Jay Shah
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has so many great lessons for how to approach situations, not just in poker but in life. It got repetitive towards the end but the main lessons were great and I learned a ton from this book.
Nital Jethalal
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If this book doesn't help your game, you're most likely a robot ...more
Rick Wilson
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-quake-books
Better version of "Thinking in Bets" ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Some useful stuff but this book is designed for full time poker professionals and it's somewhat hard to adapt to a once a month game :) ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it, will go back and reread it and take some further notes.
F Clark
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I listened to this and the audio quality was terrible. Some good ideas about mental approach to the game, though.
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Jared Tendler, MS, LMHC, is a leading expert in how your mental game impacts performance. His clients include world champion poker players, the #1 ranked pool player in the world, professional golfers and financial traders. Jared holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and attained a license as a mental health counselor. With over 16 years of experience coaching people from around the wor ...more

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49 likes · 7 comments
“solid player is a mental game fish if they: Change a proven winning strategy because they are running bad/hot. Never recognize when someone has played well against them and/or believe everyone they play against is bad and just gets lucky. Try to win every hand. Think the outcome of a hand can be changed by shouting, praying, or playing a favorite hand. Get frustrated when a bad player plays badly and they even educate them as to why they are bad. Feel like a failure when they lose a hand that was played profitably. Think the solution to running bad is to stop playing or change stakes. Read a poker book cover to cover and think they know everything in it. Watch some of Phil Galfond’s training videos and think they should now be able to crush the game like him. Believe that they are cursed or that other people are luckier than they are. Believe it’s possible to own another player’s soul. Play more hands when they are winning/losing. Play fewer hands when they are winning/losing. Play badly when the stakes are too small for them to care. Allow things to get personal with another regular. Tell bad beat stories to anyone that will listen, while doing nothing to improve how they react to bad beats. Say “one time.” 1 likes
“RESULTS-ORIENTED THINKING Not being results-oriented gets a lot of attention in the poker world these days. The solution most often given is to ignore, block out, or detach from your results. Players know it’s a mistake to focus too much on short-term results because of variance, but stopping is easier said than done. When you only focus on wins and losses, your emotions go on a rollercoaster because they are attached to money and winning. Being focused on winning and money in the short run is not what causes problems; it’s the set of results you’re ignoring. You also need to focus on qualitative results so your emotions can attach to factors that you have 100% control of in the short run. The process model provides the structure and organization to capture qualitative results since they aren’t easily calculated at the end of a session or tournament. Use the model to focus more and more on the quality of your play, your mental game, and overall improvement; and steadily your emotions will reorganize around this set of results.” 0 likes
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