The 7 C’s of Mental Toughness

Posted on Jun 19, 2009 by Gugel in Psychology

Poker mental toughness

Practice the seven C’s (Competitive, Confident, Control, Committed, Composure, Courage, Consistency) of mental toughness.

That quote is from a book called Mind Gym that HokieGreg was raving about on Twitter yesterday.  A lot of players (myself included) put mental toughness on the backburner.  But recently, I’ve begun to realize how that’s a huge mistake.  Jack Nicklaus, one of the best golfers of all time, was famously quoted as saying that golf is 90% mental.  Is poker 90% mental?  Maybe not, but mental toughness is definitely a big factor that separates great poker players from mediocre ones.

So let’s go over the seven C’s to help you stay off tilt and keep you on your A-game.

Most successful poker players are motivated less by money and more by a desire to crush their opponents.  Challenging situations are what really help you improve.

When you run bad, you play bad.  When you run good, you play good.  The difference?  Confidence.

Tilt is your worst enemy.
Don’t play the match by your opponent’s rules – make him try to adjust to you.

There are going to be times (probably many, many times) when you feel like quitting.  You have be strong enough to power through it.

Don’t give off any tells.  Take your time before making a decision.

Have the courage to follow through on your reads.

I went through quite a few cycles of playing for a couple of months and then quitting for a couple months.  You need to play consistently to build your skills.  No sense taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

Bonus Quote

The more you hurry the later you get. When you find yourself rushing you are no longer in the present. Pace instead of race.

I see this all the time at the poker table.  A donk stacks you (maybe multiple times) and you want to win your money back before he decides to leave.  The more you rush it, the more likely you are to make a mistake.  Pace instead of race.

So pick up your copy of Mind Gym (another great book is Finding Your Zone).  It’s worth the 12 bucks.

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