"Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening my axe" - Abraham Lincoln

Abraham knew 170 years ago that preparation is the most important thing.

Luckily we don't need to spend 4 hours preparing ourselves for a poker session.

What is the Warmup and its benefits?
How to Warmup effectively.
Why you should Warmup before every single session.

Let's see how to create your first Warmup.

Create your Warmup

Go to "Manage Presentations", then click on "New Warmup".

You can start from a blank template or from a predefined one.

If it's your first Warmup select one of the existing templates. They are ready to be used. After that you will be able to edit it.

Edit your Warmup

1. General settings of the Warmup

Here you can change:

  • The title of your Wamup. The title is just descriptive, so you can recognize each Warmup easily.
  • Enable/disable the inspirational quotes that appear on the titles of the presentations.

2. Section 1: Self-Awareness

          2.1. How do you feel

This first section helps you separate your life from poker and start focusing on what matters now: the session. 

You will be asked to gain awareness about your initial state: mental, physical and emotional.

It's an important step because in order to change your state you must first be aware of it.

This way you will be able to assess if it is good enough to play poker or if you need to change it before you start.

If you do not, your performance will be unpredictable and, without knowing why, there will be days when you will tilt more easily than others, when you feel less focused or in which it's very difficult for you to get into the rhythm of the session.

It is much better to spend a few seconds checking in with yourself and make sure everything is in place, so you are prepared from the first minute.

Warming up TIP: when you get asked these questions, close your eyes for a couple of seconds, take a deep breath and truly ask them to yourself.

          2.2. Are you worried?

The Warmup continues with the question: "Are you worried about personal issues?"

To play poker you need to put all your attention in your decisions and in the moment. You cannot perform at a high level with other things in your mind, especially if they are worrying you. It is literally impossible.

In case you are worried, whatever it is, Pokermind will ask you to write it and get it out of your mind. 

If it’s something that you can solve quickly, do it now, if it’s something that you can solve after the session, write it down and commit to fix it later. 

If it is something that you cannot solve, realize that it is not worth worrying about something that you cannot control. Decide to stop worrying.

          2.3. Remember what motivates you to play poker

This is the only editable screen of this first section.

You will find a few general reasons already written, but I recommend you spend a few minutes thinking to find the deep reasons that motivate you to play, why do you play poker?

This is a very important step in the Warmup since knowing your "why" will motivate you, will give you perspective and will focus you on the long-term and what really matters.

If you remember how important poker is to you, that you are here because you want and your reasons are powerful enough and you have it very present always before playing, laziness, lack of motivation and losing today will not matter. 

Your "why" is much more important than any bad beat.

If you usually have motivation problems, work on your why and your goals.


Tips to write your why: add emotion and gratitude. They have to be your own reasons, from nobody else, they have to motivate you.

Warming up TIP: when you are doing the Warmup and you arrive at this part, don’t read your reasons quickly and without paying attention. Read them slowly, remember why these are your reasons, remember the importance they have for you and feel the emotions they transmit to you. 

          2.4. Session Goals

The Warmup includes a screen of objectives in which you can determine specific objectives for that session and set your volume objectives of the session and the day.

This part is not editable, when you do the Warmup live you will be able to write these objectives.

Read more about them and its importance here.

3. Section 2.1: Mental Game

Why this section exists

Most leaks of your mental game are born due to a wrong way of understanding poker and reality (aka paradigms or beliefs). This way of thinking is what causes you to lose control of your emotions when certain events happen during the session, which, eventually, block your brain and prevent you from thinking clearly.

To solve them, you must replace your old way of thinking with a new one (new beliefs/paradigms), that is based on logic and a deeper understanding of poker.

In order to internalize these new beliefs, you must study them every day until they become your natural way of thinking. Therefore, it is important that you dedicate a part of the preparation to work on your mental game.

How to edit this section

Pokermind includes a lot of mental game content divided by subjects.

The template that you have selected has some selected slides but you can add your owns or select from a pool of predefined ones.

  • Select 1 to 3 subjects that you think are your most costly leaks and focus on them for some time until you feel they have improved. 
  • If you get excited and add too many mental game slides you will not bring anything valuable into the session. If you want to really improve, focus on very few things at the same time but work on them deeper.
  • Spend some time adapting these slides to your style and needs: to the way you speak and understand things. Make the sentences easy to understand, they have to "click" in your head.
  • When doing the Warmup, it is not enough to repeat everything mechanically; the important thing is to understand them. If you pass quickly through the slides, you could read them a million times and nothing would change.
  • With what you learn on the Cooldown about your tilt and your mistakes, you can come back to the Warmup and optimize it to what you need.
  • It doesn't have to be perfect from the start. Over time you will realize what you like and what you don't and you will improve it little by little.
  • After making a copy of one of the predefined mental game slides, you can edit it and you won't be changing the original one, in case you want to recover it later.
  • If you don't want to lose the changes you make on the mental game slides but you don't want to use it for some time, you can click on the eye icon to hide it. 
  • You can change the order of the mental game slides by clicking one and dragging.

4. Secion 2.2. Technical Game

This section helps you remember aspects of your technical game that you are improving nowadays. 

It is not about studying now from scratch; it is about reviewing what you are studying outside the tables.

If you are not currently studying anything do not fill in this section, keep your Warmup efficient.

You can have two different type of slides:

  • Text slides. 
  • Image slides: you can upload up to 6 images per slide. Upload ranges you are working on or hand histories that exemplify situations you are studying or a particular mistake that you have committed in one hand and want to keep in mind.

5. Section 2.3: Other things to remember

In this screen, you can remind yourself important aspects that you wish to control before starting the session and that are not part of the mental or technical game.

For example, you check that you have completed personal rituals or go over your “poker commandments”: how you want to act during the session.

Examples:

  • Drink water
  • Eliminate distractions (mobile phone, skype, youtube…)
  • Sit down properly.
  • Keep control of your breathing, especially in difficult spots.
  • Think about ranges throughout the session, auto piloting kills my win rate.
  • Whatever happens, nothing prevents me from playing at my best level.
  • My goals are accomplished now, that is why I have to perform at a high level now, not tomorrow.
  • Stay in control throughout the session, silly mistakes accumulate quickly.
  • No one has forced me to be here.
  • Poker is about making the right decisions; it does not matter if I win or lose.

Tip: You can disable this section.

6. Section 3.1: Visualization

Visualization is a training technique that uses the imagination to create mental repetitions to train a skill or to train how you want to behave.

Pokermind offers you 6 different visualizations of different duration and theme.

You will choose the one that you want while doing the Warmup.

 Read more about them here.

You can disable this section.

7. Section 3.2: Inspiration

Finish the Warmup strong with your own inspirational content.

You can upload image/video/text at the end of your Warmup to gain energy and start the session at 100%.

Content that inspires you, motivates you.

Examples:

  • A song that motivates you.
  • A short motivational video.
  • A powerful quote.
  • Images related to your goals and desires.
  • Your vision board. 

You can disable both the Visualization and the Inspiration if you don't want to do them. My recommendation: try to implement them both first and then decide if you want to keep doing them or not.

8. Finished!

In the last screen of the Warmup you will be asked if you are ready to play. Stop for a second and truly ask yourself if this is the case and start the session only if you feel ready.

If this is not the case, ask yourself what is missing and go back to the section of the Warmup that you think will help you to fill that gap before starting the session.

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