Mistakes are kind of inevitable in poker. For new players, mistakes are a part of learning the game. Even aspiring pros can find themselves in tough spots or experience momentary lapses in concentration. It’s how we deal with these mistakes that really matters.
We asked 2020 SCOOP winners, “What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from a mistake?”
Here’s what they told us…
Mistakes are your friend
Making a mistake in a major poker tournament is incredibly frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With the right attitude, mistakes will make you a better player.
As “TripleAjaxxx”, winner of #99-H says, “Poker is a game where you continue to learn things all the time, so mistakes will happen down the line… learn from your mistakes.”
In the words of #55-H winner Victor “victorbco” Hugo, “Mistakes are friends of ours who remind us that we are constantly evolving and that there are always new things to learn and improve.”
The key is to be willing to accept and learn from mistakes that happen.
It takes discipline to correct bad habits
When you see mistakes as valuable, or even as “friends”, you’re in a good position to correct them. But the mistakes won’t correct themselves.
Xiaoxiao “W.Leung” Niao, winner of 86-L, says, “It’s why I take notes,” says Niao, “but you have to be active to make it really happen. “Learning and correcting your mistake is different from making it. It takes discipline to correct bad habits.”
Many pros spend hours a day analyzing their decisions off the table. This post-game analysis helps to turn mistakes into lessons. To make even more use of your notes and hand history, it never hurts to ask for the help of more experienced players.
“When you start to play you make a lot of mistakes (I still do). Ask better players to go through hands with you and you’ll learn a lot from your mistakes. I can ask players like Preben Stokkan, Ørjan Skommo, Henrik Tollefsen for advice anytime, and they will take time to answer my questions”, says #87-M winner Tore “eagletore69” Pedersen.
Don’t let a mistake tilt you
Given that mistakes will almost definitely happen, how do you deal with them in the moment? One of the most important lessons highlighted by 2020 SCOOP winners involves not letting a single mistake become a big bust or tilt.
“The biggest lesson is that the fall does not happen the moment you fall. It happens when you make several wrong decisions. Poker brought me a clear view of the importance of small decisions”, says #96-M winner “LFFF22”.
As #89-M winner “Will Eye Amm” says, “Don’t let a mistake tilt you into making further mistakes. You can often recover from a mistake in later hands, so don’t give up.”
Of course, this is easier said than done, but it’s crucial if you’re going to make it through a big tourney.
It’s okay to be a bit balanced
So, what specific lessons did SCOOP winners learn from making mistakes at the poker tables? Well, mainly self control…
“I guess the biggest thing I learned is that you must be able to control yourself, and that you cannot act as you want,” says Branimir “ThoNapalm” Barac, winner of #94-H.
Or, as put simply by #103-L winner “vpisjak”, “You need to have self discipline.”
“xthewall” stresses the importance of finding balance in your poker strategy. He likes to play a LAG style, which is known to be highly effective if played well. Yet xthewall says, “After several final table punts, I realized that it’s okay to be a tiny bit balanced.”
And if you’re looking for a bit of practical gameplay advice, listen to Troy “teckidtq” Quenneville’s lesson and “always leave yourself outs.”
You don’t need to be the most aggressive player at the table all the time. A balanced game makes for less mistakes.
More wisdom from SCOOP winners: