Mastering the Poker Mindset: Essential preparation for your upcoming poker festival

By Brendon Rubie

Brendon Rubie is both a highly successful tournament player – with an Aussie Millions ring, WSOP Circuit ring, WSOP final tables, and titles at WPT DeepStacks and the Australian Poker Tour (APT) to his name – and a sought-after mindset coach. In the first of a regular series of insights he will provide as part of a new partnership with PokerMedia Australia, Brendon explains how best to prepare for your next major tournament series … just in time for the WSOP!

Preparing for a series of big poker events requires more than just studying the game and refining your strategy. To perform your best in a long series of events you’re going to need grit, stamina and determination if you want to last the distance and capitalise on the money, energy and time spent on your poker endeavours. Success at the poker table is often determined by your mindset, which encompasses both mental and physical aspects. In this article, we will explore the essential components of poker mindset preparation, with a specific focus on physical and dietary practices, theoretical study and journaling techniques. As an experienced player, mindset and poker coach, I’ve helped hundreds of players enhance their overall performance to achieve success on stages such as WSOP, Aussie Millions, WPT and many more. Let’s dive into these crucial aspects to elevate your performance in the upcoming series of events.

1. The Power of Physical Fitness:
When it comes to poker, many players tend to overlook the importance of physical fitness. However, maintaining a healthy body directly impacts your mental acuity, focus, and endurance at the tables. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, such as cardiovascular workouts, strength training, and yoga. Exercise not only improves blood circulation and oxygen flow to the brain but also reduces stress and enhances overall cognitive function. I recommend light-moderate training during tournament series to ensure you aren’t using too many energy reserves for those 12+ hour days.

Additionally, make it a point to use breaks during long sessions to stretch and move around. Engaging in physical activity during breaks can help you stay alert and combat mental fatigue, allowing you to make better decisions throughout the day.

 2. The Role of Diet and Nutrition: 
Just as physical fitness is crucial, maintaining a balanced diet is equally important for optimal poker performance. Proper nutrition provides your body and brain with the essential nutrients required to function at their best. Prioritise whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, as they can lead to energy crashes and impair your concentration. 

Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can negatively affect cognitive function and lead to mental fog. Consider incorporating brain-boosting foods like blueberries, walnuts and dark chocolate into your diet, as they contain antioxidants and nutrients that support cognitive health. I recommend taking a bag to your event with a drink bottle and healthy snacks to avoid reaching for a Red Bull or egg salad sandwich at the bar that’s three days old. 

3. Theoretical Study – Sharpening Your Skills: 
While physical and dietary practices lay the foundation for peak performance, theoretical study is the cornerstone of poker mastery. Devote ample time to studying the game away from the tables. Analyse hand histories, watch training videos, read books, and join discussion forums to expand your knowledge and understanding of different strategies and concepts. 

Develop a study routine that aligns with your learning style and goals. Break down complex concepts into smaller, digestible pieces and practice implementing them in simulated scenarios. By consistently expanding your theoretical knowledge, you’ll develop a more comprehensive understanding of the game, which will boost your confidence and decision-making abilities during high-pressure situations. 

4. The Power of Journaling: 
Keeping a journal is an invaluable tool for self-reflection, learning and tracking your progress. Set aside time after each session to write down your thoughts, observations and key hands played. Documenting your wins, losses and emotions provides valuable insights into your mindset and decision-making processes. 

Reviewing your journal entries allows you to identify patterns and areas for improvement. It helps you recognise tilt-inducing triggers, detect leaks in your game and refine your strategies. Furthermore, journaling acts as a form of mental release, allowing you to process and let go of any frustrations or disappointments from previous sessions, ensuring a fresh mindset for future events. 

5. The Importance of Working with a Mindset and Poker Coach: 
One of the most effective ways to maximize your potential as a poker player is by enlisting the guidance of a qualified mindset and poker coach. A coach can provide invaluable insights, personalised strategies and help you navigate the mental challenges that arise during high-stakes events. Here’s where my expertise come into play.

I have been coaching mindset techniques to hundreds of poker players over the past six years. With my extensive knowledge of the game and experience as a professional player for over 10 years, I understand the intricacies of poker on both the technical and mental fronts. My coaching methodologies focus on strengthening mental resilience, improving decision-making skills, managing tilt and developing a winning mindset.

By working closely with a coach, you can gain a competitive edge and accelerate your growth as a player. If you feel like my credentials or style aren’t a good fit for you then do some research and find someone who is. 

Preparing for a series of big poker events requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses physical fitness, dietary practices, theoretical study, journaling and the guidance of a qualified mindset and poker coach. By incorporating these essential components into your preparation, you will develop a strong foundation for success. Find an experienced mindset coach with an extensive track record of helping players elevate their mental game, and surrender to the process. With the right mindset and preparation, you’ll be well-equipped to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that await you in the upcoming series of events. 

If you would like to enquire about private coaching contact Brendon at – 

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