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Vikram Singh

The OHSAS of Live Poker

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About to play the Deltin Main Event in T -3hrs.

Disclaimer # 1: I might be the first one to bust tonight. Perhaps first hand.
Opinion # 1: Doug Polk has a very punchable face. Not discriminating, so do I.

A lot of people new or live poker think about and try to learn 'what to do, how to play?' 'which strategy to adopt?' and these are very important questions, however they are the wrong ones to ask right before you begin a tournament.

The really important question is - 'What should I not do, to make sure I do the right things and play the A game?"

I have an Engineering background and was taught about OHSAS in the Ethics class my final year. OHSAS stands for Operator Health and Safety Assessment Series.

The standard that is followed in Europe is 55 hrs max per week with 2 non working days. Obviously the standard has statutes to stop someone from being forced to work 55hrs continuously and then break for the rest of the week, so on and so forth.

It's obvious why that is. There will be total cognitive degradation from tiredness, short & long term memory loss, to all kinds of silly mistakes and other similar symptoms that will cause a drop in 'A' level performance. The standard even has a mathematical probability distribution of the chances of a major accident like 'death of an operator' increasing, if the standard is not followed.

OHSAS applies to a condensed range of industries but it speaks to you. On a level, and without some of it's major takeaway points, all of us poker players will have in us, a slip or two.

Obviously Death in a poker tournament is that bust out no player wants.

One of the major takeaways from OHSAS for Poker Pros is:

noun: focus; plural noun: foci; plural noun: focuses
the centre of interest or activity.

I know we all know what focus means but the word's been around for centuries, first mentions of it coming in the 1800s but the implicit meaning - 'attention' or 'interest' been around for much longer. It must be important right? It is one of the most important things in live games.

Skilled hunterS from way back in caveman days or even Tigers (just watch the BBC documentary The Hunt) were/are so focused on their task, a single slip and it's life or death, food or hunger, achievement or disappointment.

So what should you not do to do the best at what you do? If you do that, then you can't blame yourself for not preparing to reduce the likelihood of failure and I say 'liklihood' because obviously this does not mean rungood achievement unlocked.

1. R & R (Rest and Relaxation)
2. R & R
3. R & R
4. The Crash Course
5. Relax

Let's cover 1 through 3 or 1,2,3, because it is really:
Whatever you prefer
By R & R - I don't necessarily mean get in bed and pass out. I mean - do the things that make you happy without taking away too much energy. Watch a movie, swim in the ocean, go to the shops, have a nice meal. Go to the circus (warning: no clowning around with a BB gun, rudeboy hitting the target takes focus) and a big NO NO to playing poker before playing poker.

Do anything that relaxes your brain, whether it's puff puff pass (please use some buffer time, you don't want your eyes red like Akuma or your bust out hand couldn't come any sooner) or wee skank out to some music, but remember that focus is a limited resource and when you play the tournament, you will need it.

It's pretty much that simple.

The Crash Course
Remember in them ol' examination times there was this belief that would spread like wildfire - Revise and/or cram everything in the morning - it sticks with you more.

That's a myth. It's too much of a vacuum statement and maybe it's OK for an examination, Poker, however, is a game of dynamics and this concept just doesn't work here.

What does work, is a brief glance over at your leaks. Very brief, in fact. You have trouble gauging stack sizes or bet sizing or pot size playing live - 100s of youtube videos on that. Pick one, watch it and 10 minutes later you'll be at the starting point of a skill you were really terrible at. Watch 2 at max perhaps, you know how that performance level in your tournament goes up after a coaching session - new and information that is novel to your brain, excites it and really what do you remember more? The nth plane ride or the first time Off-Roading you did on your last trip?

You see what I mean? Because I mean what I mean.

I spoke to my coach this morning about some things I find difficult, and also ended up watching a Doug Polk video. That's where the punchable face thing comes from. But seriously, apart from his upswing poker marketing, mad respect for him and his crew!

Another failure I see all too often. Players rushing decisions, getting too dialed in and eventually, slipping.
A part of focus is to be 'dialed in' but there is tuning needed. You need to find that balance - boredom or hyper-attention are just collapsed ranges of emotions on the spectrum of 'attention' and 'focus'.

Time is on your side and you control the thoughts in your brain. Use these two rather simple realities on a poker table, you'll make better decisions.

In the end we all want to achieve our dreams but I have seen bare entry level resumes where a college project is put under 'achievements'. The first rule of Fight...Resume making is that unless you have 10 years of work experience, you probably have achieved nothing. In fact, most companies chuck out entry level resumes that are more than one page.

So, until you build the mother of all Rockets, you've achieved nothing, and you know the zero to hero myyyyyyttthhhhhhh, well that is variance - it is your quintessential outlier. To build a rocket a lot of hard work goes into studying, learning, testing, but don't overdo it - plain and simp, by now you should know, this ain't no rocket science.