I want to go even a step farther with this “positive thinking” thing and talk about how even during specific hands, your attitude affects the outcome.

My friend Dan is always thinking about all the ways he could be beat.  Geez, the guy could have quads and he’d say, “Well, if the 8 of clubs falls on the river there would be a possibility of a double-inside straight-flush, so I better check until after the river card.”  The end result is, he almost never bets, out of fear.

If you’ve watched the pros play, they have the opposite attitude.  They always think they might be winning.  That doesn’t mean they are unrealistic – they just see the possibilities in every hand, no matter what it is.  If you want to be a winner, be like the pros.  Don’t be like Dan.

I’ve never been much of a fan of slowplaying big hands.  My reason is simple, it’s based on negative thinking.   Sometimes I coach people as they are playing online.  Inevitably they hit a monster hand and then they tell me, “I’m going to just bet a little, so they don’t all fold.”  And I tear my hair out and say, “What makes you so damn sure they’re all going to fold?  Did you ever consider that if you make a big bet they might THINK you’re weak, and will raise you?”

You’ll rarely catch me slowplaying with big hands.  Let’s say the flop comes A-J-5 and I’ve got a set of fives.  Believe me, when the action gets around I’m putting some big chips out there.  And I’m not worrying about everybody folding, instead I’m thinking “Somebody is slowplaying top-two (A-J) up front, and when they check-raise me, all the chips are going in RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, before anything else can scare them off.” Now that’s a good thought!

You get the idea?  The cards are the same.  It’s the attitude that makes all the difference.