Intention Setting Integration
I have 2 really major passions: Poker & Yoga. I spent a month in Montreal studying a yoga teacher training intensive. Basically I would wake up 5:45 am, meditate until 6:30 am, take an hour an half hot yoga class (with 53 other people), sit in lecture until noon (with those same 53 other people), have an hour break for lunch and then return back to the lecture space until 7:30 pm. I did this every day for a month with the exception of the 2 Tuesday's that were our day off. Spending that much time with 50+ others not only gives a deeper insight into the human condition & human nature but also teaches you a lot about yourself. You quickly learn what your strengths & weaknesses are. You recognize how you react to not only adversity but to the things you find pleasant. You're able to better identify your release valves & your coping mechanism to these valves. You're with the same people, day in & day out. These people become your family and they really feel like your family (some of them you adore to bits, some of them you can't stand being around but you love all of them). You're with them constantly & working with them constantly.
Quite the grind right, 13 hour + days? These long days reminded me of the amount of time I would spend grinding away at the poker tables, especially when going to Vegas. The tournaments there are pretty intense often lasting from 12 hours, to days at a time (depending how deep you run).
So what relevance does this story about intensive yoga teacher training have to do with playing poker? My answer is: INTENTION. Pure and simple, intention and intention setting. Like in yoga, there's an intention behind every movement, there's an active and counter-active move within every posture and the same thing applies to poker. There's always intention.
I discovered that what I learned on my yoga mat I could take off my mat with me & apply it to my everyday life. Including playing poker. When you're playing a tournament, every move you make has an intention behind it. You want to gauge why you are making the play and it's outcome.
Example exploiting players. There's a weak player at your table so you decide to make a play at them an 3 bet in position with K3 of spades, you know this player like to defend his blinds, that this players tendencies are to check the flop when he misses & bet the flop whenever he hits, has overs or, is on a draw. So you pretty much know the outcome solely based upon the reaction of your opponent. You've set the intention to c-bet if the flop is checked to you.
Another example of intention setting by exploiting your opponent can be used based upon your observation of your opponents weaknesses. Let's say you've just check-raised your opponent and your opponent folds. If your opponent is a weak player you can continue to use the check raise as a semi-bluff or even as a complete bluff. You may be thinking, "but if I continue to check-raise my opponent, my opponent will catch on and try to trap me?"
Remember every action has a reaction- a counter action. Poker is probably one of the most counter-intuitive experience. You would THINK that's what your opponent is thinking of doing and guess what, it might happen. The likelihood of that happening is pretty slim to none because surprisingly, being a counter intuitive game, your opponent (if he's a weak player) is only thinking about his hand and how he is going to play his hand. He hasn't considered how the other players at the table are playing.
When a player 3 bets you, think about the intention that player is setting. When another player shoves 1500 chips into a 600 pot on the flop HU what do you think that players intention is? Another player tends to check raise the turn often...you get the idea here.
I'm not going to reveal any big secret how I play nor my intentions when I do what I do. I like to diversify (only hint,lol). I will tell you one thing though. I don't win my biggest pots, my money or my games based upon how "brilliantly" I've been playing, I win them based upon how poorly my opponent(s) have played a hand (or few). I am by no means a pro though I aspire to be one My play at best tends to be quite simple, "allow your opponents to screw up" because they eventually will. All you need to remember is to set an intention for each hand you play and analyze the intention behind each hand your opponent plays. Sounds easy enough but remember it's a counter-intuitive game.