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The Success Principles of Poker: Find Your Bob

There’s a scene in the latest season of The Walking Dead when Bob is rendered unconscious before being captured by a bunch of cannibals.

When he wakes up the leader of the cannibals is standing over Bob chewing on a piece of meat.

It takes Bob a while to figure out where he is, that he is chained to a tree stump, and his leg is missing.

Now that’s what I call an unfortunate set of circumstances. I mean, how could things get any worse?

Well, they did. Bob, weeping from his eyes as much as his stumpy leg is weeping blood, looks across at the campfire and sees his leg is being served as lunch.

Make a Poker Mind Map

I have done two things for you in those first few sentences.

I have (a) completely fucked up the latest series of The Walking Dead for anyone who is behind schedule, and (b), set the stage for the introduction of this week’s success principle.

Start with your mind map.

“If you are going to eat Bob, it’s best if you break him down into bite-sized chunks.”

When I took my leap of faith, I landed on top of poker. It hurt. I still bear bruising to this day.

In order to move forward I created a Breakthrough Goal - a goal to earn $45,000 through poker in 12 months.

Theoretically, if I could reach this goal, then it would enable me to show my ex-wife that I wasn’t mad and she would give me the green light to leave my secure, safe and fat-pensioned position on the railway to start winging it in the poker industry.

I got out a big piece of paper and wrote the goal in the center. Then, believing that I had already achieved it, I started to draw spokes protruding out of that circle and into smaller circles that contained actions.

After several hours of brainstorming ways in which I could make $45k through poker in 12 months, I had created a mind map.

I Want to Eat Bob

A mind map is simply a big sheet of paper that contains a lot of lines and a lot of circles. Inside the circles are actions that need to be taken in a logical sequence so you can reach your goal.

Daniel Negreanu
Even the most successful poker players can benefit.


Goal: I want to eat Bob.

Action: I decide what part to eat.

Action: We knock him out.

Action: We cut it off.

Action: We secure the wound so he doesn’t die.

Action: We cook the meat.

Action: We eat it.

Now you can take that simple premise and expand it as big as you like. It’s the same process that Sir Richard Branson went through when he decided to fly a virgin to the moon.

I have learned a lot from my early mind map and believe even the most successful professional poker players can learn from it also.

Everyone should have one -- particularly if you have a vision to get to the very top of the game or branch out even wider into the realm of the real world.

Mind, Body, Spirit

Without a life purpose there is no direction. Without direction there is no plan. Without a plan there is no coherent action.

"The very best ... are those who embrace the mind, body and spirit self-improvement mentality."

How many poker players do you know who scurry around the world, playing in tournaments that they can’t afford, with no plan of figuring out how they are going to stop eating Pot Noodles for tea?

If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times: with the edges between the very best in the game being so close, the very best emerging from the pack are those who embrace the mind, body and spirit self-improvement mentality.

And there you have three circles that branched out of my first mind map:

  • 1. Mind
  • 2. Body
  • 3. Spirit

Plan of Attack = Success

Without going into the minutiae of the task at hand I'll give you a few examples of sub-actions that can fall out of the bottom of these three little beauties.

Mind - Learn to improve your mathematical ability, read poker books, undertake online poker courses, hire a personal poker coach, join forums, leave at least five comments per day, create one thread per day, discuss at least five hands per day, set up a Skype master class, and on and on and on.

Chamath Palihapitiya
If you have a plan of attack, and you execute that attack, you will have success.

Body - Go for a run every day, quit drinking, quit smoking, quit sugar, turn vegetarian, eat protein shakes, take juices, sleep for 8 hrs per day, only play for 8 hrs per day, join a climbing club and attend once per week, and on and on and on.

Spirit - Learn to meditate twice daily, learn to take yoga once daily, read books on spirituality, hire a mental game coach to get into the now, start prayer, create affirmations, visualize greatness, and on and on and on.

If you have a plan of attack, and you execute that attack, you will have success in your life.

The cannibals didn’t casually walk into Bob’s area and say, “There’s a tasty looking guy. Why don’t we knock him out and eat his leg? That’ll be a laugh.”

They had a plan, they attacked, and they found out if human flesh really does taste like chicken.

Today, I Will Wing It

Once you have created your mind map, and you have a sequence of actions that need to be completed to realize your goal, you need to set a to-do-list.

It can be a simple, one-day planner with actions taken from your mind map that you give your own personal word that you will get done before you go to bed.

If you think that living your life by a to-do-list is too fixated, then understand that most of the world’s most successful men and women live this way.

If you want to wing it, then write it on your to-do-list.

“Today, I will wing it.”

Seriously, give yourself two days per week where you do what the hell you like, but make sure the other five are executed in this way. If you find that you are spending your time working on something that is not aligned with your life purpose, you will feel it.

It will strike you in your gut. Your intuition will be glowing red. Alarm bells will be deafening as you start to wilt under the pressure. Once you tell your sub-conscious where to head, it will take you there.

Find What Your Bob Is

There are people who just turn up in Las Vegas, flick a $1k in and three days later walk away with a bracelet. That’s not you. You are a professional. You have a plan.

Nothing is by chance. It’s your design. Start tomorrow. Find what your Bob is, mind map the shit out of that thing and then start cutting body parts off. I promise you’ll love it.

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