[Content Disclosure: Poker Mind In Depth series]
Today's post marks the beginning of my sessions with the three players during the World Series. The first four posts were from pre-Series conversations. So from this point on I will give some context of where the players were in the WSOP when I sat down with them for each additional session.
Phil Hellmuth was playing in his ninth event of the first fourteen open WSOP tournaments to this point. This count includes his participation in the Champions Invitational. Phil had so far one "in the money" finish in event #11 and was still playing in event #15.
Shrink: "So Phil how has the first week and a half of the Series been for you?"
Phil: "So far it's been amazing. Well I made two mistakes in the Deuce-to-Seven tournament and cost myself a money finish. They paid 21 and I finished 23rd. But the next day I got up worked out and ran and then meditated. While meditating I realized just how enormously blessed I am. Just the fact that I get to come down here and play every day."
"Yesterday I played until two in the morning and while I got a cash, it was disappointing to play that late and go that deep (29th) and not make a final table. But today is another day, another no limit Hold'em event. I got up earlier and thankfully my wife is now in town that is a great help to me. I worked out again and ran and the meditated. That is now my routine for every day this week."
"I just dodged a bullet, I think you heard that story. I had AK suited and a young player who had come after me earlier with AJ reraised all-in. He had about 2/3 of my stack but I just knew he had AA or KK. I asked the table what I should do and one of the other players said I should fold it. I tossed the AK on the table face-up and the kid went ballistic because the other player had told me to fold. Like I was taking advice from the table. But this is how I am feeling, when you can lay down AK or QQ because you know you are beat, that is the level to have to play at to win these tournaments."
Shrink: "Earlier this week you twittered after a bustout that it sucks every time to bust. Professional poker players may cash 20% of the tournaments if they are on their game. Winning one is an incredibly smaller percentage. How do you cope with those numbers event after event, week after week. There aren't many other jobs where you go to work and 80% or more of the time you come home with less money than when you when in."
Phil: "You have to be positive and a big part of it is thinking long term. This is not about each day or each tournament. Its a career and a long series of games, cards and tournaments. The other factor is what I said earlier. It is a privilege to be able to do this every single day. You set your sights on each event and then you go out there and kick ass. Next day, you do it again. But I tried to never lose sight of just how fortunate I am to be here doing this."