Sports & Gaming

The Mental Game

Phil Ivey

Lesson time 17:07 min

Phil pulls back the curtain and reveals exactly what his thought process was during a hand. He shares his tips for inducing tilt and dealing with tough losses, and explains what is really behind the “Ivey glare.”

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Topics include: Focus on What You Can Control · Induce Tilt With Bet Sizing · Hand Review: Mental Mistakes and Tilt · Learn How to Lose · Self-Awareness · Hand Review: Using Metagame and Player History · Intimidation · Needling for Fun (and for Purpose)


[MUSIC PLAYING] PHIL IVEY: In my opinion, poker is the most mentally demanding game there is. You have to stay level-headed at all times, or you'll never stand a chance. The most important thing in poker is awareness, to constantly be aware of yourself and your surroundings. A lot of players have tried mental warfare with me with very little success. That's definitely one of my favorite parts of the game. [MUSIC PLAYING] It's very important to stay emotionally level when you play poker because you don't want to make decisions based off of emotion. You want to make all your decisions based off of logic and what you see around you and the information that the other players are giving you. So it's very important to stay even-keeled and not make the decisions off of emotion. Making decisions off of emotion can lead to-- can be disastrous. A lot of things are out of your control at the table. Maybe somebody's winning a bunch of hands in a row against you. That's out of your control. I mean, what is in your control is what you have in front of you, the hands you play, being emotionally level, doing your best, staying present, and just putting your best foot forward. I mean, those are the things that are in your control at a table. All the other stuff, you know, the bad beats, being unlucky, you know-- you know, whether you win or lose sometimes, a lot of that's out of your control. You know, don't really get too caught up in like, oh, this person's so lucky against me. Because a lot of times you get caught up in that. And you don't realize the people that you're lucky against because you don't really think about it. You know, you only really remember the hands that you lose. You don't really remember a lot of the hands that you win. Maybe somebody may be a better player against you. You can't feel like that at the time. You need to feel like, listen, I'm going to just do everything I can to play my absolute best at this moment. And whatever the result is, the result is. But you don't want to sit down at a table and already be beat. That's the worst thing you do. [MUSIC PLAYING] Anytime you have the opportunity to put your opponents on tilt, I mean, and you're doing it in a way that's not classless-- I mean, like, you know, verbally taunting them or whatever, you're doing it just from your skill. Or, you know, you're doing it from your bet sizing, or you're doing it from the way that you're playing, I think it's important to, you know, confuse people, to overbet, bluff on a river sometimes, to apply pressure. Also, to be able to get value out of your strong hands to be able to overbet, to be able to get people to call you. Because nothing makes a person more-- feel worse than when they call, you know, a double-size pot bet, and they're wrong. It's very emotionally draining to people when they call double-size pot bets, and it puts them on tilt, and it gives you a big advantage over them mentally. Anytime you c...

About the Instructor

At age 38, Phil Ivey became the youngest player to win 10 World Series of Poker bracelets. Now the man known for his enigmatic table presence—and widely regarded as the world’s best all-around poker player—gives you unprecedented access to his mental game. Learn poker strategy, pick up new poker tips, and review hands with the player who’s won more than $26 million in live tournament earnings.

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Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey opens up for the first time about his poker strategy and teaches you how to make smarter moves at the table.

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