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Motivation, Confidence & Mindset: If They Can Do It, I Can Do It


Sky Matsuhashi

on September 17, 2020

Motivation, confidence and having an “I got this” mindset will help you become the poker player (and person) you want to be.

Listen to Podcast #309: Motivation, Confidence & Mindset: If They Can Do It, I Can Do It!

We can often be daunted by the prospect of trying something new.  In terms of poker:

  • Transitioning from MTT’s to cash games
  • Finally losing your fishy ways
  • Loosening up your game if you’re overly nitty
  • Moving up in stakes
  • Taking on a bankroll challenge.

Outside of poker there are many difficult challenges: Starting a new job, getting married, having a kid, moving to a new city, or even climbing Mount Everest.  All of these require us to purposefully make some big changes in life, and can cause lots of anxiety.

But, even the most inexperienced person can climb Mount Everest with enough motivation, confidence, a proper plan, an experienced guide and the right gear.  Just because you’ve never done it before, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

I’ve written a few books, but there was a time when I wasn’t an author. Writing a book back then felt like I was trying to climb Mt. Everest. It seemed too difficult.  I had the mindset of, “Who am I to write a book, and how the heck do I do it?”  I didn’t know how to get started, how to organize the book, formatting, cover design, release it and how to market it.

But, here’s the thing: Writing a book has been done by millions of other people…

If they can do it, I can do it.

Michael Kansier left a killer 5 Star review on Amazon for my newest book, Post-flop Online Poker. Thanks, Michael.

Here are 3 ideas that helped me tackle book writing and every other new challenge in my life and in poker: Motivation, Confidence and Mindset.

1. Motivation: Know Your Why

You’re here because you have a desire to become a great poker player, maybe even a pro.  The path to poker success is long and difficult, and to sustain your journey, you need to know your WHY.

Whip out your poker journal (click here for my free 21-page Poker Journal) and write out your answer to each question to discover your WHY:

  1. Why are you on this poker journey?
  2. What’s in it for you and/or your family?
  3. What are your ultimate poker ambitions and dreams?
  4. Who will you become through this experience?

Your answers to these 4 questions are going to help motivate you to purposefully study and play poker.

Having a strong Why is motivation to get yourself through the tough times. It will help engage your mind in developing your poker skills and will push you when others would quit.


2. Confidence: Drawing From Your Past Accomplishments

Maybe you’re already where you want to be within poker, but probably not.  You aren’t an accomplished poker player yet, and you don’t know the steps to get there.  But, like with me wanting to become an author, you can't let that stop you from figuring it out.

Confidence will help you achieve your goals.  One way in which I gain confidence in my abilities is by drawing from my past accomplishments.

A favorite life motto:

The more you do, the more you can do.

You’ve probably accomplished many things in life like:

  • Played and excelled in sports, maybe even won championships.
  • Learned to drive, aced many tests in school and graduated.
  • Got your first job, moved up the corporate ladder, created your own company.
  • Acted in a play, attempted stand-up, spoke in front of a huge audience.
  • Fell in love, got married, had kids.
  • Ran a marathon, traveled to China, learned a foreign language.

And here’s the kicker: Before you accomplished any of those things, you probably didn’t know exactly how you were going to do it.  But the opportunity presented itself or you sought it out, you committed, and you figured it out as you went.  Maybe you had some help from family, teammates, coaches, friends or the internet.  Maybe just knowing that others have accomplished it showed you it was possible, so you found out on your own how to do it.

“Can't” is a 4-lettor word… NEVER SAY IT!

By accomplishing so much in life already, you’ve developed a mind that can do the things it sets out to do.   Now it’s time to take your confidence from prior accomplishments and apply it to becoming the poker player you long to be.

In your poker journal, list 5 of your biggest accomplishments in life and put them in order of difficulty.

With this list of 5 accomplishments, where would poker success fit in? Is it more difficult than some of the other things you’ve done? Less difficult? You’ve probably accomplished more difficult things than being a successful poker player. Use the confidence you’ve gained from those and apply it to your poker journey.

3. Mindset: Act As If

“Act as if” is a phrase I learned from Adam Carolla.  It’s kind of the same as, “fake it until you make it,” which can be the first step to becoming something or someone new.  He mentions it any time he’s discussing his accomplishments when he did something new:

  • Built his first recording studio
  • Created a successful podcast
  • Made his first movie
  • Appeared on Dancing with the Stars
  • Made his first documentary

He had a desire to do these things, and he didn’t let a lack of knowledge stop him.  He drew upon past experiences and accomplishments and used the mind he’s developed to attain these new goals.

You need to Act As If you were the poker player you want to be.  Take your vision of what a successful poker player is, and be it.  Train like the player you want to be. Play like the player you want to be. Think, talk and act like the player you want to be.

Answer the following questions in your poker journal. You might not know the answer, but I’m sure you can imagine what the answer is:

  1. How does a successful player approach their study time?
  2. How does a successful player approach their playing time?
  3. How does a successful player learn from their mistakes?
  4. How does a successful player plug their leaks?
  5. How does a successful player exploit their opponents?
  6. How does a successful player use coaches or mentors?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the answers to these questions.  What matters is that you’re thinking about them and putting yourself in the mindset of the player you want to be.  Your answers to these questions will start you on your journey to greater poker development.

You MUST now follow through and do what you think a successful player does.


Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Take the time to answer the questions I asked you above.  Use your poker journal as you noodle on each question and answer it in as much detail as you can. This exercise will give you the motivation, confidence and mindset you need to work hard to become the player you want to be.

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

Support the Show

Wow, so many Smart HUD purchasers to thank! Wayne, Cesar Garcia, Feld, Daniel McGinnis, Ross Wilson, Cherry, William Young, France Bissonnette, Chris Turnbull, Scott, Drew Duffy, Kyle Ridgeway, Ante Social, Mirko Joulu, Winny Morel, Murat Karaka, Broyak, Turtle Fart, Steyn Van Der Walt, Falman, Palomin, Shaun O’Connell, James Krausnick, CJ Cl7177ements, Prashanth Doss,,, Chris Lawn, Davis Joseph, Rainer Leske and Frank bought the Smart HUD with a 1.5 hour webinar for PokerTracker 4.  It’s the best online poker HUD in the business with every critical stat in the HUD and the 7 custom popups. This is what every online player needs to maximally exploit opponents.


Sky Matsuhashi

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