Jared Tendler Session Two – The Superiority Complex

I can honestly say that working with Jared is one of the best investments I have ever made – Matt “mbolt1” Bolt

Just to give you a taste of the high esteem that Jared is held in certain circles of the poker community I have copied a piece of text from Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt’s personal blog. In this blog entry Dusty is talking about the brilliance of Tom “Durrrr” Dwan.

Anyway, the kid is a sick genius and I think that in time, he may even surpass Ivey as the best poker player in the world. I certainly know one thing that would fast track that goal in a major hurry and that would be if he started working with poker mental game coach Jared Tendler. If Tom is serious about becoming the best he can be, Jared is his ticket. Jared helped me make millions at the tables and if he ever got to work with someone as scary talented as Tom, he could fast track Dwan to the top of the poker world in short order I believe.

I highlighted one word in that paragraph – the word millions. He is not exaggerating either, when he says millions he means millions!

Anyway back to the real world and series two of how Jared Tendler is attempting to stop me from losing thousands!

The second session started with Jared asking me if I had made any progress since our last session and what I believed that progress was? Our sessions were one week apart.

I had undergone a winning week since our first session, the first winning week I had undergone in months. To try and keep things in perspective he asked me how I had been running? I must admit I had been running pretty well. I think it was his way of trying to keep my feet on the ground. The biggest difference since our first session was my awareness of my failings in the game. During my first session Jared told me about the Adult Learning Model and how most of my game was in the consciously incompetent stage. Being aware of areas of my game where I was not as strong as I may have previously thought I was helped me rationalise the output of my decisions. This is turn allowed my emotions to remain in check for larger chunks of time.

The Superiority Complex

Imagine you are a weed in someone’s front garden. One day the owner comes out with a pair of garden shears and lops your head off. He returns to the household quite pleased with himself – after all he has solved the problem, right? Don’t you worry – you are not dead yet! In fact a few weeks later you have grown back and are sticking two fingers back up at the owner. Well if you were in Jared’s front garden he would ditch the shears and instead pick up a spade. He would dig and dig and would not stop until he got to the roots. Once there he would yank them out of the ground and throw the whole lot into the bin and then stick two fingers up to you!

He has an uncanny knack of getting to the root of a problem. Not just getting to the root but making you aware of what it is. After all it is inside your mind. It’s not like you don’t know it – you are just strangers at the moment.

I was controlling my emotions for large chunks of time but not all of the time. One of the things Jared teaches you is to be aware of the feelings and sensations that present themselves when you are about to lose control. Write those thoughts, feelings and scenarios down on paper. Anything that you think will help you make sense of it all during review.

Jared will ask you to go through this list with him to re-enact a moment where you lose control. Remember what I said during my session one report – poker happens after an accumulation of a shit load of small stuff – details.

I will give you one example – there were many! I would lose control when I had lost a pot or two against someone who I thought I was better than. We talked about why I thought I was better than my opponent. Being asked that direct question makes you feel a little silly because under analysis there really is no easy answer to it – and that is one of the things that Jared does. He sniffs and sniffs – what is that? Is that cow…is that dog…is that chicken…wait…I know… ITS BULLSHIT!

Captain Chaos

Jared taught me that this desire, this belief that I am better than others gives me energy. If I take my foot off the gas, take the air out of that belief; I will have nothing driving me. I have been finding out at the tables that I am being driven by this belief so much that is destroying me. I am becoming Captain Chaos!

Captain Chaos! My employees in my former job have been calling me that name for years!

So through advice on how to record emotional feelings we had identified flaws in my perspective of myself – flaws that had to be learned in the exact same way that I would correct a technical weakness in my poker game.

There is no evidence that suggests that I am better than anyone – in fact quite the opposite. When I play poker it is much more than cards and money. To me I have my whole personal identity at stake. Jared taught me how objective poker players view their skill.

I know what my skill is. I recognise what my opponent’s skill is and that is how I define my edge. It is objective. Its not pure mathematics, its purely about making strategic decisions about who to engage and how.

That is how you profit – you create edges.

I told Jared about a seemingly simple moment that had happened during a game in the past week. I was playing a live tournament and got down to the final two players. In the past when I had gotten heads up in a tournament I would look for any opportunity to get all the money in as quick as possible. On this occasion I realised that I was more experienced at playing post flop than my opponent. I decided to play lots of pots with him and try to outplay him. It worked and in the end he got so frustrated that he started to shove with mediocre holdings and I was able to wait patiently and eventually win by calling with a hand ahead of his range.

Jared made me aware that this was a result- a result of learning. That it was something I could look at as a poignant moment in my career but it represented a new peak, my new “A” game, but it wasn’t something that I owned it was the beginnings of me beginning to take control. He made sure that I was aware not to get ahead of myself. Seeing this as my new peak did not mean that I had eliminated my weak points.

He told me that there is clearly a lot of information in my head and I am clearly very thoughtful about it. But the problem is I have not yet mastered this information. So I have got to become more efficient at organising this new material so it can more efficiently move down and take over the old. He likened it to a process of upgrading my old operating software with new software. He doesn’t want me to eliminate it, as it provides the foundation, but to build on it. Upgrading those parts that are weak and gathering these notes is a big part of doing that.

To end the session Jared said that mastery is a moving target. You have mastery but if the game continues to evolve that level of mastery is no longer relevant and I had to put that into context in poker. Instead of thinking that I am special or better than someone – he wanted me to change my thinking. Recognise the good things that I had done but also realise that I have potential to do better. This is what I already own and here is the spectrum of my future potential.

He told me to write down all of things that I think make me good right now. What skills do I have that I own and then look at the next steps.

For now keep thinking and taking baby steps – my job right now is to understand.

In order to be understood you must first understand.