Poker is a game of skill in which you can achieve results and profit over the long term – but only with constant training.

Patrick Antonius is a good example of a long-term A-game player

If you aren’t a beginner, then you know what a great poker session feels like; you make decisions with a clear head, you escape the value bets of your opponents, and the whole session goes like clockwork. Forget Hollywood’s portrayal for a moment because luck can’t be tapped into or relied upon.

The concept of “flow state” is more tangible than luck anyway. The meaning is complete focus and immersion in the task at hand – which for you, is poker. You could use it to unlock your A-game in poker and improve your results overall.

Let's talk about this concept in more detail.

Imagine that you came to a live tournament or opened tables online. You are fully concentrated, error-free, and make the correct decisions. This is the definition of playing your “A-game”.

The term A-game was first used in Jared Tendler's book, A Beautiful Mind. We included it in our Poker Books article. In it, he describes the psychological aspects of poker. Tendler has extensive experience working with professional golfers to help them cope with emotional stress. He was one of the first to study the mental aspects of games. In the book, Jared writes that the emotional component directly affects your results.

According to many experts, Tendler is one of the most successful poker psychologists

From his work, you’ll learn how to combat tilt, as well as:

  • Gain confidence in your abilities.
  • Cope with negative emotions.
  • Understand where the feeling of fear comes from during a session.
  • Find new sources of motivation to achieve goals.

If you hit a downswing, this isn’t a reason to give up. The right approach can turn things around and transform you a more optimal player.

Ask yourself if your strategy has any of these problems.

  • Obvious errors: We’ve all made folds or calls that we immediately knew were mistakes. Such actions are part of the “C-game”, which does not require a detailed “debriefing” to combat. Everything connects with psychology – the level of mood drops so much that you cannot apply the knowledge that you have not mastered perfectly. The solution to the problem is simple – you need to restore your emotional state so that tilt, fear, and fatigue do not prevent you from earning money.
  • Not-so-obvious errors: These mistakes aren’t as clear and might take a review to spot. To avoid future confusion, analyze ambiguous spots in a solver or discuss it with other players. Mistakes like these can be associated both with a psychological attitude and with insufficient technical knowledge. The Hand2Note tool in our shop has a leak finder to identify these missteps.
  • Learning mistakes: If you embody the A-game, then you make exceptionally high-quality decisions. There is one caveat here – an upswing can lead to a “positive” tilt, during which you will feel that you no longer need to continue training. This is a serious mistake – success only accompanies those who constantly hone their skill.
Useful poker books

To find your A-game, approach the process systematically. Pay attention not only to psychological but also to technical aspects. Analyze your hands after each session, and think about what decisions you would make if you were completely calm and in the zone.

When you realize that you are tired and losing concentration, try to sit out and take a break. This can protect you from unnecessary losses.

Jared Tendler even hosted GGPoker pro Daniel Negreanu on an episode of his podcast in the past.

We have an open catalog of articles on our website that any player can get something from.

These are some of the most useful sections:

  • Bonuses: We explain how to collect ‌profitable promos, extra rewards on deposits, and other bonuses.
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100% first deposit bonus up to $600, and free spins and MTT tickets
  • Newbie Questions: This section will help you understand the basics of the game. The material can get any beginner familiar with poker concepts, like positions, loose and tight play styles, betting rounds, and more. Rest assured that this will greatly improve your skill, so you can move on to more complex concepts.
  • Terms: Here we talk about all the basic poker concepts and terms, like what a raise or a 3-bet is, and how a cooler differs from a bad beat. We explain the terms but also show the strategy behind the words.

Poker is a game of skill, despite what you may have seen in Casino Royale. To show your A-game long-term, you need to regularly refresh your knowledge of strategies and constantly practice.

To Seidel, Jack-high felt like the second nuts on this board

Don’t forget about the psychological aspect – take breaks after a long session, rest, and try to get enough sleep. This way you will be in an optimal emotional state – and it will bear fruit at the tables.

In online poker, you need to use special software. This way you will understand strategic reasoning faster and move up the stakes. Open our store – there you can start up free trials for lots of different tools, from heads-up displays (HUDs) to solvers. All software is sold at an affordable price – and a nice bonus will be the free installation and a walkthrough from our tech support team.

If you have any difficulties registering for poker rooms or have other questions about online poker, please contact our support team. Employees are ready to assist (without any fee whatsoever) around the clock, even on holidays and weekends. Write them a message online, or on Skype, Discord and Telegram. We’re happy to help out.

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