Happy New Year!!!
For those who don’t know me, I experiment constantly in every aspect of my life. In poker, if I see world-class players having success with a specific play I rarely use, I will try it out and see what happens. If I hear about an amazing new breakthrough in nutrition from a trusted authority, I will give it a try. If I think something could benefit my life, I give it a shot. While most of these things eventually fall by the wayside, in honor of the New Year, I am going to share with you four habits I have stuck with over the long term.
Every morning for breakfast, whether I am at home coaching students or on the road playing a major tournament series, I make a fresh blended vegetable smoothie. I typically blend a somewhat random assortment of spinach, kale, parsley, sprouts, berries, chia seeds, veggie protean powder, and water. If you desire a sweet taste, you can add fruit, such as oranges, apples, and bananas (I try to avoid lots of sugar, and fruit contains lots of sugar).
I discovered the Nutribullet blender about two years ago and have been hooked ever since. It quickly blends even tough vegetables and is incredibly easy to clean. It is also quite cheap ($79) compared to other high-quality blenders I have tried in the past ($300 or more!). I actually have one Nutribullet that I use at home and another I keep in my luggage for when I travel. If you want to take nutrition seriously and feel great, I highly suggest you buy a Nutribullet.
In addition to my morning smoothie, I also take a freezing cold shower. I learned about this technique from The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss and also the Iceman, Wim Hof. According to the experts, freezing temperatures develop more “brown” fat in the body, which is a type of fat that burns calories constantly, similar to muscle. This means you will burn more calories on a regular basis and will also become somewhat immune to the cold. I actually used to wear long sleeves every time I played poker but now, I can sit in the coldest poker-room environment (such as the Rio during the WSOP) in a light t-shirt and shorts with no problems. While I am not sure if I am actually burning more calories, the freezing cold water is a nice wakeup call at the start of every day.
If is worth mentioning that if you simply get in the shower and turn on freezing water, you will not last too long. When getting started, take your normal shower in hot water then slowly turn the water down, just a little bit at a time, until eventually, it is cold. You will find that the typically freezing water is actually only mildly cold once you are used to it. Over time, you will be able to jump right into the cold water with no major mental trauma. When getting started, take it slow. One additional benefit of using Wim’s methods is that I can now hold my breath for 4 (yes, FOUR!) minutes!
While I am far from a mystic, I have found that clearing my mind before tackling any task helps me focus better, allowing me to perform better and be more productive. Every morning before I play poker, I either spend 15 minutes sitting quietly or I listen to the excellent mindset MP3s by Elliot Roe. Elliot has designed numerous poker-related MP3s, so you can find the one that best fits your situation. For a brief guide to getting started with meditation, I suggest you check out the book 8 Minute Meditation.
When I first started playing poker, each day I spent about 4 hours studying and 6 hours playing. As I moved to the highest stakes games, I started spending less of my time studying and more playing. Eventually, I found that (in addition to coaching lots of students, which is actually a form of study) I was only playing. I resolved to start spending more time studying the game. It is well known that if you are not constantly progressing, you will be left behind. While talking with your peers about poker strategy is an excellent way to improve, there is no substitute for working with simulation tools.
When I first started playing sit n’ go tournaments 12 years ago, I spent a ton of time working with Sit N’ Go Power Tools, which was a cutting edge program at that time. Now, ICMizer is the new go-to ICM program. It also has a build-in quiz program that will allow you to see where your skills are lacking. I recently made a video briefly explaining how to use the program, using a hand from the 2015 WSOP final table as an example. If you want to improve your push-fold game (which is what most tournaments eventually devolve to) I strongly suggest you spend some time with ICMizer.
Here is a video of me playing with the SNG Coach feature of ICMizer, which quizzes you on various push or fold situations. Even though it is call SNG Coach, it is actually highly useful for multi-table tournaments because it allows you to change the payouts to whatever you are playing. Be sure to click the “full screen” option in the bottom right of the video so you can see all the numbers clearly.
If you are looking for deep-stacked tournament quiz software, I suggest you check out Advanced Poker Training. My favorite feature of this program is the ability to play a series of hands then see how your play compares to other world-class players. I actually made a series of hands for Advanced Poker Training in the past and constantly learn from their various smart bots.
If you play cash games, PokerSnowie is the program for you. PokerSnowie has essentially developed what it thinks to be a nearly game theory optimal strategy. You can play countless practice hands versus the bots and after your session, it will tell you every spot where it thinks you made an error. While their program is constantly improving, if you want to develop a fundamentally sound strategy, PokerSnowie is a great place to start. I made a video showing my first session with PokerSnowie, where I discovered a small leak in my game.
Of course, I produce in-depth training videos and best-selling books that will help you take your game to the next level. Be sure to check those out! Also be sure to get on my email list so you can stay up to date on everything I have going on.
I hope you find these 4 things to be beneficial to your life. Let me know in the comments section below if they are helpful. Be sure to check back next week for another educational blog post.
I hope this year is your best one yet!