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No Expectations, No Frustrations – Podcast #491


Sky Matsuhashi

on May 31, 2024

Poker Mindset: No Expectations, No Frustrations.

Let's dive into this mindset and see how I'm using it to remain calm and cool as I play.

Watch this article as a YouTube Video:


Listen to the podcast episode #491 as you follow along below:


For myself, a lot of my poker mindset issues of anger and tilt stem from having positive expectations dashed. Positive expectations can lead to being results oriented, and that leads to a fear of loss. And you know what Yoda said,

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”


High Expectations Dashed!

These are examples of some of my own high expectations of winning early in the hand, only to have them dashed. Possibly resulting in anger/tilt and further loss or quitting your session early.

AA vs JJ All-in Preflop

Preflop Action gives high expectations: We 3bet squeeze to 14bb's. The UTG open-raiser shoves all-in (he's got us covered), everyone folds and we call. He turns over JJ and we're way ahead. “YES! 231.8 bb's coming my way!” But, he flops a set to crush our once beautiful hand.


Flopping a Set of 4's

Preflop Action: We UTG open and the BB calls.

Flop: We flop our set of 4's! It's a monotone board, so beware. However, things are looking good for value. We cbet 3bb into 4.5bb and he calls.

Turn gives high expectations: An Ace hits, giving us a full house. We hope he has a flush or flush draw now, let's get value. We bet 7.5bb into 10.5bb and he calls.

River: An inconsequential 5 hits the river. We value bet 17.5bb into 25.5bb and he shoves… we gotta call with our full house, right? Yep, rivered and high expectations dashed!


Flopping a Straight with 73s

Preflop Action: We're dealt 73s in the BB and 2 others limp in. We check to see a free flop.

Flop gives high expectations: We flop a straight + gut shot straight flush draw. “We're getting all the monies!” We bet 2bb into 3bb and they both call.

Turn: The Qh hits, not changing anything. We barrel for value at 7bb into 9bb, and they both call.

River: The 8h hits, putting 3 hearts and four-to-the-straight out there. We make a huge mistake and bet 30bb into the 30bb pot. It's a mistake because we're making it so big, nothing that we beat will continue. We're making it easy for them to fold all but flushes. The SB player check-shoves and we call, losing the hand.


No Expectations, No Frustrations

Try to be content with your decisions, especially when you get it in ahead like the AA example above. We did right getting it all-in preflop. As long as we're content with that and avoid thinking about the end results, we're better able to remain calm and continue the session.

If we lose, oh well. At least we're still in a great spot mentally to continue playing and win those losses back.

Earlier today, I was recording game tape and this hand happened:

Stirring the Coffee

Preflop Action: I opened with QQ and Villain 5 shoved 77bb's with KTs. I called and won the hand.

In the game tape (YouTube video above at 8:04) you can hear me stirring my coffee. You can't see it, but I'm looking down at my coffee, ignoring the results of the hand. I don't care if I win or lose (actually, I do care, but the goal is to NOT care), so I look away from the screen.

I won the hand. And, even if I didn’t, I think by NOT being focused on the results and NOT having positive expectations of winning, I could’ve continued playing calmly to try and win back any losses.

This was just the first 24 minutes of my 1 hour session, and I didn't want to end it early.

This demonstrates this poker mindset I'm trying to instill as I play to remain calm and avoid anger/tilt.


Take Note of Mistakes

Every mistake is a learning opportunity. And the 30bb bet on the river in the 73s hand is a prime example of that.

When you make a huge blunder like this, tag the hand with your PokerTracker 4 HUD so you can review and learn from it later. This also helps to put the mistake and losses out of your mind for now because you know you'll address them later.


Take Action

Now it's time for you to take action!

Write “No Expectations, No Frustrations” on a sticky note and attach it to your monitor.

When you get into spots where a lot of chips are on the line and losing the hand might set you off, do everything you can to remain calm. Take a breath and return your attention to the screen and continue playing with a calm mind.


Sky Matsuhashi

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