WHILE SOME POKER players have more natural talent for grinding, with the right approach, anyone can learn to play more hands, longer hours, and across more online tables. One key to increasing your capacity for grinding is to understand that endurance and strength develop in a similar way in the mind as they do in the body. Many players treat the mind differently and don’t think playing that extra hour or adding a couple tables should be an issue. Their goal can’t just be to play longer or more tables, however: They also have to maintain a high level of play. You don’t need skill to be able to play long hours or a ton of hands and be a losing player. Sure, some drop-off in the quality of your play is expected as you increase volume, especially at first—but it’s critical that you minimize that drop-off as much as possible.
Contrary to what some critics might say, highly skilled multi-tablers are not playing a mindless form of poker. Undoubtedly, focusing on only one table allows you to think more deeply about each decision than when you’re playing ten. On the other hand, skilled multi-tablers have automated a large amount of poker knowledge and an incredibly complex decision-making process. They’re making tons of complex in-game decisions instinctually and with very little thinking. With so much of their knowledge trained to the level of Unconscious Competence, or chunked,
they have a lot of space within working memory to think deeply about important decisions. It’s not mindless; it’s instinctual.
This chapter fits perfectly at the end of this book because every chapter up to this point increases your ability to grind in some way. Within each section of this chapter are references to the sections of previous chapters so that you can refer back to them if you need a reminder.
In order to become a successful grinder, a large part of your poker skill must be automated or mastered to the level of Unconscious Competence. Automation is especially important for multi-tabling online because there is a limit to how much a player can think about at any one time. By auto- mating a large amount of their skills, they can autopilot many decisions without wasting valuable mental space or resources. For example, good grinders are able to instantly analyze prior action, bet sizing, hand range, and other details of the hand without thinking. Decisions that require think- ing burn a lot more energy than decisions made automatically.
The following are the most important sections of this book that will help you to accomplish this:
• Improve Your C-game. Each time you correct mistakes in the back end of your range, you’re essentially training the corrections to the level of Unconscious Competence. See page 80.
• Transfer of Skill. When training skills to the level of Unconscious Competence, steadily increase the difficulty of the situation in which you’re performing. Or, adjust your expectations of automa- tion at times when the games are harder than you prepared for. See page 64.
• Training Decision Making. You are automating not just your tactical skill, but your decision-making process as well.