Lessons fOR Rene

The difference between 2bb and 8bb winners

Two questions were asked to me on the Twitch stream lately. The first one was how high of a winrate I thought is possible at 500NL zoom. My answer was 8bb. The second question was how high I think my winrate is at this moment playing 500NL zoom. I responded with 2bb. Reflecting on this made me realize even more that there is so much more than succeeding in poker than knowing how to play poker from a technical perspective.


Obviously, if I would focus only on playing poker, a part of the winrate gap will be closed with technical knowledge. Since I haven’t focused on playing myself in a while you easily forget stuff, but it’s not necessarily new technical knowledge that will bring me to 8bb. I would not have to divide my attention between the Twitch chat and playing, and in general I would be more focused. When I have a routine and I’m in the flow, I will be able to apply more of what I know at the tables consistently.


Now, knowing when to play and when not to play is also very important. I currently play at 16:00 CET on Monday and Thursday, regardless of the quality of the games. So, playing at times the action is better, or deciding to study instead of playing when the pool is though, are essential skills to have a higher winrate. You could even go further and move to a country where life is cheaper, and poker is tax free. This will have a big compound effect on the “success” (money wise) of your poker career.


And last but not least: reads. Adjusting based on your pool and on your opponents is an essential skill in boosting your winrate. I don’t play enough currently in the 500NL zoom pool to utilize this skill that I have. Going from a more GTO strategy to a maximizing EV strategy based on tendencies from your opponents would be the last step in turning my current winrate into the winrate that it could potentially be.


As we can all understand, this takes a lot of effort and I think that it’s only possible if you fully dedicate all your time to it. Something which I’m currently not doing, as this is not in line with my objective of playing at the moment.


This realization has made me decide that I already know the first content update for the Mechanics of Poker, keeping the feedback loop in mind, stay tuned…

Meditation and the quality of your thinking

This month, I had 2 sessions where I came home rushed to make it to my 16:00 streaming session. Once, I accidentally locked myself out of my apartment and the other time it was poor planning from my own side. Due to that, I came in rushed, sat down, and started playing straight away.


What I normally do before playing is to set a couple of intentions, go over my focus points and watch hands that I’ve played related to this. Then, I meditate to slow myself down and quiet my mind.


Comparing those sessions, the difference in my quality of thinking is HUGE!


In the sessions I rushed in, I:

  • Was playing very fast and very much in the ‘’What do I have to do’’ mindset.

  • Was easily frustrated and reacted emotional.

  • Was not interested or curious about what was going on, I basically did not want to be in a spot, I just wanted it to be over with and the money coming towards me.

  • Would end the session thinking “Wtf just happened?”


When I did meditate, I:

  • Was feeling very ''tranquillo'' and whatever happened at the tables, I won’t get thrown off.

  • I responded way less emotional to situations.

  • Due to the points above I was able to get into the right way of thinking about hands, as I took my time to think about the spot and did not want to rush through it.

  • That lead me to be way more interested and curious, which ultimately made me play better and flow more.

  • I would end my sessions being satisfied, whatever the outcome.


Meditation is training the mind, just like the gym is for athletes training their muscles. For example, let’s say an athlete in the sport you like would perform badly. If you would find out that he does not train his muscles and eats Mc Donalds constantly, you would probably be like “obviously you don’t perform well, what did you expect?” Be aware: meditation for a poker player is exactly the same. So, what do you expect?

Why do some players succeed, and others don't?

Again, I was asked a few questions on Twitch. First, what separated the Baron and LLinus from the rest, and second, what is the difference between a student who succeed in the CFP vs one who didn’t. Now besides everything I said above, and in the previous months (😃 ), here is my view on it.


Baron and LLinus approached poker in a very different way, but obviously, both had great success. LLinus was more of a person who simplified his game, limiting himself to a couple of betsizings. For example, LLinus for a long time only used a 1/3 cbet sizing, a 2/3 OOP stab sizing etc, where Baron could throw out any sizing on any street, always looking to throw you off and manipulate the ranges.


What they both did similar though: they understood how GTO worked, how poker was played, how EV was generated.  However, instead of copying that, the difference was in their interpretation. They used that information to create a strategy that achieved the objective of a poker hand, their desired outcome. LLinus’ game was more about keeping his ranges more together and playing rivers more often and making great decisions once he got there. Whereas Baron’s river play was more a result of the strategies he used on an earlier street.


Let go of thinking that the game should be played in a certain way, and certain sizings should be used, and look at poker more from the bigger picture.


Now as for the second point: why did some students succeed and others didn’t. They are getting exactly the same technical knowledge, but it is what you do with it that is going to make the difference. I would say a big part of it is discipline, in other words, the ability to execute consistently what i necessary to get to the next level. Now, some players have more resistance when it comes down to discipline, which is usually a mental game issue. This relates mainly to the beliefs they have about themselves, the belief/confidence they have in that it’s actually possible, and if succeeding, is in-line with what they truly want on an unconscious level. This newsletter is way too short to get into details, so I will leave that up for Adam to fully explain in our program The Mechanics of Poker.


Also, a number of other factors that distinguish successful students:

  • Seeing the struggle towards reaching the top and the process equally enjoyable. And also, being curious about that process and what they can learn.

  • As a result of that, they are less outcome oriented: they don’t crave results. So, the net won results on short term basis matter less to them.

  • They see and accept reality as is, and deal with it correctly. They have realistic expectations, which helps them stay consistent through the ups and downs of poker.


With this, I could go on and on. If you want to know more about what brings success in our opinion, check out our PA principle series on our Instagram account.

Have a great month!

Rene 'TheWakko' Kuhlman

February 2021

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