Stories

Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt, $3/$6 to $25/$50 NLHE

“Before I became a professional poker player, I played professional golf. As a golfer, I couldn’t afford a sport psychologist but I knew how powerful their impact was; everyone on the PGA Tour had one. I always thought there was a big correlation between poker and golf, and I figured a sport psychologist could really help my poker game, so back in 2007 I contacted Jared to help with some tilt problems.

The biggest impact for me was not what he said, but how he understood my thought processes. I started to realize Jared was more or less the ultimate bull shit detector, and was not afraid to call me out on everything.

So much of what we poker players deal with is illogical, and my struggles with variance were a big example of it. Rather than singing some mantra, doing breathing exercises, or trying to hypnotize myself not to tilt, more than anything Jared helped me just be more logical in how I approached the game.
For those who read my blog you are probably sick of hearing his name because I have mentioned our work together so many times. The thing is though, he has just been such an enormous help to me. Now I am able to play very long sessions while mass multi-tabling, play virtually tilt free, and can honestly say I now bring my A-game to the table nearly every time I play poker.”

Dusty Schmidt is a lead instructor at BlueFirePoker.com. He is author of the book “Don’t Listen To Phil Hellmuth” as well as “Treat Your Poker Like A Business.” He blogs several times a week at www.dustyschmidt.net.

Niman “Samoleus” Kenkre, BlueFire Poker Coach, $5/$10 to $25/$50 NLHE

“It’s kind of unusual; I actually started talking with Jared when I was on a real tear, and at the top of my game. I’d been a successful pro for more than five years, but had a really rough patch at the end of 2009. I was playing really poorly and was screwed up a bit mentally. I sorted my game out on my own and went to Jared when I was playing well, because I thought in a better state of mind I would get more out of it. Plus, I figured working with him might prevent my game from slipping again.

I was really skeptical working with a mental game coach; what was he going to tell me that I hadn’t heard before? I expected goofy stuff like ‘stay calm,’ ‘don’t worry about results,’ ‘visualize yourself winning,’ blah, blah, blah—stuff you read in forums. I was really surprised; Jared has a fantastic system of learning and it had a really immediate and emphatic effect on me.

Now, my tilt induced emotions come up far less frequently and when they do come up, they don’t affect my play as much as they used to. I’ve been a pro poker player now for five years, and there has been no greater positive influence on my game than my lessons with Jared, and noting else even comes close.”

Niman scored a 1580 on his SATs, was an All-American soccer player in high school, and played professional soccer. He graduated Penn State with a 4.0 in his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, and went on to work at MIT until he turned to poker full time in 2006. Niman turned a single $25 deposit into millions of dollars.

Liz “RikJamesB1atch” Herrera, Heads Up NL up to $50/$100

“I was pretty much your average grinder before I talked with Jared, back in 2008. I had a decent win rate of 3bb/100 playing 6 max NL multi tables and was winning 5bb/100 playing Heads Up. When I played online, I kept my gender secret because I wasn’t interested in fame I just wanted to be respected.

The reason I wanted to talk with Jared was that I was tilting much more at heads up. It can be downright infuriating sometimes, and you want to slam the hell out of your mouse. I always thought tilt was normal. I had a conversation with a respected 2+2 poster and coach who actually told me tilt was just part of the game. I would tilt two to three times in a session, and assumed that I just had to deal with it . . . until I read Jared’s thread on Stoxpoker and decided to give him a try.

The results of my work with Jared didn’t happen overnight, it took a few months to really put them into play. Half the work is the advice he gives the other half is up to you. Using what he gave me had a huge effect on my win rate. Even including those old hands, my win rate now is almost 12bb/100 over a million hands all the way to 50/100 Heads Up.”

Matt “mbolt1” Bolt, DragTheBar Coach, $3/$6 to $50/$100 NLHE

“Early on, I progressed really quickly having been staked and coached by Dusty Schmidt. Having that opportunity also allowed me to move up in stakes rapidly, so in a few months a bad losing day went from being a couple of hundred bucks to $5,000. I ran pretty well all the way through the stakes; every time I moved up I ran good and immediately crushed. I didn’t really have any real experience with negative variance until I settled in to the mid- to high-stakes games.

It’s so incredibly frustrating when you’re running bad. There were times in 2010 I didn’t even think I was playing poker, I thought I was playing a game called You Lose, where I showed up to the tables every day to lose. In my mind the difference between a great player and a mediocre player is how they deal with bad runs.

What Jared did was get me thinking about the right things, and he gave me a better understanding of why my brain did what it did. You naturally develop a tolerance for variance when you play high volume, but our talks sped up the process. I can honestly say that working with Jared is one of the best investments I’ve ever made, and he also helped me get to SuperNova Elite in 2010.”

Jordan “iMsoLucky0” Morgan

“When I met Jared I already had a lot of tournament success and a sponsorship deal with Full Tilt. I wanted to get into cash games, but was having trouble not tilting. I was chasing losses, jumping limits, and basically being a degenerate gambler. I also wasn’t putting any work into my game, and ended up breaking even for a long time. I was pretty miserable for quite a while because I wasn’t improving and I wasn’t winning.

Improvement came quite instantly. Just understanding what was going on in my head and being aware of it solved a lot of the problem. When poker is going well for a long time, you feel invincible almost–I expected everything to keep coming easily; but it doesn’t work like that.

Jared helped me realize it takes a lot of small steps to get on the right path to where you want to go. Now I am calmer, more of a realist, less of an idealist, and it feels good to see the progress because I know I’m working hard for it.”

Mike “Syous” Song, DeucesCracked Coach, High Stakes Heads Up NL

“I started getting coached by Jared after a really tough stretch where I broke even for four months. I thought being a successful Heads Up player it would be easy to make money; but after losing for so long I just felt defeated. As the sessions got worse and worse, I would play less and less. I started to tilt much easier, and even had a black mark on my hand from punching the desk in frustration. It was really stressful.

It would be really easy for a mental game coach to take a mysterious Zen like approach. What I really liked about working with Jared is that he’s extremely scientific and analytical. Though, I do hate the term mental game. When I tell someone I have a mental game coach it sounds weird, but I stand by his coaching and tell players it’s definitely worth it. Even if some of his advice is common sense, hearing it from a professional who knows what he is doing reinforces that it’s correct thinking.”

DeucesCracked coach, blogger,traveler and high stakes poker professional who has been playing online poker for approximately 2.5 years.

Pascal “Stake Monster” Tremblay, Cardrunners Coach, Heads Up NL $10/20

“I contacted Jared when I was having some of my best months ever in terms of results, but I still had a lot of anxiety and stress related to my game that I wanted to get rid of. I played professionally full-time and the stress level—even when I was winning—was a big issue and in the long run was hurting me a lot. I was stressed before I played, while I played and even afterwards. It was a constant pressure that was just there all day.

It took a while to grasp some of the things Jared was telling me because the issues I was having were so deeply rooted. Things didn’t instantly change overnight. It was a gradual improvement, with many light-bulb moments in between sessions. His approach worked really well for me because he didn't just put a patch on the problem or tell me a quick fix. Instead, he changed the way I think about things, not just poker, but life in general.

Now, I’m more constructive and positive in general, and I don’t get the sense that I need to be completely fixed. Those emotions are still there; Jared didn’t make them disappear like some magician, but I’m confident I can handle them much better now.”

Sean Gibson

“My story is probably very familiar. I made a $250 deposit online, quickly blew through the micro stakes, and before I knew it, I jumped into the 200NL games looking to take my game to the next level. Then in January of 2010, I hit a wall in the form of a huge downswing, 22 buy-ins straight down. I lost my confidence, and with it, my will to play. I went from thinking I could hang with the pros and making a nice side income, to just suddenly not playing. In five months I played 50,000 hands, which is normally in the neighborhood of what I play in a month.

I felt like I was at the bottom of the barrel when I first talked to Jared. I felt cursed—not just in poker, but I was running bad in aspects of life, too. That came up in our sessions, and I felt ridiculous bringing it up, but there it was. Ironically, my problems at the table mirrored those away from it, and Jared helped me to see that it had a lot to do with how I handled variance.

Although we’ve just begun our journey together, Jared Tendler helped me understand the roots of my frustrations, rather than giving me parlor tricks on how to fend them off. I simply couldn’t have asked for a better way to approach my mental game.”

Barry Carter, Poker Journalist

“I had been working as a poker journalist for about five years when I met Jared. Like a lot of people who stick with poker, I ran pretty well in my first few years, but in 2009 I had a pretty brutal downswing that crippled my game. I had heard of Jared and seen his videos, but there was a part of me that thought he was probably going to fill my head with a load of ‘visualize yourself not getting bad beats’ crap

I approached him with essentially three issues. First of all, I felt I was cursed; I really believed I ran worse than anyone else, and was keen to prove it to anyone who would listen. Second, I had developed a terrible case of risk aversion. Finally, I really struggled to work on my game away from the table, and it was an area where I considered myself lazy.
“You know that’s a crock of shit right?” Jared said.

I was shocked. Wasn’t he supposed to be making me feel like I was Phil Ivey and that I could do anything? Can a mental game coach talk to people like that? Weren’t we supposed to start Buddhist chants or something?

Jared asked me if I could see how all three issues were clearly linked to each other. I could kind of see the link between feeling cursed and being risk averse, but not at all how being lazy in studying away from the table was linked.

‘What’s the point of working on your game if you are cursed?’ he asked me. ‘There is no such thing as lazy; you are simply not motivated to work on your game. You have decided that because you are cursed, you have an excuse not to learn, so you don’t.’

All of a sudden it seemed so simple. How did I not notice this before? His opening line calling me out on my crock of shit will always stick with me; it was pretty much then that I realized Jared was the real deal. I have always considered myself to be very self-aware, so for him to have identified why I wasn’t working on my game so quickly and clearly had me hooked on the mental game (hence my involvement in this book).”

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