6 ways journaling will improve your poker game

TAGs: poker game, Ryan Holiday

Inspired by Ryan Holiday’s 14 Ways to Make Journaling The Best Thing You do in 2018, Lee Davy comes up with six reasons it will also improve your poker game.

6 Ways Journaling Will Improve Your Poker GameThe ancient Stoics believed the best time for reflection is either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, chose the morning to reflect and enshrined those thoughts in one of the most oft-cited entrepreneurial masterpieces Meditations. 

Let’s hope pro poker players cram in reflections at the end of the day because it doesn’t seem to be a morning thing.

For the past 20+ weeks, some of the world’s smartest professional poker players have shared their poker routines via the Poker Routines column.

One of the first questions they answer is:

What Does Your First Hour Look Like? 

The responses weren’t very Stoic-like.


Work out

Read Social Media



Walk the dog

Play poker

Review poker

Listen to a Podcast


Allen Kessler summed up the thoughts of the first 20+ people nicely when he said, “Nothing special, I just wake up and check social media.”

Only Timothy Adams intimated that some form of writing enters the first hour of his day.

If I’m very busy, then I will organise in a day planner and coordinate stuff with certain tasks I need to accomplish in the coming weeks,” wrote Adams. 

Ryan Holiday, the author of The Daily Stoic, Ego is the Enemy, and Perennial Seller believes in learning the habits of the leaders of industry, entertainment and the bits and pieces that lie in between.

One of the habits that Holiday sees regularly arise in biographical texts is journaling.

Here are 14 reasons why Holiday believes Journaling will be one of the best things you do in 2018, and my six reasons why poker players should also consider it.

1# Releasing Tension

Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4hr Work Week, and host of one of the most popular podcasts in the world The Tim Ferriss Show believes that journaling is ‘trapping your worries and fears on a page.”

Better out than in.

Poker is a game where you lose more than you win. The financial uncertainty leaves you wandering around a wasted landscape like a blind slug overthinking hand after hand.

Get that shit down.

There is no need to carry that cross.

It has no nails.

2# Gratitude 

Playing poker can be a frustrating experience. Missing flushes and seeing opponents hit flushes feels worse than having hot flushes. We bemoan dealers, the deck, and our enemies.

But if you play poker for a living you should be incredibly grateful.

Try picking cockles.

Try cleaning toilets.

Try washing dishes.

Journaling allows you to venture into daily gratitude practice because a habit is born. And don’t focus on the everyday things. Leave family, love and the air you breathe for someone else.

Be grateful that Fred sucked out on you.

Be grateful that Sue hit her one-outer.

3# Intention 

Poker can be a powerful passion project, and all-consuming at the same time. I’ve seen so many professional poker players do nothing but play poker, and that can’t be healthy.

The vagabond lifestyle has many benefits, but it can also be a curse. The sound of water running out of a tap turns into a wrecking ball crashing into your world of nothingness.

Use your journaling habit to set an intention the night before, so you wake up a man or a woman with a plan.

4# Review 

Those same 20+ people who don’t journal first thing in the morning share something else in common. They point to peer discussion on strategy as one of the most efficient ways to improve your game.

Journaling on the fly helps protect the in-the-moment detail. Poker players are like memory champions, remembering the suits of every flop, turn and river. But what about emotion, feeling, and sensation.

Journal on your mobile phone.

Take a peek during your morning/evening practice, and summarise primary points of discussion for review with those who play the game that little bit better than you.

5# Ideas 

Poker players are entreprenurial in spirit.

They stick two fingers in the face of conformity. They placed a ring on the finger of the contrarian view and took a seat with the minority.

Once poker stops providing you with everything you need to achieve a state of bliss, then you will need something more. The likelihood of you returning to the office to punch numbers into a desktop is remote.

Think business.

Think big.

You are a startup, now create another one.

Journaling is an excellent way of recording these ideas; creatively exploring where they lead, preempting millions, visualising your poker retirement alas Fedor Holz.

6# Tilt 

We experience tilt when we lose control.

If hand after hand doesn’t go our way, and we haven’t yet learned the truth – that we can’t control the deck or our opponent’s behaviour – our emotions can rage so hard your brain shifts in the cerebrospinal fluid, heading towards the jagged rocks of your skull.

With so many concerns, worries, and self-fulfilled prophecies of doom floating around inside our minds is it little wonder that we lose it?

Get it out.

Get your pen and drag that shit out of your mind and trap it onto the paper like an A-ha music video.

Allow the art of journaling to aid in your mindfulness.


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