🃏3 Ideas for Pro Poker Players to Become Less Impulsive Players. To WIN!!!
I met pro poker players while walking on the beach, watching another sunrise in Rivera Maya, Mexico. One of them, after learning that I’m a brain coach immediately thought about many things he could improve working with me. One of the major things - staying calm in high-stakes situations (that poker is) to make rational decisions VS being driven by stressful or exciting emotions. Cortisol or Dopamine, losing or winning, they both equally dangerous for long-term decisions, both make you take unnecessary, very often “deadly” risks that you regret after the game. Here are 3 practices during/outside game experience that will help your logical prefrontal cortex stay online VS giving in to emotions in the most emotionally-charged games. It might cost you a fortune! Or a champion title.
1. 🥶COLD EXPOSURE
What does it do for poker?
Your body starts releasing cortisol and other stress-related hormones and you get very familiar with the feeling, you learn how to control your mind, how to stay calm when your body is flooded with stress, you learn how to think well, while stressed. In the game, when the same thing happens, your response won’t be to just check out and act on impulse, your response will be regular - think, evaluate the odds, make a decision. Result? Your chances to get the best outcome increase many folds.
Specific protocol I recommend: cold shower daily, every morning, stay in as long as you can safely. Once a week find a facility with a cold plunge, bath or similar, get in up to your neck, and with longer exhales (I demonstrate it here on stage) - stay as long as you can. I recommend getting out before or as soon as your teeth start to chatter.
2. 🧘BREATH-FOCUSED MEDITATION FOR 13 MINUTES A DAY
This specific duration of focused meditation in the study done by Wendy Suzuki’s lab has been shown to among other things improve emotional control. What does it mean? It means you stay in control when emotions start running high VS emotions controlling your decisions.
Couldn’t you use it as a Poker player? I think it’s a vital skill!
The duration of the study was 8 weeks - so start now, it’ll take some time.
Focused meditation changes the structure and function of our brain.
3. CONTROL YOUR BREATH - CONTROL YOUR MIND - CONTROL THE GAME
This is something you do during the game as often as possible, usually, it is useful to do it before you get to high stakes, but definitely useful during that time as well. What you do is simple, the same breathing I demonstrated in the cold exposure part - you use it here. Exhale-focused breaths are kind of a universal switch of our nervous system - from a fight-or-flight (and make stupid decisions) response to a rest-and-digest, calm state (when we make balanced decisions). Just breathe in, breathe out twice as long, do it 3-6 times - and you got your switch activated. - I do it anywhere, you can do it with your mouth closed so nobody notices a thing.
Use these‼️ They are the best tools out there to control your emotional responses and perform well under pressure and in high-stakes situations.
Do you practice any regularly? I feel like emotional Jedi, to be honest, after many months of consistent practice. I just can’t be pushed to overreact anymore. It's a superpower‼️