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Author Topic: Book review: The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler and, er, Dave Shoelace  (Read 27026 times)
TightEnd
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« on: April 14, 2011, 11:48:31 AM »



Book Review

The Mental Game of Poker

by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter

Sports psychologist Jared Tendler, was a wannabe Pro golfer then a mental game goach in the Golfing World before he switched to Poker in 2007. Assisted by Barry Carter, The Mental Game of Poker takes us through Tendler's work in giving as the book cover says “Proven strategies for improving tilt control, confidence, motivation, coping with variance and more”

Before I read the book I received an email from our very own Barry. This was just as well because the contents page on it's own looked daunting! The email said that the book was not meant to be a cover to cover narrative read, more to be used as a Mental Manual for Poker, where players would read the first part of the book, the necessary part for all readers, then dip into later stages that suited them and with the help of a Questionnaire focus where suited them best.

Encouraged, I started reading. The first point to note is that the detail in theories and case studies is superb. One without the other would not have worked. All theory and no application and there is merely a dry textbook. All Case Study and no theory, and the backbone to a player's potential improvement is not present. For what we have here seems to be an advancement on the traditional approaches to the Psychology of Poker espoused by Schoonmaker amongst others. Tendler explains as follows:

“If there were no way to control whether you play in “the zone” or go on tilt, my work as a mental game coach would be nothing more than blow­ing smoke up your ass. Tilting and playing your best happen for predict­able reasons and occur in predictable patterns. As a poker player, you profit from your ability to analyze the patterns and habits of your oppo­nents. Using the tools provided in this book, you will develop the ability to study the patterns and habits in your own mental game”

Tendler is convincing us that the Mental side of poker is as much a skill as any other facet of the game, and that factors such as tilt, fear, lack of motivation and lack of confidence are grounded in rational thought, and a player can improve their game by analysing the reasons and patterns for each.

Of course what really brings the book to life is the case studies. The testimonials to Tendler's work in the book are many and glowing. One such reads

“Jared is a genius when it comes to helping you both recognize and sys­tematically rid yourself of the issues that are getting in the way of reach­ing your potential. I don’t know where I would be today without him.”

The practical applications of the theories explained to the poker careers are intriguing, across a variety of poker disciplines.

The four chapters at the beginning of the book set the groundwork for what is to follow. Through an Introduction and Foundation chapter, three models are introduced. There follows sections on emotion and logic.

Once through those it is “pick and mix” time. For myself, with issues in my game around risk aversion and confidence, I delved into those two sections as they struck a chord. Others, on Tilt and Motivation, seemed less for me. For each of us, the longstanding behaviours we have learned and conditioned to will direct us to different parts of the book.

Immediately I was confronting areas that seemed very familiar. For example over-thinking sitations and a reluctance to go with gut instincts. Combine that with the Client Questionnaire in the Appendix and I was soon deep in thought on my mental couch. I began to see that I was, as Tendler refers to some players, a “mental game fish” and to appreciate that the approach is intended to provide a deeper solution that conventional poker psychology which  suggests combat­ing tilt or fear with general advice or approaches like deep breathing and taking breaks.

Is this a book for a very recreational player having fun down the pub? Possibly not. It needs a little time and application, to be frank. Is it a book for most other poker players? yes I think it probably is. Combining the theories and techniques from Tendler with a “human touch” supplied by Carter and the case studies creates a fascinating read. I wonder if Barry has patentted 'Barry's Take' for the sections where his musings try and explain some of the more complex concepts Tendler talks about in terms poker players understand?


 I'd recommend it.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 01:16:41 PM by TightEnd » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2011, 11:50:57 AM »

www.thementalgameofpoker.com is the website taking pre-orders for the book, 20% off I believe

blonde will also have a link offering the same deal once the pre-order period finishes

Barry has also kindly given blonde a couple of copies which I will use for MTT League prizes


Of course, interested in other views once people have read it 
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AndrewT
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011, 11:56:33 AM »

As a follow-up book I suggest Barry writes The Physical Game of Poker, where he offers tips on how to move chips into the pot, how best to look at your cards, and the precise best point to punch someone in the face after they slowroll you.
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 11:59:07 AM »

Original post was a joke, what a great book.

Jared Tendler is incred. [  ] So is DaveShoelace.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 12:53:50 PM by GreekStein » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 01:02:08 PM »

Sounds good to me, I'll give it a spin.  The mental aspect of poker is what intrigues me the most, and kicks me in the gut the most.
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 04:09:52 PM »

Nice review. Haven't bought a poker book in a while, but might grab this one.
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 07:35:25 PM »

Def looking forward to reading this. I remember thinking "The Poker Mindset" was the best book I'd ever read a few years ago. This is in a similar vein only I'm sure it's much more comprehensive and advanced.  The table of contents looks very thorough.

Have had one coaching session with Mr Tendler so far (I tried to get some coaching from Mr Shoelace but he didn't think he was good enough Smiley) and he has a really succinct and articulate way of expressing his ideas.

"The Mental Game" is def an underestimated side of poker, can't imagine this not being really useful for any poker player...
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 08:14:49 PM »

Jared is a reg on the cash plays podcast...well worth a listen.....
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2011, 11:56:56 AM »

Thanks for the nice review Rich.

I don't really want to be spammy here because I love the forum, but if anyone has any questions about the book and its contents let me know. I might even get the main author, Jared, to come along and answer some questions, he has some popular well type threads on 2+2 & cardschat, so if there is a thirst for that let me know. I think Bhoywonder captures it best by pointing out the cash plays podcasts where Jared is a weekly guest, I think thats a great introduction to what the book is all about.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 12:06:17 PM by DaveShoelace » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2011, 12:11:33 PM »

I haz a question.

My biggest leak is the times when I'm in a situation where I know the other guy has it, and that I'm behind, but I either consciously go through the 'he might have AK' thought process, or by some kind of subconscious process/magic find myself clicking the call button, even though I know it's wrong.

Is this the sort of stuff that the book will help with?
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2011, 12:20:31 PM »

Andrew, that is the stuff he can help with.

I have heard him on podcasts and he also had a thread on 2+2. I have also seen some of the videos he has done. The ideas and thought processes he talks about can help with poker but also general life. He has interesting thoughts on goals, targets and motivation.

If I wait for the blonde link to buy do blonde get any benefit?
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2011, 12:21:10 PM »

Yes, a percentage of the sale price.
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2011, 03:43:47 PM »

Andrew, yes that is exactly the sort of thing that is in the book, in fact I think we cover that specific issue. I don't have a copy with me so I don't quite remember how much detail we go into, but its there. If you check out the table of contents on the site that might give you an idea on some of the common issues covered.

And yes, Blonde will get a % of each sale after the pre sale is over, plus some free copies for the league, and I am sure we can wrangle in even more perks if there is enough interest.

I'm at DTD all weekend if anyone has any questions.
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2011, 04:08:38 PM »

Is this available now yeh? I might buy it, might help to improve my motivation to grind and goal set etc? Whats the best place to purchase it? Can you sign it for me pls Bazza?
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2011, 04:22:17 PM »

Available for preorder, best place to buy it is the website in the OP, motivation is a massive section in the book so could be right up your street. Sadly no sections on how to deal with travelling round the world with Cos or not pissing over your laptop.

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