Sports & Games

What Is Results Oriented Thinking? 4 Ways to Avoid Results Oriented Thinking in Poker

Written by MasterClass

Aug 31, 2019 • 3 min read

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Daniel Negreanu Teaches Poker

Overcoming results oriented thinking is a poker player’s first step towards being able to tolerate variance in poker. Poker players must learn how to accept that for long periods of time, things will just not go their way. When the going gets tough, you must not let it affect your decision making.



Daniel Negreanu Teaches PokerDaniel Negreanu Teaches Poker

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What Is Results Oriented Thinking in Poker?

Results oriented thinking is when poker players start to second guess their strategy because of a hand they lost. This could be a bluff a player made that got called, or maybe they called an overbet on the river with the worst hand.

It is a typical problem with the mental game of new and improving poker players. This issue is most likely to arise in a player who is yet to build up enough experience to fully understand the true level of variance in poker.

Why Is Results Oriented Thinking in Poker Bad?

There are few mistakes in poker that can cause as much chaos to your overall strategy than results oriented thinking.

To become a mid-stakes or higher level poker you will invest hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours to master the necessary concepts and strategies. Results oriented thinking will eventually lead to you ignoring much of what you have learned and taking sub-standard and losing lines.

  • Not only could you become blind to the high-level strategies you worked so hard to learn, but you will also find yourself unable to learn more.
  • Being solely focused on the outcome of every single hand will usually lead to you following whatever strategy that would have worked recently, rather than sticking to what you have already confirmed as best for the long term.
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4 Ways To Overcome Results Oriented Thinking

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can overcome this debilitating mental game problem.

  1. Learn to embrace both good and bad luck. Part of the beauty of this game is that the best strategies don’t always win. The fusion of skill and luck adds tension to the game-flow. When you end up on the wrong side of this dynamic you should resist the urge to automatically think you made a technical mistake. You will frequently make the best play and lose the hand. Learn to live with and be comfortable with that.
  2. Learn to think in terms of ranges rather than single hands. This step in your poker development won’t come easy, but it is possibly the first notable milestone you will reach. Once you are able to mentally hold your strategy for every hand combination you have in a situation, you will see the game in a different light. You will now have much more confidence that you made the right play. There is a caveat here, that instead of talking yourself into changing strategies you will now change your mind about what you expect your opponent’s range to be, claiming that your decision was right all along.
  3. Stop checking your results frequently. There is a natural tendency for humans to want to know if they are ahead or behind in a competitive game. In poker terms, this is most often seen by players constantly checking either their online balance or counting their chips in a live card room. This behavior is destructive and reinforces a short term view of how poker is played. Avoid it at all costs.
  4. Pay more attention to the numbers behind the game. It is impossible to be results oriented if you truly understand the mathematics behind a situation. Understanding exactly how often you will win and lose will help to prevent you from feeling you should have taken a different path. The mathematical side of poker can be difficult once you pass the basic calculations, but it is also extremely rewarding—not to mention profitable—when you finally get to grips with it.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic amateur or dreaming of going pro in Texas hold’em, mastering the game of poker takes time, wit, and cunning. No one knows this better than Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. In Daniel Negreanu’s MasterClass on the art of poker, the six-time World Series of Poker champion delves deep into poker strategy, advanced theory, and hand-reviews of his winning games. Put yourself across the felt from Daniel and learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells.

Want to become a better poker player? The MasterClass All-Access Pass provides exclusive video lessons from master poker players, including Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey.


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