Welcome to the first of an exciting new series of Play a Bigger Game blog posts about NLP & Poker.  The aim of this series of blog posts over the year is to help you play a bigger game by using a tool the personal development world calls Neuro Linguistic Programming. If you thought positive thinking & mind programming was for fire walking Tony Robbins fans only, think again.

So how can NLP help YOUR game? I’ve 24 lessons to show you HOW.

How do you fancy being able to READ other players. Or STAYING CALM in variable poker room conditions. With NLP you will learn MIND games .I can show you how to Repattern your BELIEFS at the table.NLP can improve your DECISIONS and INTENTIONS.You can SPEED read poker books- does that sound good yes or yes? You can align your VALUES  with PokerStars.NLP helps control EMOTION and build RAPPORT and creates TRANCE. Are you hooked yet? Well hop onboard and enjoy the ride!

Introduction to NLP

My overall objective from these blog posts is to help you as a PokerStars player take charge of your own life by teaching you some techniques for – clarifying your goals & dreams, increasing your success rate in your goals, improving communication with yourself and others plus getting some momentum going. Right now I’d like you to STOP, WRITE down what you would like to see happen as a result of reading these lessons.

What is NLP? Formed in the 1970s by Dr Richard Bandler a computer scientist and Dr John Grinder a linguist. NLP can be understood as an operating manual to the mind. By seeing the mind as a computer program we can reprogram ourselves (and our poker game). There are 3 basic components: NEURO- understanding your neurological system (the body and our 5 senses), LINGUISTIC- observing language and how it is used and PROGRAMMING- recognising and changing habits and behaviours that block us.

And now to work...

Like all good students at PSO, this is the place for learning and here is your first lesson.

Lesson 1/24   Get a Life!

Ok let’s begin by taking stock of where you are right now, I mean in your game and your life. Open your mind up to be ready to use some visualisation & writing techniques. We will explore 4 concepts today to help you get a life and get unstuck from where you are in your world and your game.

1) Did you know that the Map is not the Territory? What does that mean? Well simply that what you think is your reality isn’t really at all. The mind can only process 5-9 chunks of information at one time, even though we are bombarded by over 2Million bits of information every second. These 5-9 chunks are those that we’ve filtered out of the 2Million that came through our 5 senses. Why is this important? You can change your reality immediately by changing your focus. Perception is projection. In life as in your game if we only notice the negative our experience of life will be negative. So if you want a positive poker game and player experience, think positive. Get HAPPY ma-an!

2) Also next up is that you must ACT as if you are responsible for everything in your life, are you victim or victor. Own your power. OWN your game and all its outcomes 100%. Stop blaming others. The buck stops loudly and clearly with YOU.

3) Finally, your behaviour is determined by your emotional state. An event happens, leads us into an emotional state and then we make an action which takes us to another event. We call these ESA loops. Event State Action.

4) Your emotional state is a result of the meaning you assign to events in your life and the habits that are formed from those meanings. These emotions affect your play. CONTROL your emotions if you want to play a bigger better game, rein them in NOW.

Fun Exercise 1

So now, knowing all this I want you to VISUALISE with your mind’s eye

- Where are you right now?

- Where do you want to be?

- What do you need to be, do, have to get there?

When the answers have come to you via INTUITION, STOP and WRITE them down. Keep WRITING until they are all down on paper. If you like add some PICTURES to the writing like photos or drawings. Why not be inspired by your thoughts to find the perfect bit of MUSIC to accompany your prose, that perfect song which is the anthem of your life. Or just simply pick up that page of writing and FRAME it on a board or STICK it in a book and get a FEEL for it. Between now and the next lesson keep looking at your journaling.

Think on that! So to recap our short blog lesson for today.


1. What you think is reality isn’t real (The Map is not the territory) on the table and off.

2. You are responsible for everything in your life & game.

3. Your behaviour in life and in your poker play is a result of your emotional state

4. Your emotional state is a result of the meaning you assign to events in your life and poker games.

You are now challenged to go put this information into action this week at the tables. Good Luck!

Next post we’ll look at

Lesson 2/24   Setting your Poker Goals

Join me for this poker goal setting post where we’ll study:

-The role of your unconscious mind in poker & life.

-Trying everything in your game and seeing what sticks.

-There is no failure, only feedback as a poker player. Lighten up!

-Modelling Pros - If anyone can do it, you can do it, and NOW.

-Players have all the resources that they need to make the changes they want in their game.


Happy playing!



BIO- I work in Marketing for PokerStars and I am also a Master Practitioner NLP Coach & Trainer.