Those of you who have been following my blog will be as relieved as I am to say, the book I’ve been working on is finished. For anyone that hasn’t been following, I’ve just wrote a book. Its took almost exactly a year (Not because we are slow, because we both did our other jobs all the way through - and because we are slow).
I guess the first thing to say is that it’s not really my book, it started off as someone else’s book and ultimately became a joint collaboration. About 18 months ago I met performance coach Jared Tendler who is the leading mental game coach in the poker industry. Jared has worked with hundreds of professional players and made many videos for Stoxpoker and DragtheBar. He is the only performance coach in poker who is from a genuine psychology background, with a Masters Degree in Psychology, thousands of hours of experience as a traditional therapist and previous work as a sports psychology expert in the golf industry.
Jared transformed some major mental game issues I had at the tables, curing me of a tilt issue I never thought would go away, and as a result we became good friends. So much so that he asked if I would edit his first book on the poker mental game. I was so fascinated by the subject after he had given me a glimpse into what he does that not only did I jump at the chance, I got so involved I ended up help him write it from start to finish.
I would like to point out at this juncture that although I may have had a small hand in helping Jared develop some of his theories, my own ability and insight as a poker player is NOWHERE to be seen in this book. Please do not be put off because my name is on the front, my role was merely to help Jared put his work across in a manner which the poker audience would understand. I essentially consider myself the exact sort of person who would buy this book, so it would seem I was the exact sort of person who could make sure poker players would get the message.
As a consumer I can tell you that there is nothing else like this book on the market. Most poker psychology books will simply say things like ‘don’t go on tilt’ or ‘play fearlessly’ without actually explaining how to do it and assuming the audience can just change mindset with the flick of a switch. Our book is all about understanding things like tilt, motivational issues, confidence and fear at the tables and how to not only resolve them, but to also use them to become a much better player. The tilt chapter alone is bigger than some books, all of which may sound hard going, but we have worked very hard condensing it in such a way that it’s easy to follow.
Which is why it took so long. The writing part of was no problem, the tough part was stopping. We had most of the words written down months ago and the last half of 2010 was mostly spent trimming things down and eliminating the stuff people didn’t really need to see.
Having a front row seat to the insight into the lifetime’s work of the top performance coach in the poker industry has been a dream, one which many would jump at. You would probably think that as a direct result it has helped my poker game to a level which most people could only dream of – not quite.
My game is light years better, of that I have no doubts, but it wasn’t exactly world class in the first place. The biggest impact this experience has had has been a big surprise. It has actually freed me from poker. I was one of those people who could not put poker down, when I wasn’t working I was playing, when I wasn’t playing I was talking or thinking about poker . Working with Jared has helped me realise that poker will be there tomorrow and had allowed me to have a long break from the game while we finished the book, which has also let me pursue other things.
It’s helped me concentrate on my work with PokerNews for a start, rather than you would think hinder it. I read more books now in a month than I would previously read in a year. I have lots of other hobbies now, when with poker I had 0. My relationships are better, my ability to learn has improved tenfold and I am my attention span, something I thought years of TV & poker had destroyed long ago, is significantly improved.
Perhaps the biggest positive impact, however, came during the worst period of my life ever. My dear Father passed away towards the end of 2010 unexpectedly and although it is something you probably can never get over completely, the mental skills we advocate in the book are transferrable to anything in life and have really helped me come to terms with my grief.
So to describe this experience as a journey is a bit of an understatement. I first went into this project thinking it would be fun, help my game and hopefully make me a bit of money. As it’s reaching its end its looking like all those things have happened and so much more. I have a new attitude to the game, Jared has become my best friend in poker and I have learned so many new skills I can’t begin to list them. (I also joke that I have become the second biggest authority on the poker mental game by accident).
If we don’t sell a single copy it will still have been worth it for me (But please still buy a copy).
The book is called The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation Coping With Variance and More. (The Mental Game of Poker for short) I would like to remind you, that I my own poker skills are thankfully nowhere to be seen, hence my name rightly being much smaller on the front cover.
We still have lots of work to do, the book won’t be released until April. This week we are interviewing a bunch of Jared’s clients who will be putting their own experiences on his program into their own words into the back of the book, after that we have to do all the stuff you don’t even think about like footnotes, appendixes, inside sleeve design etc.
After that, well in fact, from this point on, comes to promotion of it. It’s funny, one of the other reasons I am so involved in the book is because I offer quite a lot in PR terms (I am pretty much a phone book for poker magazines, websites, journalists, affiliates and agents) yet I have been quite shy talking about the book up until this point. I think the reason for this is that I am very quick to let people know that this is not my book, that my own poker ability is not the catalyst for all this insight – I have seen so many so called experts, authors and coaches get exposed as frauds in this industry I want to be really careful not to try and come across as anything other than the translator for a very talented man’s work.
The website for the book is not live yet, but it links to Jared’s own website for the moment, but bookmark www.mentalgamepoker.com if you want to know more.