'' The Land Down Under
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In December I made the decision to visit Chris an old mate in Brisbane, Australia. Chris and I used to work together in Malta where we both lived for many years. In November last year we chatted on skype and Chris mentioned he might be moving back to Malta if a job presented itself. I then decided to visit him while having the opportunity to so. It is a brilliant chance to experience The Land of Down Under.

I love visiting friends when I travel rather than being a traditional tourist. I prefer to experience the life people actually live rather than how it is portrayed in a magazine.


Travelling Broadens Your Mind

People usually say “wow really?” with some doubt in their mind when I tell them what I do for a living.  In my previous blog “Moment of Truth” I explained how my job can be quite lonely.

One of the perks being a poker pro is that all I need to carry out my job is a big computer screen that I connect to my laptop, a desk, a chair, stable electricity & internet. It means that I can work from anywhere in the Western world.

Being away from home has given me a lot of time to think about my life but also about my poker career. Only yesterday I realized something important that I need to change in my game.

Fear – My Nemesis

Your biggest issue in life is usually reflected in your game. If you are a hot head you are more likely to be too aggressive in your game when you tilt. If you don’t have much money you get very angry when losing money in bad beats making you tilt away your money in a blind rage to get it back quickly.

My problem is the opposite. I generally worry too much about things in life. I was once told by a doctor that I am a ‘worrier’ not to be mistaken with warrior. Yesterday I realized after reading a chapter about fear in Jared Tendler’s book “The Mental Game of Poker” that tilt can also be fear.

Personally if I feel I get owned by an aggressive pro I get afraid to play proper poker. I fold when I should call. I call when I should raise and generally become a weak fish. I start doubting myself, the cards and my reads. I know this now so I can change this!

On top of that I realize that I am too result orientated which also stems from fear of losing. I should be focusing my energy on making the right decisions rather than counting my winnings. At times I also tend to avoid high-variance plays even though they are profitable in the long run.


Plan of Action

Chris has packed all his stuff and is ready to go to Malta. This means I no longer have a big screen connected to my laptop which I have been using to be able to play 6 tables at once.

In the month of March I will be working on overcoming my issue with fear.  Now that I am forced to play on a small laptop I might as well use the opportunity to fight my fear.

The idea is to play a maximum of 4 tables instead of the usual 6-8 tables. Playing less tables enables me to be more focused on each table and each player. It will make me more comfortable selecting the right spots to be aggressive and thereby make it possible to play an aggressive style more profitable.

I will not allow myself to check how much I have won or lost until after the session is over. I have noticed the sessions where I don’t check my winnings in Hold’em Manager during play I am able to keep my mind on the game rather than the result of the game.


Wish me good luck my friends!

/Erik “HDG” Smith