How to Do Less and Substantially Increase Your Winrate

    • How to Do Less and Substantially Increase Your Winrate


      If you put my kids in a huge labyrinth full of legos, dolls, and basically everything they dream about, they will genuinely beg for a dumb plastic cup called a Snackeez. Their reasoning? Because they think it looks awesome on commercials while they're favorite cartoons are on.

      It’s safe to say we should thank our lucky stars that kids don’t do the grocery shopping or make major purchasing decisions … if they did, everyone would go to work wearing Snuggies and sporting their Flowbee haircuts. Unfortunately for the advertisers, the reason we don't have a Snackeez for every day of the week is because the kids have to beg their parents to buy it for them.

      Things used to be much easier for adults. We could buy our Ginsu knives and Bowflex's, put them in a corner to collect dust, and then be done the transaction. But the battle isn't just for that one purchase anymore, it's for something much more valuable ... our time.


      One of my best friends runs a startup in Silicon Valley. He has a PhD in computer science and is a brilliant software developer. When he and his partner needed help with the interface (UI/UX) for their app, they decided to hire the best reviewed designer they could find. After all, it’s hard to hold people’s attention if your design isn’t very aesthetically pleasing (I still remember you, Mr. black myspace profiles with blue text).

      They described to her what their app did and the likely demographic that would be using it based on all their market research. Her first order of business was choosing the perfect background color, which took her 10 hours. The cost that they gladly paid? $7,000!

      This isn’t a fluke. She can charge $700/hr because the demand for people like her is absolutely through the roof. And it isn’t limited to just the background color. Every single icon on the homescreen of your phone was designed after countless customer surveys and testing so that it would encourage users to "trust their brand" and interact more often. The location of every single menu and button on every single page has been tested and re-tested over hundreds of hours for optimal engagement. The war is for your attention and all of these companies are going to give themselves the best chance to succeed.

      What chance do you really stand denying yourself Facebook in the middle of a session? How the hell do we compete when the deck is totally stacked against us?
      I can’t deny the temptation of my iphone sitting right next to me. It whispers seductively … “check your skype, check your e-mail, play your turns in Scrabble…” The next time you’re out at dinner with your friends, look around the table. Odds are, every single person will have their cell phone out of their pocket and laying on the table. Adult Snackeez! What on earth could happen during dinner that needs to interrupt precious time with our friends and loved ones?
      The only solution I have been able to come up with is to leave my phone behind at every opportunity. In the morning, it stays on the charger while I’m making my breakfast. When I go to the park with my sweetheart or out to dinner with my friends, the phone stays at home or in the car.

      Steve Jobs used to ask his employees the same question every single day … “How many things have you said no to today?” He cleverly understood that the more things we say no to, the higher our level of focus. Afterall, if you’re constantly saying yes to e-mail, Scrabble, Skype, or any of the other thousand things battling it out for our attention then you're saying no to everything else.

      The negative effects of being distracted while playing poker are obvious: your win-rate drops, variance goes up, we hemorrhage money, we go on autopilot, and we play our “C” game. If someone told you you could look at your phone or web browser throughout your session but it would cost you $20/hour, would you go for it?

      Second to only rake, this is your largest poker expense year in and year out.

      I'll leave you with this simple question: How many things are you going to say no to today?

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