One of my students is a lunatic.
He tries to win every single pot he plays.
He never misses an opportunity to check-raise with air and he routinely punts off stacks trying to run impossible bluffs. He has been conditioned to believe that winning equals winning the hand.
My student is by no means an anomaly. I’m sure you know a few folks who are exactly the same. You might even be one. But when you view winning or losing a hand as the sole determiner for your poker success you are making a horrible, horrible mistake.
A mistake that becomes crystal clear through the words of an unlikely source…
It’s a little dose of wisdom that’s so potent once you hear it you’ll never be able to forget. You might think maybe it’s something from Caro, Brunson, Dnegs, or even Hellmuth but it isn’t.
No, none of those folks can hold a candle to the wisdom of Gloria Clemente from the 1992 film “White Men Can’t Jump”.
While riding on a bus to confront Wesley Snipes she drops the Greatness Bomb of all Greatness Bombs on Woody Harrelson’s character by telling him:
“Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose.”
I call this concept the Game of Mirrors.
You’re going to get AA against your opponent’s KK just as often as they’ll get AA against your KK. You’re going to flop top pair against bottom set just as often as you’re going to flop bottom set against their top pair.
You must accept this as your North Star.
And if you do then the only rational way to be a long-term winner at this game is to try and make better decisions than your opponent will when the situation is mirrored.
When your opponent cannot fold top-pair to a river jam when you have the nuts, but you fold when the situation is mirrored…
You are winning.
If your opponent folds to a continuation bet with a hand that has no equity and no hope…
But when the situation is mirrored you decide to check-raise, blast the turn, and punt off your stack on the river…
Who do you think will get the money over the long-term?
Over time if you win the Game of Mirrors against your opponents the only possible outcome is that you will be a winning player.
This is The One Thing you can focus on and invest your energy into that will ensure you’re a winning poker player over the course of your lifetime.
It’s a concept that needs to be so ingrained in you that you feel happy about folding because you know that when you fold sometimes you win.
You’ll feel sad when you make a poor decision and drag the pot because you know that when you win sometimes you really lose.
And you’ll also be happy when you flop a set, get it in vs. a hand you know you would have folded, and the board runs out a chop because sometimes when you tie you really win or lose.
If you’re looking to improve in the Game of Mirrors, here’s my coaching link:
Long live Gloria Clemente.