My friends in the business world have an adage they repeat often: “Over invest in management.”
One employee screwing up negatively impacts that employee’s tasks. A bad manager, however, will affect all the employees on his watch.
As a poker player, when you wake up in the morning you are your own manager. You have to decide what your employee (read: you) is going to do that day.
What are you going to focus on? What are you going to try and improve upon? What are you going to try to not do? What games are you going to play in relation to your bankroll?
If you invest nothing in personal management, you will be like every other poker player on Earth.
What am I working on? Who knows? “Winning!” is not an answer.
What games are you going to play to responsibly build your bankroll? “Whatever looks good to me,” is not an answer.
Be deliberate in your decision making, and then spend the rest of the day or night executing.
This is where everybody fails in poker. They want to play poker, because playing poker is fun. Breaking down plays on the computer, studying competition, and researching new poker strategies is not fun. Sitting on the felt slinging chips is fun. So, they focus on slinging chips and having fun.
Some will even humor themselves and say, “no, I study a lot.” But what they really mean is they leave training videos on at home while they’re doing other things, but they’re not paying attention. Sometimes they’ll read poker books, but they skim and don’t take notes.
Imagine this in any other industry.
Imagine you wanted to be a general contractor. So, you pick up Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods. You skim it. You don’t take notes.
Imagine you did just that and then announced, “well, I guess I’m ready to own my own construction business now!”
That would sound absolutely insane. You’re telling me 17 months from now you’re going to remember everything that was in that book about reinforced concrete construction? WHEN YOU SKIMMED THE DAMN THING?!
Of course, you know that’s preposterous. That’s why we have to work hard to not do the same thing in poker.
If we were learning how to do construction work, we’d likely go work under a guy for a few years and focus on learning a new discipline each day. It’s the same thing in cards, except for we can substitute a mentor with all the great training materials that are now available.
In poker, you want to study one play every day. One concept. One. No more. Then, create a challenge for yourself each time you step up to the table. So you can execute and learn about that concept you were applying. Then, you want to go home, review your work, come up with a new goal, and do it all over again the next day.
This is the path to mastery. This is the road we want to be on.