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Develop a Growth Mindset and Burst Through Your Limits


Sky Matsuhashi

on August 24, 2022

It's critical that you approach your poker with a growth mindset.

Saying things like “I’m going to figure this out” and “I’m going to analyze this player until I figure out all their weaknesses” are better than saying negative things like, “I can’t do this” or “I can never understand these opponents”.

Listen to podcast #405 as you follow along below:


A Growth Mindset versus a Fixed Mindset

A necessary evil within poker is making assumptions on how your opponents play:

  • Assuming their preflop range based on actions and history.
  • Assuming how your opponents will approach their position, hands, the situation.
  • Assuming they’ll react and act in some sort of logical manner.

Having a growth mindset, not being limited by your intellect, will allow you to learn from your mistaken assumptions.


‘Mindset’ by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

I learned a ton about having a growth mindset from a book called ‘Mindset’ by Carol S. Dweck.

  • Fixed Mindset definition from the book: believing that your qualities are carved in stone.
  • Growth Mindset definition from the book: believing that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.
  • A Growth Mindset can turn failure into a + learning experience.
  • Fixed mindset people quit when the going gets tough.
  • People with fixed mindsets are more likely to react negatively or even violently to bad beats and bad outcomes.
  • Fixed mindsets see failure as a sign that they’re dumb. Have a growth mindset and see setbacks as opportunities to learn.
  • The fact that you’re working on your game means you’re doing the right thing. Putting in the work is important and will get you through those downswings.


Fixed Mindset Words: can’t, won’t, don’t, never

Can’t: I can’t figure out pot odds math on the fly.

Flip it to: I just need to practice pot odds over and over off the felt and make cheat sheets to help me learn the most common pot odds calculations.

Won’t: I won’t be able to figure out this opponent.

Flip it to: Everyone has a weakness, I’ll keep digging until I find his.

Don’t: I don’t have the time to study

Flip it to: How can I make or take the time to study?

Never: I’m never going to get this!

Flip it to: I can do this, just gotta work to figure it out.


Learn From Your Mistakes

Take notes on your mistakes and keep a “mistake log” in your poker journal.

Use this journal as you play to work on NOT repeating your mistakes.


Growth Mindset Within Poker

The fact that you’re listening means you probably have a growth mindset.  I say probably because maybe you tune out when I talk about math or player types because you can’t seem to learn that stuff.

Take heart, all you need is practice!  Spend the time, take notes, drill yourself and it’ll come to you eventually.

Extend it out for the rest of poker:

  • Dealing with the transition between games (cash>MTT, MTT>SNG):
    • Stick with one format at a time for studying and working to grow.
    • Figure out the most important, fundamental things and start there.
  • Learning new HUD statistics and how to use them:
  • How to use aggressive plays like check-raises, 3betting, bluff 4betting and donk leading.
    • Study each for one week.
    • Experiment with the plays in each session. Review your hands afterwards.
    • Filter for facing the play and review those hands.



Try to be more aware of any negative thoughts you have surrounding your poker play. If you catch yourself saying, “I’ll never get this math” or “I can’t beat these LAG’s”, flip the script and turn those statements into positive, growth-oriented, can-do ideas.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.


Support the Show

These growth-oriented poker peeps are on their way to improving their Flopzilla skills with my Flopzilla Pro Course: Paul Millbrook, Piotr Turlewicz, Peter Morson, Guy Brooks, Richard Manas, Ray Springer, Nikolaos Kazakos, John Adamek, Todd Caton, Ian Gaughan, Andrew Duffy, Rob Machaffie, Keith Rawson, Chris Martin, Scott Vorachek, Kennedy Mumina, Thomas Thatcher, Thomas Westgate, Frank Quintiliani, Nhat Nguyen, Francois Zayas, Gianfranco Cutruzzolà, Loïc Minaudier, Massimo Gramegna, Carl Gustafsson, Keith Brandt, Manuel Mangrobang, Steven Barela, Gene Lee, Indrayana Rustandi, Kevin Pryor, Rowell Beniston, Frederik Daneels, George Best, Gary Wharmby, Jonathan Harrison, Daniel Teel, Henning Janning, Nils Bauer, Csabane Kertesz and William Howell. Thank you so much for getting the 3.75 hours of “do as you consume” video instruction and 19-page workbook with answer key.


Sky Matsuhashi

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